Cakes Fall After Assembled! Used Dh Mix! Wedding Cake! Help!

Decorating By ButtercreamCakeArtist Updated 9 Nov 2006 , 4:51am by cake2decorate

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ButtercreamCakeArtist Posted 8 Nov 2006 , 10:45pm
post #1 of 21

OK....this is my first wedding cake, but I've done a practice one. My practice one was going fine...until I baked the second layer. The second layer was strawberry DH; it is two 2-inch cakes with strawberry flavored BC inside to hold it together and all. AFter I put the second layer on the first layer (first layer is 14-inches...it is also two 2-inch cakes put together. and it is DH chocolate), the second layer basically "went crooked". It looked like it had sank into the bottom layer! I did dowel rod the bottom layer, and I used cake boards. I've done everything right, I think!?!
So, I fixed the middle layer as much as I could. The "fall" or whatever made a lot of icing fall off on the "fallen" side. I fixed it as best as I could. It wasn't too bad, but not the best-looking thing!
THe top cake is a 6 inch (made up of two 2-inch cakes with chocolate BC in the middle. Cake is DH Red Velvet).
After I put the top layer on, and after it set overnight....guess what! It looks like it is running down-hill, too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cake is decorated on the outside with white BC and burgandy scrolls. I am also to put sunflowers on it, but haven't, yet.
I put dowel rods in bottom and middle layers!
Ihave read a lot of the forum on here with the DH cake mix problems, but IS IT THE MIX? WHAT IS GOING ON? COULD i HAVE GOTTEN THE BC TOO THICK BETWEEN THE CAKES THAT MAKE UP ONE TIER? SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME! THE REAL THING IS TO BE MADE NEXT WEEK! I HAVE TWO SMALL CHILDREN, AND THIS CANNOT TURN INTO THE NIGHTMARE IT WANTS TO BE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! icon_sad.gif icon_cry.gif icon_cry.gif icon_cry.gif

20 replies
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JanH Posted 8 Nov 2006 , 11:04pm
post #2 of 21

If your cakes were level before you assembled the tiers, I would say your problem is with the cakeboards and dowels.

Perhaps if you could give more info on how you assembled the cakes and then the tiers, you would get more answers.

(For instance, did you let your cakes rest before torting or assembly?)

Sorry I couldn't be of more assistance.

But at least this will give you a bump!

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ShirleyW Posted 8 Nov 2006 , 11:17pm
post #3 of 21

The only other thing I can suggest is making sure you are not working on really fresh cake, it is too tender to hold up. I cool my layers, level them and then either let them set overnight at room temp. with a layer of waxed paper on top, or I freeze them wrapped in saran, thaw unwrapped and then assemble. Also using two cake circles rather than one and making sure your dowels extend above the surface of the larger layer by about 1/8" so the upper cake is resting on those dowels, not directly on the surface of the lower cake tier. I hot glue two cake circles together and I use Wilton cookie sticks as doweling.

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okred Posted 8 Nov 2006 , 11:29pm
post #4 of 21

I just wanted to make sure you covered the boards. If they are not covered with something like plastic wrap or butcher paper they become softened (also I learned the hard way not to use wax paper, it just turns to mush). I have learned to use the foam core board covered in white butcher paper.

So sorry this is happening to you. You can do this, You can do this!!!!!

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Luby Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 12:04am
post #5 of 21

I use Duncan Hines all the time and I've never had a cake do that. How many dowel rods are you using and how high were the dowel rods? Did you assemble them before cooling completely? What kind of cake boards and how thick were they? It could be various factors.

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Gefion Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 12:16am
post #6 of 21

When my cakes does that, it always comes down to the cake vs. filling ratio being all wrong (too much filling), or the top cake being to heavy for the type of cake used for the bottom layer. But I have never used cake mixes so I don't know if that might be the problem.

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dodibug Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 12:38am
post #7 of 21

Here are my suggestions:

For the strawberry cake,try adding a box of instant white chocolate pudding and an extra egg to the recipe. This will make a slightly more dense cake that will hold up better for stacking.

Make sure your dowel rods (use the wooden dowel rods you can find made by wilton as they are food safe) I know other people use straws, cookie sticks, skewers but I don't trust all my hard work to something less strudy than a wooden dowel.

Cut your dowel rods to the exact height of the cake. I know others swear by cutting them a smidge higher but you don't want cakes sitting on dowel rods. You want the weight supported by the dowels but at the same time touching the cake. Imagine someone walking by, bumps the table and that little bit of instability makes the cakes go. Make sure they are all the same height. Sprinkle powdered sugar between the tiers so your icing doesn't stick when the cake is disassembled for cutting.

I always give my cakes at least a day to rest. After they are completely cool I wrap them in plastic wrap and work with them the next day. Don't overfill you layers.

hth!
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ButtercreamCakeArtist Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 12:45am
post #8 of 21

OK. I let them cool completely. I iced the first one and iced the second one the next day, then put it on later that second day. So, I'm sure they were cool.
I didn't "torte" them, really. I didn't cut any cake in two. I cut the unlevel part off the top. Each cake is two seperate cakes.

I used 6 (I think) dowel rods in the bottom. They are wooden. I also used the wilton cake circles, but I didn't double them. I just used one. I did not cover the boards with anything. icon_sad.gif They are just the regular thickness...the Wal-Mart ones.

First I put the 14-inch cake onto a glass plate. This was after putting the two cakes together to make it a 4-inch thick cake w/vanilla BC in the center of the two. They were leveled and cooled.
THen, I put 6 dowel rods into the cake. I had my DH cut them all even for me.

Next was the second layer or tier (the second cake). This one is 10 inch diameter and consists of two 2-inch leveled cakes with strawberry BC inside. I iced it and put it on. I put it on ONE cake circle and centered it onto the wooden dowels.

Then, I doweled this second cake....
I put the 6-inch cake onto one cake circle and centered it onto the dowels in the second cake.

This was "the" practice cake, and I really hate to do another for practice between NOW and next week!!!!!!! I'm going to start baking next week on the real thing! icon_cry.gif icon_cry.gif icon_cry.gif
Thanks so much for the support!
CONTINUE THE SUPPORT, PLEASE!

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ButtercreamCakeArtist Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 12:47am
post #9 of 21

Also, this is a stacked cake, no space between tiers.
I'm thinking about taking it outside and using it for target practice!

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sun33082 Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 12:57am
post #10 of 21

Sounds like one major problem was not covering your boards. Even one covered board can weaken under the weight of the cake (i learned this the hard way with a 16" square cake, went to put it in the fridge after frosting, and the board buckled and cake fell to the floor).

The other thing, if you put the dowels in the cake and cut them while in the cake, you're not ensuring that you're cutting them level. You need to put one dowel in the iced cake, mark where the top of the icing is on the dowel, take the dowel out, and cut that dowel at the mark and cut the rest of your dowels the same length. Then put them mostly into the cake and let the weight of the next cake push them all the way down.

I'm one of those who don't depend on the cake to support the cakes above them. I depend on the dowels and boards. If someone bumps the table hard enough to shift such a heavy cake, nothing is going to hold it up.

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Loucinda Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 1:01am
post #11 of 21

Your cake boards are the problem. The cardboard rounds are NOT sturdy enough to hold the weight of the cake (even if you use dowels) the moisture from the cake absorbs into that board, and it just collapses. You need to double those boards, then cover them with something (like foil) so that the moisture cannot get through. I always just use the wilton decorator preferred plates and put a bigger border on the cake to hide the plate - works MUCH better that way.

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moydear77 Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 1:03am
post #12 of 21

For large tieres I let them sit for at least a day. I do not cover them I just put them on boards and put them in a cold oven. By what you are saying everything should be fine??? I use Plastic Tuff boards so I really have no experience with cardboard???

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lilthorner Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 1:25am
post #13 of 21

I have also heard that u need as many dowel rods as the diameter of the cake that is sitting on top.. I have only made 3 or 4 stacked cakes but I put a bunch of dowels in them

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Tim-n-SEMO Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 1:27am
post #14 of 21

Sure sounds like you need something heavier or sturdier in the way of cake boards.

Each cake board has to be able to support the full weight of all the cakes above it, using this type of construction. Cardboard just won't do it...it'll absorb moisture & lose rigidity. I've always used solid plastic plates, usually Wilton--just to make sure there's no accidents....you can find sets that have plastic dowels that fit into/around sockets on your divider plates, which will give you extra stability.

Sounds like others on here (no doubt MUCH more experienced than me) use plastic hollow core or a couple of wrapped cardboard rounds. I never have tried that, mostly due to lack of experience with it & not wanting to leave no opportunity for accidents.

HTH

Tim

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ButtercreamCakeArtist Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 4:09am
post #15 of 21

Yes, we did stick the dowels in to measure, then take them back out and cut.



Quote:
Originally Posted by sun33082

Sounds like one major problem was not covering your boards. Even one covered board can weaken under the weight of the cake (i learned this the hard way with a 16" square cake, went to put it in the fridge after frosting, and the board buckled and cake fell to the floor).

The other thing, if you put the dowels in the cake and cut them while in the cake, you're not ensuring that you're cutting them level. You need to put one dowel in the iced cake, mark where the top of the icing is on the dowel, take the dowel out, and cut that dowel at the mark and cut the rest of your dowels the same length. Then put them mostly into the cake and let the weight of the next cake push them all the way down.

I'm one of those who don't depend on the cake to support the cakes above them. I depend on the dowels and boards. If someone bumps the table hard enough to shift such a heavy cake, nothing is going to hold it up.


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ButtercreamCakeArtist Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 4:13am
post #16 of 21

sounds like it is the cardboard.
I wonder why I've never heard about that before until now!?!?
In all the (many) cake books I have, they don't say to wrap the cardboard in anything or double it up.
I didn't think of it because the cake is stacked....
I AM SO GLAD I DID THIS TEST DRIVE CAKE!!!!!!

I think maybe the reason they don't tell to wrap the cardboard in all the books and stuff is that they usually use the cake plates or divider things!?

Thanks to all of you for the replies.
Keep any and all ideas heading my way. I can use it!
icon_smile.gif

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Loucinda Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 4:22am
post #17 of 21

One more thing - for your dowels.....do NOT cut each one by sticking it in the cake and then pulling it out then cutting it. Cut ONE of them - then use THAT dowel to cut the rest of them - it is very important that all the dowels be exactly the same length.

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lisascakes Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 4:34am
post #18 of 21

When I used wooden dowels & cardboard - I never wrapped the cardboards and didn't have any problems with the boards getting mushy. I have moved on to the Wilton hidden pillars and plastic plates. I WILL NOT go back to wooden dowels, I LOVE the hidden pillars. This way all the tiered cakes are on plastic plates and the use the hidden pillars in the cake. The "feet" on the plates fit right in the hidden pillars. These are easy to take apart for the customer.

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steffy8 Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 4:36am
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtercreamCakeArtist

sounds like it is the cardboard.
I wonder why I've never heard about that before until now!?!?
In all the (many) cake books I have, they don't say to wrap the cardboard in anything or double it up.
I didn't think of it because the cake is stacked....
I AM SO GLAD I DID THIS TEST DRIVE CAKE!!!!!!

I think maybe the reason they don't tell to wrap the cardboard in all the books and stuff is that they usually use the cake plates or divider things!?

Thanks to all of you for the replies.
Keep any and all ideas heading my way. I can use it!
icon_smile.gif




I learned you have to cover the boards from CC and all the experienced folks; and like you, didn't read about it anywhere else

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knoxcop1 Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 4:40am
post #20 of 21

Do yourself a favor:

Go straight to the cake supply and buy yourself 4 packages (4 each) of the WILTON PLASTIC HOLLOW DOWELS!!

Place one into the center of your final cake layer, until it's flush. Take a very sharp knife, mark it slightly (just a hair) below the icing line of that cake. Using same sharp knife, cut all of the other rods for that layer the same length.

Using either a plastic separator plate, or two cardboards taped together, and then covered in foil, contact paper (That's what I use--Contact) along with these dowels will definitely save your a$$ when it comes to wedding time! icon_wink.gif

The other ladies here know their stuff--it's your cardboards, alright. Along with those dang'd wooden dowels. thumbsdown.gif

Once you switch, cover your boards (2 of 'em--taped together and covered--remember that!) and use the plastic hollow dowels, you'll be fine!

Best of luck, and remember---POST PICS!! thumbs_up.gif

--Knox--

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cake2decorate Posted 9 Nov 2006 , 4:51am
post #21 of 21

Everyone assembles in a different manner, my personal choice is wooden dowels and masonite boards. Be sure to measure and cut all of the dowels exactly the same length, and use a level for each layer. I don't depend on a cake for support and cut the dowels even with the frosting line on top of each layer-that way all of the weight is on the cake board and dowels-not the cake.
good luck icon_smile.gif

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