Buttercream, Cake Help..please =)

Decorating By Sarah2599 Updated 6 Jan 2010 , 6:37am by JanH

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Sarah2599 Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 5:21am
post #1 of 4

First of I am a beginner but would love to learn more about the art of baking and decorating. I need help in the following areas.

1. Are cake mixes (pilssburry,Duncan Hines) fine to use with butter cream/fondant?

2. Once I bake my cakes-no buttercream yet (2 days before decorating) where is the best place to store? Refrigerator/freezer/table in a covered cake dish?

3. Once I apply buttercream do I apply a crumb coat first then add more buttercream? If so how long after?

4. Once they have buttercream where can I store? (I would decorate the next day)

5. What is better buttercream or gnache? Any recommended recipes?

6. Is okay to add jam as a filling? Will my cakes sink?

Thank you in advance...sorry so many questions! Here is a cake I did but the top one sunk into the bottom one??? Not enough support?? Maybe>

3 replies
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JanH Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 5:41am
post #2 of 4

Hi and Welcome to CC, Sarah2599. icon_smile.gif

Everything you need to know to make, decorate and assemble tiered/stacked/layer cakes:


Above super thread has popular CC recipes for crusting American buttercreams, several types of fondant and doctored cake mix (WASC and other flavor variations) - and so much more!

One of the basic techniques in scratch baking is measuring flour accurately.
When measuring flour, do you use the "scoop and drag" method and then shake to level.... You should be aerating the flour prior to gently spooning it into the measuring cup and using a straight edge to level.

Also, when it comes to mixing, MORE (as in more speed or longer mixing time) is not BETTER. Overmixing will develop the gluten and result in a tough cake. Overmixing will also cause a cake to sink.

Bake at 325F, using both inverted flower nails and bake-even strips. Can use Wilton cake making charts as guideline - link provided in above thread. (Gives batter requirements by pan sizes and more.)

Cake timeline:


Everything you ever wanted to know about ganache:
(Master and other recipes including white chocolate. Also how to glaze, frost, smooth and stack.)


Chocolate 101:


Whipped Chocolate Ganache:


Blender Ganache:


This chocolate ganache recipe requires twice the amount when made with white chocolate:


Other "white" ganache recipes:


Easy & tasty recipe to stabilize jam for use as cake filling:


A really nice site for learning the art of scratch baking and basic baking techniques:




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totallycaked Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 5:46am
post #3 of 4

I am no way near a pro... and really new myself... but here are a few things I have learned along my short trip. The internet is an amazing tool You can you tube cake decorating and find videos on it as well as there are many free lessons online... and cake central is the best tool ever. I hear that duncan hines makes a good cake for decorating. That is what I used while I was just starting and now I am playing with lots of recipes.... all which I get here. Dont open your oven till the cake is done or it will sink in the middle. cook is slower and longer like 325 instead of 350. If it is big you can use a cone or a flower nail in the middle. Let the cake cool about 10 min in the pan and then let it cool 100% before you do a crumb coat. You can use a decorator bag with a big tip or pile it on a with a spatula. The goal is to get a thin even coat that traps the crumbs in. Put the cake in the fridge to set for a hour or two... or even over night to decorate. Then you can do a pretty coat of frosting or the decorations. If you are not going to do a crumb coat make sure you wrap the cake well in plastic before you freeze or fridge or it will get dry. I always crumb coat before I put mine away... If you use a buttercream without milk or eggs you can store it on the counter. If you use milk in your buttercream and can spoil keep it in the fridge. Buttercream and ganache are totally different so its your choice chocolate or buttercream. I love ganache but mostly use buttercream. Jam and jelly should not make your cake sink if you let it cool down... just my two cents... good luck and have fun! look forward to seeing your masterpieces here on CC

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JanH Posted 6 Jan 2010 , 6:37am
post #4 of 4
Originally Posted by totallycaked

away... If you use a buttercream without milk or eggs you can store it on the counter. If you use milk in your buttercream and can spoil keep it in the fridge.

Meringue buttercreams are usually stored in the refrigerator because of the high butter content (it helps to keep them from melting in hot weather).

However, American buttercreams (made with tons of powdered sugar, fat and a small amount of liquid/any liquid) are shelf stable (no refrigeration required) because the sugar (which is hygroscopic or water absorbing) controls the water activity in the liquid, be it water, milk, cream or non-dairy coffee creamer, etc..

Here's the science.

Water activity & microbial growth:
(Prolonging Bakery Product Life.)


WJ Scott in 1953 first established that it was water activity, not water content that correlated with bacterial growth:


Formulating for increased shelf life:
(Decreasing water activity results in hostile environment for bacteria.)



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