Beating The Heat

Decorating By Amy7373 Updated 16 Jan 2013 , 7:46pm by lilmissbakesalot

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Amy7373 Posted 3 Jan 2013 , 3:24am
post #1 of 24

Hi everyone,


Ok, so here's the forecast for my hometown for the next week (all in celsius) - 38, 41, 33, 33, 40, 34, 29. I haven't got any cakes to do this week but I have a couple of big ones next week and the heatwave is making me VERY nervous!


I did an anniversary cake last weekend in sweltering heat (you'll see it in the gallery) and had some big problems. I knocked a bit off the price for the customer because of how these impacted on the final product and I hate having to do that. Like all of us, I wanted to deliver something perfect.


So - how do we beat the heat? The biggest problem I had last weekend was that once the fondant was on, it started to 'sweat'. I ended up with a big dewy sheen all over the top of the cake and when it finally dried out (overnight) it became very sticky and a little uneven across the top. I had a big air bubble appear too but I managed to smooth it out somewhat (but still - not perfect!)


Would love any tips from those of you who work with the heat a lot. I currently use a solite based buttercream under my cakes. I find ganache very tricky to work with. I have air con but I find that it makes the humidity worse (if that makes sense!).




23 replies
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lilmissbakesalot Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 1:18am
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Welcome!  That's some HOT ass weather you got going on down under!   We are in winter's icy grip here in NH (it was 43 here today too, but farenheit), but in the summer months caking ain't easy.  The only respite in the summer is with AC.  In the shop we have condensation issues on cakes that have just come out of the fridge, but they will dry and return to their matte sheen if you leave them be and don't touch them.  Makes decorating them a bear sometimes though.  A dehumidifier will help too, but if you keep a constant temp with your AC the humidity will dissipate.  If you have window units, this is harder to do (I have window units too) but it will work if you keep them on. 


Was your cake cold before you put on thefondant?  That will make it stickier since the cool surface collects the moisture in the air. Also, what kind of fondant are you using?  Is it homemade?  Homemade fondant always sweat more on me than commercially prepared fondant. 


Above all else... I swear a lot during the summer... LOL. 

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-K8memphis Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 1:55am
post #3 of 24

hi amy


i keep my cakes frozen after assemblig tiers and then i keep them chilled most all the way along the process so i don't have the extreme sweating issues.


i deliver them chilled and boxed to protect from the sweltering memphis heat and then once in the venue it's air conditioned so i avoid some issue by being chilly all the time


climate control is my best friend


that's what works for me

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costumeczar Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 2:00am
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If you get any more air bubbles take a sewing needle or a very thin pin and poke a tiny hole in it, then gently press the gas inside of it out. That can happen in any weather, but if it's really hot and there's gas inside the cake anywhere it's going to try to make its way out.


 Is solite a vegetable shortening? If you're using that kind of icing under the fondant you can make it a little stiffer than usual by not adding so much liquid to it, that might help in the heat.

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Amy7373 Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 2:32am
post #5 of 24

Thanks heaps for your help, everyone :)


I have been doing the butter cream then popping them in the fridge to set and then putting fondant on as soon as I take them out. Is that a no-no?


Yes, solite is a vegetable shortening. I'll leave out some of the water when I make it up tonight to make it a bit stiffer. Thanks a lot - I really appreciate it!

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Evoir Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 2:50am
post #6 of 24

Amy - hi, I'm in NSW and currently experiencing the same heat. Today is meant to be 39 deg C.


You mentioned airconditioning. Unfortunately most units in Victoria are of the 'evaporative' variety, whereas we have the refrigeration style ones up north, due to the inherent humidity. The latter work by removing humidity from the room. I would think about buying a dehumidifier to keep in your caking room to avoid these issues, or buy a second-hand fridge, remove the shelves for stacked tiers, and keep your cakes in there.

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costumeczar Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 3:08am
post #7 of 24

That's horrible, hideous heat...I usually don't chill cakes before putting fondant on them, but in that kind of heat without air conditioning I'd be trying to keep the cake as cold as possible throughout decorating it.

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Kimdarella Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 3:34am
post #8 of 24

Hi Amy,


Also in NSW and my Air Con is a total blessing during this heat, I advise clients to keep their cakes in a open box within an air cond room after taking them out of the fridge as it de-humidifies and dries the icing out beautifully.


Yours must be the Evaporative kind of cooling, which does the opposite I believe - as Evoir says.


NOt sure what you can do, other than perhaps freezing your cakes with the buttercream as has been suggested by K8memphis, then working quickly and putting it back in the freezer - I had a client freeze a Christmas cake for a week and then defrost in an air cond room, worked perfectly according to her, both cake and fondant surviving beautifully.


You could try an old fashioned fan perhaps? 

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Apti Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 5:04am
post #9 of 24

Figured this was an Aussie post.  I live in Southern California where it has been about 4C-9C.   I was talking to my friend in Sydney yesterday evening and tried to import some of our cold air thru the phone, but it didn't work out well.  I remember Sydney being VERY humid.  You all have my sympathy. 

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Amy7373 Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 5:14am
post #10 of 24

Thanks so much for all your help, everyone. It's awesome :) We are in the middle of one of the longest heatwaves we've had for a while here in Eastern Oz so it's quite the challenge! That said, we did have a cooler day (22) on Wednesday so we've had a bit of a break. It was lovely!


It's 37 here today but only expected to be 27 tomorrow so hopefully the cool change comes through sooner rather than later! My plan at the moment is to crumb coat them both tonight and put them back in the fridge. Then I'll be up early tomorrow before the heat to finish them and I'll store them in the coolest room in the house without the air con and maybe just a fan? How does that sound!?


One has to travel 3 hours in a car with someone else - eek! I guess I'll just tell them to crank the aircon and hope for the best! Shouldn't be too bad - 50 cupcakes and a 6 inch cutting cake.


Thanks again for the tips. Fingers crossed for a cool change here VERY soon!

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Amy7373 Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 5:15am
post #11 of 24

And Apti - I would LOVE some of that cool air if you have any left ;)

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tykesmommy Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 5:37am
post #12 of 24

AI'm in Alabama and currently, it's 64 degrees Fahrenheit with 72% humidity. I hate being hot so if I could give you some of our cold air and wind, I would!!

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lilmissbakesalot Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 7:19pm
post #13 of 24

I'd gladly trade with you too... we have plenty of cold air here.  Though it has been warmer (45 degrees F) this week and is supposed to be in the 50's (again Farenheit) this weekend but next week we are in for 30's and 20's again... brrrr!


Hopefully you get that break from the heat.  Cuppies and a cutting cake should travel fine too.  :)

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Marianna46 Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 7:59pm
post #14 of 24

I live in a place like yours. It's the middle of winter here now, so the temp is only getting up to 28-29° (that's Celsius, of course - 83-85 or so Fahrenheit!). But it gets up to 35 or 36 (high 90s) at most other times of the year, and the humidity is always ridiculously high. I NEVER refrigerate my fondant-covered cakes, because the condensation that forms on them will never dry in our humidity. Kitchens have no AC, of course. I do freeze my cake layers almost right out of the oven, but thaw them thoroughly before working on them. I use a thin layer of heavy ganache to crumbcoat, because it runs less than buttercream in the heat, although I've never found anything that will resist an outdoor party here. I've also reformulated my fondant (I always buy ready-made): I add  4-5 tablespoons of vegetable shortening and about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar to each kilo of fondant, which helps weatherproof it somewhat. I never make figures out of fondant, but always use gumpaste or, whenever possible, pastillage. Hope these ideas help you some!

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ellavanilla Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 10:15pm
post #15 of 24

HI! My best friend lives in Victoria! Anyway. LOL I live in Southern California, and I try to decorate at night or early in the morning and then keep everything in the fridge until it's time to deliver. The only problem I ever had was when I delivered a cake to Arizona. Decorations started falling off the tiers the very second we opened the car door. The darned thing barely made it to the cutting of the cake at 9pm, and it was in an air conditioned house!


In hind sight, I would have made a significantly smaller cake, kept it refrigerated until right before the wedding and had kitchen cakes standing by. 


I use IMBC and I've read that you can reduce the butter some to stand up to the heat, but I've never tried it. 

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Apti Posted 11 Jan 2013 , 10:22pm
post #16 of 24

  For Amy7373 and all other Aussie Cakers!

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Amy7373 Posted 15 Jan 2013 , 8:30am
post #17 of 24


Oh, Apti - the image seems to have dropped off. Can you repost it please!? I'd love to see it :)


Well, all went to plan. The cool change came through on Friday night and I was up at 7 to finish them both off. The fondant on both sweated a little but nothing like I experienced a couple of weeks back.


Thanks again sooo much for your help! Particularly happy with the 21st cake - here it is :)

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cazza1 Posted 15 Jan 2013 , 11:21am
post #18 of 24

Lovely, glad it all worked well.  I sweated through 36 degrees C with 76 percent humidity on Sunday and Monday whilst trying to ice bickies.  They looked good but the bickies went soft and by the next day half of the dry on wet techniques looked like they had been done wet on wet.  Royal icing would not set super hard.  Back to 30 today but up again at the end of the week.  I might just avoid cakes for a while.

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Marianna46 Posted 15 Jan 2013 , 4:53pm
post #19 of 24

Cazza1, I've often thought that I ought to turn decorating into a seasonal thing where I live, too! I'm just wondering why everyone doesn't just switch their birthdays, anniversaries and wedding plans to coincide with the November-February cool(ish) spell here.


Your cake and cupcakes are lovely, Amy7373! Very clean and crisp - none of that typical tropical melting down the sides look, hahaha.

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Apti Posted 15 Jan 2013 , 7:20pm
post #20 of 24

Great job, Amy!  Looks like it was prepared in June, not Dec/January. 


Don't know why the pic went away.  It was a graphic of the cold north wind blowing some cool air your way.

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Kimdarella Posted 15 Jan 2013 , 8:46pm
post #21 of 24

Nice Job Amy, they look fabulous, no visible sign of heat distress at all thumbs_up.gif

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Amy7373 Posted 16 Jan 2013 , 12:17am
post #22 of 24

Thanks for all your kind words, everyone! I've just received a beautiful e-mail from the birthday girl's mum and a $30 tip on top of the cake payment "because it was so awesome" so I'm guessing everyone was happy - phew!!!


Now I just have to see how the weather for the next few weekends is going to pan out. Wish us Aussies luck!!!


And Apti - I can see that picture in my mind. It's lovely ;)

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Apti Posted 16 Jan 2013 , 5:23pm
post #23 of 24


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lilmissbakesalot Posted 16 Jan 2013 , 7:46pm
post #24 of 24

Oh look at that!  It came out great! 

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