Ugh, I Can't Seem To Bake A Cake! Help Please! (Kinda Long)

Decorating By kewaters Updated 19 Aug 2008 , 12:36am by kakeladi

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kewaters Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 2:45pm
post #1 of 14 I've mentioned in a few other posts I'm newer to the cake hobby, so I'm sure the problem I'm having is just a newbie mistake.

I have the Wilton circle cake pans. I tried using a recipe from this site that uses a cake mix, along with the addition of flour, sugar, and sour cream. I baked it at 325 degrees (40 minutes for a 6 in and almost 60 minutes for an 8 in). Toothpicks came out clean, tops bounced back, weren't too humpy in the middle, so I thought all was good. I let them cool in their pans for at least 10 minutes before loosening the sides and turning them onto a cooling rack. Bottoms looked great, noticed quite a few crumbs though. I let them cool completely for several hours. When I turned them back over, the tops of the cakes had stuck somewhat to the cooling rack, but not a big deal, since they would technically become the bottoms. I filled the 6 in with buttercream dam and filling, per sugarshack dvd, and stacked other 6 in on top. I let it settle for several more hours.

The problem I am running into, is that the cake seems to fall apart. I used an extremely sharp, good knife, and made sure it was cutting, rather than dragging along the cake, but it seemed that more cake was falling off than what should've been.

So, the question (finally) what am I doing wrong in the baking process that the cakes are so crumby and falling apart so easily? I have not moved forward to covering with crumbcoat before the fondant yet, as I want to figure out what's going on.

Any insight, baking tips, recipes, etc. is much appreciated! icon_biggrin.gif

13 replies
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Lady_Phoenix Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 2:54pm
post #2 of 14

It sounds like your buttercream may be the issue rather than the cake. Try thinning some of it out and see if that helps.

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LoriMc Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 3:29pm
post #3 of 14

I don't understand at what point your cake starts falling apart. You talked about using a knife. Do you mean it falls apart when you cut it to eat, or are you trying to carve it into some sort of shape?

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kewaters Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 6:09pm
post #4 of 14


It starts to fall apart after I stack the (2) 6 inch layers together and I am trimming them so they are uniform.

I guess what I'm thinking I may need is a more dense cake mix? or am I doing something wrong, i.e. not letting cool long enough that the cake itself is not firm enough?

Thanks for the responses so far!

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stephaniescakenj Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 7:20pm
post #5 of 14

I think it's your knife. are you using a serrated knife? you may not even need to trim too, if your layers are off by a little just even them out with your icing, maybe you're trying to shave off too small a piece and that's why its crumbling. I always see Duff from Charm City Cakes, well his staff I should say, cutting off thin slivers of cake without issue... I think in their case, they must use a really dense cake since alot of their stuff is carved. I don't know of any cake mix that you can get a dense cake from since most call for oil instead of butter.

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kimblyd Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 7:39pm
post #6 of 14

I learned on CC to carve/trim layers only when they are very cold or even frozen. Works for me. icon_smile.gif

Hope this helps.


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kakeladi Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 7:41pm
post #7 of 14

Sounds to me like you overbaked them. A 6"x2" round should only take like 15-20 minmutes and the 8"er just a few longer.
The recipe you refere to sounds like my *original* should not 'fall apart' when cut unless your knife is very, very dull icon_smile.gif
BTW: I really don't understand your stacking the two 6"ers, then trimming them.
The pan should produce nice, round cakes that don't need trimming. The only trimming that might be needed is to make sure the tops are level. To do that, place them b ack in the pan and using a knife that goes all across the top, just slice over the cake, cutting anything that is above the rim of the pan. No more trimming should be needed.

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TJCanadian Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 7:42pm
post #8 of 14

I always put butter instead of oil in my cakes and if I need to carve it up some, I throw in an instant pudding mix of whatever flavor I'm making. That makes a nice dense moist cake. That and make sure your cake is completely cool, if its still warm at all it will fall apart.

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confectioneista Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 7:54pm
post #9 of 14

Here's my 2 cents...(and no offense is meant here) but it could also be the pans you are using. Unfortunately, not all pans are created equal. I had began my cake baking using with Wilton pans and usually had the worse time with them. For one thing, no two Wilton pans are exactly the same...if you look at them, there are different stock numbers on the pans even if they are same size; hence they don't line up with each other when you stack them (make sense?)

But that aside, if you're having crumbling problems it might be that your cake mix is too dry or (as was mentioned by Kim) you may need to have them in the frig for a while before carving them.

Here's another thing that might help...try using a Prime Rib knife. It's not serrated but it is very sharp and makes smooth cuts. I trim all my cakes that way and it works out great. HTH

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LoriMc Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 8:12pm
post #10 of 14

Like Kakeladi, I don't understand why you are needing to trim your layers again once they are stacked. The first time should have leveled them.

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peacockplace Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 8:19pm
post #11 of 14

It's from the sugarshack video. She trims the sides for a super sharp and straight side look.

I think you may need a denser cake recipe. Also, I'd wait until the cake has set overnight before trying to trim. This seems to really give the cake time to firm up.

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kewaters Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 8:40pm
post #12 of 14

Thanks for everyone's tips & Suggestions in such a timely manner!

I didn't use the WASC recipe, but I'm thinking the recipe looks like it might yield a better cake than the recipe I used. Also, yes, I was using trying to make the sides super sharp and that's why I was trimming once they were stacked. I will definitely work out my baking time issues, and try putting them in the fridge/freezer to firm up a bit before any further trimming.

Thanks again to everyone! This site is sooo helpful!

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Cake_Princess Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 9:43pm
post #13 of 14

To me it sounds as if the recipe itself maybe the culprit. Make sure that everything was measured correctly. you may have also removed the cake too soon from the pan. When I bake my cakes I let let them sit for about 5 minutes then I make then loosen them. Let them sit for about 20 minutes then remove for the pan.

I hope this helps a bit.

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kakeladi Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 12:36am
post #14 of 14

o.k. now I understand. Some people don't like to see the brown of cake crust that any pan produces so they trim it off. I have never done that.
I understand the comment about Wilton pans b ut most of my (say) 6" or 8" pans were the same finished cake....didn't need to trim them. I at times have had as many as a dz 6, 8, 10, & 12" pansicon_smile.gif (In my bakery).

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