The Reasons Your Cake Is Bulging:
Cakes develope bulges when they have been iced BEFORE they have a chance to settle. Gravity says outer edges ARE going to settle down some….even when you DO have the layers perfectly level. If there is a bulge, the outer edges of the cake won’t stand up in mid air. It is going to settle down some. So give time for this to happen before you ice the cakes.  Even push tiny cake scraps in between if there are large gaps.
I don’t usually have gaps because I bake at 325 deg. and so my cakes don’t puff up so much in the center. Then to get rid of the hump, I lay a kitchen towel on top just as soon as I remove it from the oven and gently press the layers flat. (This needs to be done within the first minute upon removing from oven). Oh – the towel thing won’t work if you over bake the cake…it will just spring back up, besides it is going to be dry and tasteless…so DON’T over bake. Test the cake by pressing your finger gently in the center. If it <barely> springs back up – its done…Take it out.
At times you may still have a slight hump on the outer edge that can cause a bulge. Then I shave that part off with a serated-edged knife.

Procedure to follow:
Bake layers, cool well.
Fill or put icing between…PLENTY of icing too. (medium consistency is fine).

  • Let the cakes set several hours or overnight before icing them.
  • Oh yes – always bottoms UP on those layers will help with this problem too. There are always going to be bulge problems if you insist on putting bottoms together. There is no ‘breathing’ room with this procedure. Besides, it is a lot easier to ice the flat bottom of a cake than one you have had to shave flat.

Do not try to put the layers together while frozen. You should bake, cool, fill between layers and put them together THEN freeze so this won’t happen. Your cake should again be at room temperature before unwrapping it.
When you remove cakes to thaw, you should leave them wrapped untill they are back to room temperature. For a simple 8-10″ cake, 12 hours to overnight will be sufficient thawing time. (I have hurried this with small cakes by defrosting them in the microwave too).
But if you were to freeze a large wedding cake it may take longer. I found that a 16 inch 2-layer wedding cake needed almost 2 days with using the 2-plate system for a wedding cake.
WARNING: NEVER unwrap a frozen cake until after it has returned to room temperature or it may sweat. This is moisture leaving the cake.
Also, freezing tends to dry out the icing. It is far better to freeze a bare or crumb-coated cake than a fully iced and decorated one. Sometimes the icing may fall from the cake once thawed, even a crumb-coating. It will be crusty and dry if this happens.


susieq01 Says... 2012-02-17 06:18:19

Thanks for your advice. It really helps and explains in detail.

lucky4clover Says... 2012-04-25 18:07:20

Another cause of bulging in the middle is using too much filling between layers. This is especially a problem if you are only filling between two layers of cake and not torteing the individual layers.

tressa1953 Says... 2012-06-20 13:46:46

haste makes waste really applies here. I have to be more patient and follow all the steps if I want to get good at this! Thank you for the tips!!

mary1074 Says... 2012-07-01 10:10:30

I have Sharon Zambito's dvd and I think it is very helpful. I have had this problem with a few of my cakes and think it could be a combination of a few things- one I think the cake needs to be dense to support the weight of the fondant, two- i think there could be air pockets that contribute to the bulge and three I think the cake needs to have a proper supprt structure if it's a tiered cake. One thing that I have found helpful is to cover the cake with plastic wrap and put a book or a light weight on the cake top for several hours or overnight to weigh it down to help it settle. I then go back with a bench scraper to make sure the sides are vertical then apply the fondant.

jenlg Says... 2012-07-01 12:31:24

I always have problems with bulges in the middle....and in the middle of my cake too! My issue is that I think it's too much filling. I don't always tort mine but definitely will now. I too press the cakes down when out of the oven and still in the pan. As another poster stated...I spritz the cake with water before putting fondant on to help eliminate air bubbles.

cakelady60 Says... 2012-07-28 21:26:02

I think if you put too much filling in the middle this will make it bulge. It has happened to me more than once, especially with fondant cakes. Also, if you don't spread your filling too close to the edge, maybe an inch before the edge. Once you put that final layer on top of the bottom one it's going to flatten the icing down.

SmileySammy13 Says... 2012-08-02 15:01:53

Hi, I used to have a'bulging' problems, but found it was because I was too generous with the filling. Now I torte the cake, so I can still have the same amount of filling, but because it is thinner throughout my cakes don't bulge anymore. I've only once frozen a cake -when there was some left over. I cut a large piece of the sponge which had been covered in butter icing & fondant icing, cling filmed it, froze it & defrosted in the cling film. It tasted great & the icing did not fall off/melt as I expected! Beginners luck maybe? Good luck all in fighting the bulge!! ;o)

JoysCreativeCakes Says... 2012-08-20 08:34:02

I use to have a problem with bulging cakes and through my research and trial and error I found the following helped (some of which have already been mentioned): 1. Let the cake settle, never decorate a freshly bake cake 2. Make sure the dowels (or what ever you are using for support) are long enough to take any above pressure off the cake 3. When filling make sure your dame is very thick, so that it's difficult to squeeze the bag and your filling is not higher then your dame 4. Make sure when stacking each layer you press down firmly on the top to press any air out from between the layers before icing the outside 5. My inital crumb coat is just that, I mix buttercrea, crumbs and if I have a filiing like strawberry I add a bit of that as well. This coat helps fill in any gaps (does not ooze back out like just buttercream), becomes very firm and stands up to a lot of stress, I then ice with my butter cream after the crumb coat sets (this takes about an hour in the fridge). Oh yeah, I always use the upside down method to ice my cakes, it rocks! 6. When you are all done with the crumb coat take a straw or a skew and drive a hole down through the center of the cake, this allows air to escape like a chimney 7. Let the cake set over night , some people put them in the fridge and some don't, I do bother depending on the filling and I really don't find it makes any difference either way 8. Make sure your fonant is well sealed on the top of the cake before slowly moving down the sides, this allows air to escape and not become trapped under the fondant 9. if possible, depending on the decorations going on top of the cake, I also put a hole in the top of the fondant directly above the initial chimney (this is not always possible but really seems to help and excess air escape) Hope this helps, Joyce J:~D

JoysCreativeCakes Says... 2012-08-20 08:37:26

opppsss ... correction on #7 .... I do both depending on the filling ... sorry J:~D

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