Did First Whimsmical Cake~Need Your Advice Before Doing More

Decorating By chrissysconfections Updated 19 Mar 2008 , 5:02pm by iamlis

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chrissysconfections Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 2:23pm
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Well I did my first whimsical cake this past weekend and to say it was a disaster would be an understatment. I also used MMF for the first time to cover the cake and that didn't work out so well either. So now I have some serious questions because I love the look of the cake and would hate to have to remove this option for any potential customers. I did read the tutorial on here and got my MMF recipe from here as well.

I'll start with my MMF questions......
I made a total of 5 batches of fondant and each one was totally different then the rest.
The first batch was perfect.....you wouldn't have been able to tell the difference consistancy wise between that and other fondant. The second and third batches weren't sticky but they weren't really hard either. Once I bagged them up and set them aside they sort of "melted"~ they went from round balls to half melted snow balls. I think this could be a lack of sugar maybe?? The final batch was a double batch and a TOTAL DISASTER!! Not only did it stick horribly to my poor DH's hands the entire time but once it was no longer sticky it was full of these littel balls/clumps that looked like clear plastic or something. You couldn't knead them out and there was so many of them that if you tried picking them out it would have looked like cheese cloth!
Our next trouble with the fondant was when we rolled it there were tons of bubbles in it and once we laid it on the cake there were huge bubbles underneath and within the fondant. I took a hat pin that I use for decorating and got as much out as I could without truly messing it up and then tried rubbing out the pin marks.
When we did the stripes on the sides the lightest color would stretch out of shape before we even got it to the cake, the medium color was a dream and the darkest color would actually harden up while we were placing it.

For the cake itself the only real problem I had was when I iced it. It didn't seem to matter how much icing I put on the cake once the fondant went on the sides were all rippled. I filled in the tort marks first and then laid 2 good coats of icing down on it and it would look perfectly even and nice but once the fondant got all on it all you saw were these bulging marks. We ended up putting little pearl like dots around the cake to take your eye away from the bulging ripples and it seemed to work. I don't understand what happen to cause the bulges afterwards.

Also the cake lacked the the heighth I was looking for. I'm guessing that the key is to use 3" pans?? I used 2" and it wasn't nearly as tall as I would have liked. Where can I buy 3" pans? I'd like to have a few on hand for other projects too.

I did take a picture of the cake without the extra sticks in it before we got to the party and in it you can see the bulging. There is a pic of the cake completed in my photos as well. I think the sticks should have been cut shorter but the people at the party insisted they looked good the height they were so I left it that way.....afterall they are the ones paying. I can honestly say I was never so happy for poor lighting as I was that night!!

On a positive note though, everyone loved the cake and said it tasted awesome. A few people even asked my DB where he got the cake and if he had any of my business cards so maybe it wasn't that horrible or maybe after the St. Patty's day drinks it looked straighter??? icon_wink.gif

Thanks for any help/advice you can give me for the future!!

Sorry it was so long icon_redface.gif

16 replies
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lordbuffington Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 3:03pm
post #2 of 17

I am too new to be able to offer you any advice, but I want to say your finished product looks just great to me! I am happy to hear all of the guests were impressed!

I was thinking of making MMF for an Easter cake I am making this week. It is only for my family, but I am having fears and second thoughts about trying the MMF (first time and all) because of the not-so-good results I keep reading about here!

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sambugjoebear Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 3:10pm
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I've never worked with fondant, MMF or otherwise, so I can't help you there. Never made a whimsical either, but look forward to it.

Can't give you any advice, so, I'll give you encouragement! icon_biggrin.gif For your first fondant/whimsical cake, it looks pretty good. I'm thinking, like everything else, it will just take a little more practice to perfect it.

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cocorum21 Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 3:20pm
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The cake came out good. I don't use MMF(too stretchy & thin) I used Toba's but for the height when I did mine I made three 2" cakes for each tier and taper down the tier. HTH

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tiggy2 Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 3:22pm
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That's why I buy my fondant, so I get a consistant product every time. I use choco-pan and it is delicious. It's a little harder to work with but it is so worth it. I don't know which MMF recipe you used but a lot of people on CC swear by Michelle Foster's receipe so you might give that a try. As far as the bulging, was your cake forzen at all when you iced it? Did you put a dam between each layer and let them settle befor frosting? Sugar shack has 2 wonderful DVDs that are well worth the money. One is on smoothing with BC and the other is covering a cake with fondant.

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laurynrn Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 3:23pm
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The first time I made MMF I had a huge bubble problem. BUT, the second time it came out great with hardly any bubbles. The two things I did different were: I made it the day before and while kneading I kept the ball I was kneading very tight and kept it to a minimum, then I smothered in Crisco and sealed it real tight to sit until the next day.

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smab109 Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 3:30pm
post #7 of 17

Did you let the MMF sit before you used it? That is the most important thing for me.... I use MMF for covering cookies, but not cakes. (there is a cake in my gallery using MMF and it tore around the edges, etc)

I use Michelle Foster's recipe for fondant and it is perfect. A little more time consuming to make, but well worth it.

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funbun Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 3:31pm
post #8 of 17

I think we are all our own worst critics! icon_biggrin.gif From the picture the cake looks great and you say that everyone loved the taste so CHEER UP! In the end it worked out.

That said I understand the pain of MMF. The crystals in the MMF sound like they are crystalized sugar probably from over heating the marshmellows and the bubbles are probably from that also.
The "melting is from not having enough powdered sugar in the mix.
MMF like regular fondant needs to rest for at least overnight so that it is workable.
HTH icon_smile.gif
And don't give up, it takes practice but when you geet it, you got it! icon_wink.gif

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FromScratch Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 3:41pm
post #9 of 17

The key to getting the height is to nake three 2" layers. I hate working with the 3" layers because there is just too much cake and not enough filling. Plus they take longer and if you already have the 2" pans don't go an buy 3" ones when you can get the same result by just baking an extra layer. icon_smile.gif

Second.. I hate MMF. If you are going to make your own fondant try this recipe:


It comes out perfect everytime. BUT.. you do need to let any fondant you make sit overnight before you try to use it or it'll be horrible. It will feel soft when you are wrapping it, but let it sit overnight and it will firm up. icon_smile.gif

And when you want to cover a cake with fondant.. put on your layer of BC and then chill the cake for a bit to firm up the icing and THEN cover it with the fondant. That way your BC won't shift on you.

HTH's a little.

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chrissysconfections Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 4:04pm
post #10 of 17

jkalman~ I've never made a 3 layer cake, will that effect the cakes stability at all?

I did refrigerate the cake once I torted it before cutting but not after I iced it because I was afraid the MMF wouldn't stick if it set up. Makes sense though to let it set first

DH and I are thinking about scrapping the MMF altogether. We LOVE Pettinice but were trying to cut the cost for this since it was for family and it wasn't for profit.

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tonedna Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 4:16pm
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Well...I am not sure what type of fondant you use but, if it was real fondant, the little balls of clump could have come from the gelatin.. Another source could be the sugar.. To little sugar will make your fondant too soft. And fondant loves to rest before is used.

A topsy turvy requires height..The problem is when you cut it to give the shape you loose the height on one side and it looks a lot smaller.. I use my 3 inch pans and make double batches..each 3 inch is cut in the middle so I have 3 layers of filling.
Dont use soft filling or a lot of it in lower layers since gets dangerous.

Always refrigerate a cake for a few hours after you put the buttercream and before you put the fondant so it doesnt loose shape and height. The fondant is heavy and will change the shape of the cake if is warm.
Make sure your fondant is not too thick or too thin. Too thick will make it too difficult to shape , too thin will break it easily.
I attached a photo..my cakes tend to be around 4 and a half inches in height when done in 3 inch pans that are not over filled.

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ericaann79 Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 4:36pm
post #12 of 17

I too just made my first topsy turvy cake...actually I am in the middle of it...but I read that you should use differnt size pans. For your bottom tier you should have used an 8". 9" and 10" (this is what I did) so when you stack them you have a slope on the sides as well. Then on the top tier I did 6", 7" 8"... and I refrigerated and carved to get a good flow. As for the MMF I have tried it about 3 times and never had good luck with it...horrible each time, but so many people here love it. I swear by Toba Garrett's recipe. It tastes good and is really easy to work with, never had a problem! Here is a site for explaining the topsy turvy cake...


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FromScratch Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 4:40pm
post #13 of 17

Believe me.. I never wanted to make fondant.. but Michele's recipe is as good as (if not better than) any commercial fondant. It never fails for me.

As for the 3 layers of cake.. no.. it doesn't effect the stability. I'll attach a picture of my sister's shower cake. This cake is three 2" layers of vanilla cake in each tier.. 2 tiers have lemon curd and thickened raspberry puree and the middle one have pastry cream and thickened strawberry puree. It stood for at least 24 hours.. and edured many moves. And it stood up to being taken apart and served without shifting or squishing.

The key is to carve your cakes BEFORE filling them.. that way you can pipe a dam just like anyother cake and you don't have the filling shifting under the weight of your carving. I have typed out the way I do TT cakes before and if you PM me your e-mail address.. I'll gladly send them to you. I even have pictures of a bunch of the steps involved.. not all though.. I sort of forgot to take a picture a few times.. LOL. Next time I make one I am going to photograph every step and make a tutorial.

Here's the cake..

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FromScratch Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 4:42pm
post #14 of 17

The cake is more slanted than it looks in the picture.. it's the wrong angle. I wish I had gottena better picture of it, but what can you do.

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SweetStuff30 Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 4:47pm
post #15 of 17

ive made MMF lots of times and it has always come out great!! (knock on wood) I use 1 bag rogers icing sugar, the 400g bag of jet puffed mini marshmallows, 2 TBSp water and crisco up my hands and spoon so theres no stickage! i put the water on the MM then stir it.. then put it in the microwave 4 times.. each at 30 seconds.. stir it each time (time varies for microwaves) then sift the icing sugar into the MM then when its too tough to stir with spoon i plop it out onto a pan covered in crisco and knead it for about 7-10 min.. roll into a ball.. cover it in crisco and wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge over night.. works great, taste great and easy! I love it!

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tonedna Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 4:53pm
post #16 of 17

I do prefer to buy fondant..consistency is a hazzle when you are making it! Specially if is first times.
Here are more topsy's in my website.. I am about to put post my last one. Is all white..Turned out really cute!
Edna icon_biggrin.gif

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iamlis Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 5:02pm
post #17 of 17

Man Jeanne-I am not sure that you should have taken more pictures, that one is pretty spectacular! I LOVE THE HEIGHT of each of your rounds, it has a great flow! I want to PM you and get your directions too! I REALLY love your cake, you did a great job! SOME TT cakes are too busy-and thats the intention, i am sure, you hit it dead on though for my taste!

Chrissy-I really like your cake colors and design-i bet you were pretty stressed too because the MMF was being unreliable and it takes about 10 tries to get it down pat-and to get consistency perfect, but is easy and cheap to make! I did kill my KA last week kneading it though-good thing I have about 4 back-ups! LOL! And there sending me a new one to replace it THANK GOD! Anyways-It was alot of "new" things for one cake, you may try it again next time and it be a breeze-thats just cake you know?? You have great talent and I am sure EVERYONE loved the cake, I bet you were just stressed with there being no comfort zone, but now your a pro! I can't wait to see your next one!

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