Dam Bulge?

Decorating By chellebell70 Updated 11 Jun 2012 , 4:11pm by EvMarie

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chellebell70 Posted 10 Jun 2012 , 4:55am
post #1 of 11

Something happened with my last cake that never happened before. Where the layers came together-where the dam was... a thick line/band that looked whiter and slightly bulged showed up and showed through the under buttercream frosting. I used the Viva method so it was smooth but I don't know exactly what I did wrong. Did I put to much filling in and/or to thick of a dam? Would appreciate help so that I don't have this happen again.

10 replies
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auntginn Posted 10 Jun 2012 , 5:58am
post #2 of 11

Usually the combination of both. Another factor could be if it was not leveled enough or if I didn't allow the bottom layer to sit for a few minutes before putting the top layer on it.

I generally run a warm spatuala around the bulge when it happens and then smooth it out and it generally works fine.


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EvMarie Posted 10 Jun 2012 , 6:02am
post #3 of 11

I had problems with bulging when I first started. But, I factored in "settle time" and it's been okay so far.

I used to fill with pudding & I don't really use that anymore. I now use ganache or cream cheese filling or buttercream. I think the pudding...even though I made it thick...it wasn't as stable.

I'd assemble, smoothing out the seam with a bit of buttercream & then let the cake settle with a giant floor tile on top of the cake. Usually overnight or at least 3 or 4 hours. Then, ice.

I did pop the cakes in and out of the freezer...but I'm finding now that hot weather is here..I've been using the fridge and I still am okay with the bulge.

I'd retrace my steps. Did you do anything different? Were any of your materials different? Environment? It seems cakes are fussy - and knowing how to fix a cake issue is 50% of the battle.

Hope you figure it out.

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sweettreat101 Posted 10 Jun 2012 , 9:33am
post #4 of 11

I dam and fill my cakes and place a piece of wax paper on top and then either a plate, bowl even a floor tile works great to help the cake settle before decorate. The key is to let the cake settle. Even if you use to much frosting for a dam once the cake has settled you can remove and smooth the excess frosting.

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scp1127 Posted 10 Jun 2012 , 10:37am
post #5 of 11

Putting weight on the top of the cake is great for settling, but will damage the crumb of the cake by crushing the little air holes.

It would be best to let the cake settle naturally.

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leah_s Posted 10 Jun 2012 , 11:00am
post #6 of 11

Depends on how much weight you use. I advocate a ceramic floor tile roughly the same size as the cake. Marble tiles and really big tiles are too heavy. Done properly, this method does not damage the cake in any way.

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scp1127 Posted 10 Jun 2012 , 11:49am
post #7 of 11

leah, I never doubt that you do things correctly. I agree with most everything you post (except I really do love 3 inch pans used as glorified 2 inch pans), but I read some of these posts and I'm not sure that the integrity of the crumb is being considered.

I think on box mixes, they probably have elastic in the mix along with everything else, but on scratch, we do need to be aware of how much weight we add. My guess is the amount of the frosting and fondant to emulate the final weight in a thin tile.

I wrote that because of our discussion on another post about pressing the middle of the cake down while in the pan and pressing them upside down while warm.

If you take care to be mindful of the crumb while settling the cake, then no damage done.

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kelleym Posted 10 Jun 2012 , 2:08pm
post #8 of 11
Originally Posted by scp1127

I think on box mixes, they probably have elastic in the mix along with everything else.


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scp1127 Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 6:21am
post #9 of 11

I have nothing against box mixes, but they are built for durability.

To expound on the comment by Kelleym, box mixes are designed to bake a cake under almost any condition. They can be over/underbaked, wrong measurements, the oven can be off considerably, and a cake still comes out of the oven. Research them and you will find my source.

Another issue with box mixes is that the crumb is unusually strong compared to scratch cakes... one that I have not seen duplicated. The crumb strength further insures that the cake can be baked imperfectly and succeed. It is in the design. and yes, elasticity would be needed. They even have spring in the crumb.

So when I mentioned the box mixes, I am sure that in the hierarchy of sturdy crumb models, the box mix may well not have the same adverse effects when weight is added to the cake.

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AnnieCahill Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 11:05am
post #10 of 11

I always make sure I pipe a very stiff (like so stiff you can mold it with your hands) dam and DON'T pipe it right up against the edge. I put mine like 1/4 inch in from the edge of the layer which is being dammed. I never put anything on top of my cakes or weight them with anything. It's also very important not to overfill. This will create a bulge no matter how stiff your dam is.

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EvMarie Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 4:11pm
post #11 of 11

I've been using one or two thin tiles - they were left over from the basement install. Not ceramic, not marble...not terribly heavy. I only bake a few flavors... so it's not hard to understand to put the lightest weight on my more delicate cake...and an additional tile for a denser cake.

It's always tasted fine to me. Texture and all. icon_wink.gif

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