Major Emergency: Need Help!

Decorating By limabean526 Updated 6 Mar 2011 , 12:51am by limabean526

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limabean526 Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 11:54am
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I have a lighthouse cake that I am making for this Sat (March 5th) for a friend. I baked eight 8" rounds, made a support structure (MDF board, PVC pipe center dowel), and did a pattern of cake, filling w/ a dam to prevent leaking) (homemade strawberry), cake, cardboard round, repeat.

The bottom layer is now leaking filling despite my dam and efforts to deal. It does have three more layers of the above pattern on it, so I assuming the weight of the upper layers is pushing it down so much, it keeps leaking. I simply CANNOT take this apart b/c I am sure I'd lose most of it. What can I do to stop the leak. The strawberry filling is making the BC I am using to stop the leaks disintegrate so it is not helping.


Any suggestions, ideas, etc???

Please, I am desperate!!!

11 replies
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suzylynn58 Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 12:13pm
post #2 of 12

did you dowel between the tiers?

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Ursula40 Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 12:20pm
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Are you using fresh strawberries or a cooked filling? Strawberries get more wet, in contact with sugar if they have not been cooked, they draw juice. You also need cardboard or a support layer evrery 2-3 layers including support dowels

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PattyT Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 12:21pm
post #4 of 12

I had the same thought as suzylynne58...are you dowling? Dowels (or bubble-tea straws) and cake boards for each two cakes to support the weight.

Oops - while I was responding Ursula said the same thing...

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MamaD77 Posted 1 Mar 2011 , 1:32pm
post #5 of 12

Uh Oh!

This is a cake for Saturday March 5TH?!!? Are the strawberries fresh cut ones? If I am not mistaken, they will be rancid by the time anyone eats the cake icon_eek.gif Even if the cake were to be refrigerated, I can't see how they can possibly be still fresh.
I made strawberry cupcakes recently, with fresh cut strawberries on the top, and they only survive for 24 hrs max, even in the fridge.
Ursula is absolutely right, the strawberries will release liquid over time, and there's not much you can do to stop that from happening.

When making a cake of a design like this, it's best to play it safe with fillings, and indeed the type of sponge you use. These types of fillings are best left to more simple designs, the safest option would be a pound cake type sponge, and a stiffer buttercream or frosting filling, which can be strawberry flavoured, but much safer to steer clear of slippy things like fruit.

On a more positive note, you do at least have time to re-do this cake, 4 days (or indeed evenings) should be enough time to save this.
I would as others have, also recommend dowelling and boarding, every 2-3 layers, for stability, regardless of the central pipe. The pipe sure will stop the whole thing toppling over, but it wont prevent the upper layers pressing down weight on the lower layers, so if there are no separators and dowels to hold up those cards, then yes, unfortunately there will be an issue with leaky filling.
I think it was either Leah S or indydebi who once recommended that when you've filled your cake with choice of filling, to put something weighted, like a ceramic tile or at least a dinner plate on top of the filled cake, and let it sit for a few hours, before covering and decorating, to allow time for filling to settle, then if any is going to ooze out, it will do so before the cake is assembled and decorated, saving you a lot of time and heartache.

Can you at least dismantle the cake and remove the offending filling and somehow refill with a more stable filling without fruit? You could possibly save the actual cake rounds, and re-assemble? That would at least save you having to re-bake.

If it were Thursday or Friday right now, then I would be panicking, but it's only Tuesday, so take a breather to figure out a plan of action, and have a bash at saving it. I wish you luck, I really hope it works out for you!

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limabean526 Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 3:31pm
post #6 of 12

Hi all!

I was able to save the cake after all. To answer your questions, the filling wasn't fresh strawberries so no worries about going rancid. It was a cooked filling made with fresh strawberries. I've used it before with no issues for two other cakes. I was a bit dopey this around, though, and didn't dowel in between layers although I did use boards. I am usually good about doweling and use boba straws, but I wasn't thinking and somehow assumed my center support rod would do the trick - DUH! Blame it on having 3 kids under 9 running around as I try to work! icon_cry.gif

That was the issue since there was excess weight but what I ended up doing was letting it ooze until it stopped and then cleaned up, re-damed, and crumb coated. After that, I had no issues. I was able to fondant and it is sitting in the fridge waiting for its final details. Crisis averted! icon_lol.gif

I guess I panicked for no reason but I appreciate all of your suggestions. I usually shy away from fruit fullings for this reason but it was specifically requested by my friend's MOH. It is actually a delicious combo (chocolate cake with strawberry filling) if you want to try it! Thanks again! I'll post a pic of the finished cake once it's done!


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MamaD77 Posted 4 Mar 2011 , 10:46pm
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You did it, you did it..... Okay, you get the picture,

I'm really glad it worked out, glad the filling ain't rancid then! icon_lol.gif

It was lucky (or more like good judgement) that you started the cake in good time, there's nothin like a bunch of little monkeys getting under your feet to make you lose focus and start making mistakes. icon_rolleyes.gif
I've been contending with same this week, I have three boys, 7, 6 and 22 months, and boy do they have an uncanny knack of really needing my help at crucial parts of caking icon_cry.gif I actually had a small disaster of my own, when the fool that I am, I tried to tip the cake out of it's pan as soon as I'd taken it out of the oven, because I got distracted with the kids. And I so know NOT to do that! Had to rebake the thing. Plus side, I got to make cake pops for the family, who were delighted to eat my little disaster.

Oh how I'd love to just go into a day job bakery, and decorate cake all day, and have the space to do it, everything in it's place without tripping over the kids mess, and trying to keep all of my tools out of toddler reach!

Oh maybe one fine day......

Looking forward to seeing the pictures when you upload them, sounds like a great cake! I think I will try that filling/flavor combo, sounds yummy! I tried chocolate cake for the first time this week, and was stumped to come up with a decent filling to use other than plain ol' chocco buttercream! (I'm still nervous about trying new recipes!)
I had a look at your other cakes too, they're fab!

Glad the disaster was averted thumbs_up.gif

Mama D

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limabean526 Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 12:35pm
post #8 of 12

Hey MamaD77!

I just posted my cake in My Photos as well as a bunch of others. When you mentioned you looked at my cakes, I took a gander and realized I was sadly behind in posting them! I work on cakes with a friend and these are all cakes we've either done together or I've done on my own. Check out our pictures on our blog, the first link is to our old one, and the second is our new one:


I too dream of working at a bakery all day creating cakes, but the bills need paying and so I teach during the day and then dodge my husband, kids, and dog to make cakes from home on my "spare" time. I love doing it and hope to one day do it more full time. Maybe when the kids are older and I have more time to myself and can afford to do it. So probably never! Lol

Thanks for your posts! icon_smile.gif

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vtcake Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 9:31pm
post #9 of 12

While I'm glad you got it fixed, am I the only one who wouldn't want a cake made for me that was already 4 or 5 days old? How did it taste?

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limabean526 Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 9:48pm
post #10 of 12

Can I ask how your comment is supposed to be helpful? It was unnecessary and unwelcome. Unless you have something useful to add to this post, please refrain from butting in where you are not wanted. I asked for help, not criticism. Thank you.

But just because I feel compelled to inform you: the cake tasted SPECTACULAR! Everyone at the party raved about how delicious it was.

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NanaSandy Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 10:08pm
post #11 of 12

IMHO I think a cake tastes better on day 3 or 4. It is still moist, due to icing/fondant. The cake has time to settle and always taste moist!

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limabean526 Posted 6 Mar 2011 , 12:51am
post #12 of 12
Originally Posted by NanaSandy

IMHO I think a cake tastes better on day 3 or 4. It is still moist, due to icing/fondant. The cake has time to settle and always taste moist!

Thank you, NanaSandy! I agree completely. The tastes develop better after a couple of days and the fondant/icing lock in the freshness. Finally someone who knows cake! icon_smile.gif

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