Sugar Sheets Bubbles On The Side Of Cake

Decorating By ericapraga Updated 16 Jul 2014 , 5:28am by kareneB

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ericapraga Posted 28 Jun 2013 , 12:52pm
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I made a 2 tier cake with zebra striped sugar sheets wrapped around the sides. The all-shortening buttercream was freshly spread and "tacky", so the sheets stuck right to it. I pressed as well as I could, however it is super hot and humid right now, so there were some ink issues, but it appeared to be well stuck to the side of the cake. I let it sit for a while (approx 30 min) at room temp so the sugar sheet could melt into the side and then replaced into the fridge.

Now, when I remove it from the fridge, there are air bubbles everywhere!!!!! I cannot get them to stick down, as the cake has crusted under the air bubbles. I have even tried letting the cake warm up, but all that does is cause the ink to get sticky, not the buttercream.


Any suggestion as to how to avoid this in the future? This cake is a lost cause, as it has to go out tonight, and it is not super noticeable (except to me, of course!), but I would like to avoid this again.

Before the air bubbles, it actually looked rather nice, good clean color and design, easy to apply (I thought!).

9 replies
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stephdover4 Posted 28 Jun 2013 , 1:52pm
post #2 of 10

I can't speak to how to avoid it but can you use a straight pin to pop the air bubbles?

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640Cake Posted 28 Jun 2013 , 2:44pm
post #3 of 10

Hello :)  I'm a newbie to CC, so I will do my best to explain how I do it :)


When I work with Sugar Sheets or Edible Images, I allow the buttercream to crust over before applying the image.  I make sure the cake is firm - either a long sit in the fridge or a small visit to the freezer - before applying.  The cake has to be firm because when you apply the image, you will want to press as well you can (without harming the image) in order to eliminate bubbles, and obviously, you cannot press on a "soft" cake. I think of the Sugar Sheets and Edible Images as stickers.  When applying a sticker, you start in one corner and press as you go, smoothing it to the surface.  With the Sugar Sheets, I wet the back with water and then apply one corner.  You can use a fondant smoother or just use your other hand.  Adhere one corner or side to the cake.  With one hand, hold the non-applied end away from the cake, while slowly smoothing down the portion by the corner that is adhered.  Start with the adhered corner and work your way out, smoothing as you go - either by hand or with the fondant smoother.  Once that is done, I will stick the cake in the fridge for a few minutes, so it can harden back up.  Once it is firm again, I will press on the Sugar Sheets again to make sure they are truly stuck to the cake :)  I will wet any edges that are not "glued" to the cake and try to stick them back onto the cake.  Once the Sheets are fully applied, I will let it rest for a bit at room temp and let the cake sweat a bit.  Doesn't take long.  This will bring out those air bubbles (hopefully minimal).  I always have a few air bubbles, but usually they are not too noticeable, so I don't mess with them.  For the ones that are noticeable (which, I guess they ALL are noticeable to US, the bakers!) I take a small pin (straight pin) and I will pop the air bubble and smooth it out - just like you would for air bubbles in fondant. Just a small poke and then you should be able to smooth out the air bubble without wrinkling it. HTH :)


By the way, if Sugar Sheets are all you've worked with, you should try the Edible Image Paper - Icing Sheets (like Lucks brand Icing Sheets).  I like Wilton's Sugar Sheets as they are readily available, should you need them on short notice, but the Icing Sheets for the Edible Image printers are MUCH nicer and easier to work with!  I find that the Sugar Sheets are dry and tend to be a bit more brittle than

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auntginn Posted 28 Jun 2013 , 2:55pm
post #4 of 10

Hello 640 and welcome to CC.  Wow!  that is great information you just shared.  I have been working with frosting sheets for many years and never thought of applying tthem in that way.  Thank you for sharing.

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ericapraga Posted 28 Jun 2013 , 5:31pm
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640, thank you so much for the great info!!! I actually did have the Edible images designs, but between a miscalculation and a little issue with getting them off that ripped one, I had to do the sugar sheets. I like the edible images better, it seems like they would melt into the cake more so and the ink did not start to moisten as quickly.


I actually followed most of your advice to begin with! :)

The biggest issue was that in the 1-2 minutes it took to get the sheet out of the bag, cut to size and peeled off, it had already started to get too moist, hence the ink smudge issue.


My cake was crumb coated and had a layer of super smooth buttercream, so I just added a thin layer of fresh buttercream to get the tackiness, and then did the starting at a corner. I used my edge smoother to help me transfer the sheet to the side of the cake, so that my hot hands did not melt it any faster, and that helped a bit.


When I put the cake back in the fridge, it was for longer than a few minutes, so next time I will try that. Just to let the image stop melting so I can press on it more.

I will give the needle trick a try, and see if that helps, although I am one of those who fiddle and fiddle with something and usually it ends up the same or worse than if I had just left it alone! That is why the red line at the top is not straight on the side of the cake. :( I was fiddling and fiddling and the cake got too hot and a chunk came off the top of the bottom tier. I had to fix that, and then try to get the top tier on straight again. Close enough!!!! Not my best work, but still better than a grocery store cake!

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640Cake Posted 28 Jun 2013 , 6:32pm
post #6 of 10

Thanks for the welcome :)   I've been lurking CC for some time now and finally joined!  And I thought I could contribute my two cents!


Nice cake, erica!  I do see a couple of air bubbles in the pic, but honestly, you are correct - barely noticeable!  And I hate when I attempt to fix something, only to mess it up worse than it frustrating!  My hubby is always yelling at me to "stop picking at it!"


Just my opinion, but I think it's the brand that is the issue.  Wilton's Sugar Sheets are not as easy to cover an entire cake as they tend to be more brittle than the Premium Icing Sheets.  You can't bend them as much as the Premium ones.  You can roll a Premium sheet up and it will be fine, where as a Sugar Sheet would snap/break.  I think that aspect is what causes air bubbles, no matter what precautions you take.

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auntginn Posted 28 Jun 2013 , 8:01pm
post #7 of 10

Nice cake Erica

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ericapraga Posted 29 Jun 2013 , 2:29am
post #8 of 10

Thanks guys! I have yet to reach a point where I love everything going out my door, but maybe someday!


I agree with the Sugar sheet info, about it being easily cracked. I could see where it would fall apart. This was a desperation move, born of high humidity, moist Edible images and air bubbles!!!!


I also realized I forgot to take a picture of it with the "30" on top. It was done in red fondant.

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Sugar Buzz Posted 5 Aug 2013 , 4:28pm
post #9 of 10

AI was told by the Fotoart folks that putting them in the fridge causes condensation between cake and icing sheet causing bubbles. After that, I did not put them in the refrigerator and the sheet remained perfect. I also recently purchased an edible image from the grocery store, it was completely sticking to the backing and would never have been removed in one piece had I not placed it in the freezer for a minute. The image then peeled easily from the backing.

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kareneB Posted 16 Jul 2014 , 5:28am
post #10 of 10

AHello I used sugar sheets for the first time today on a 3 tier cake and it was a disaster. It stuck at first, not anymore. I don't like the way the cake.looks. is there a way to remove it and still salvage the cake. Or maybe reaply a new sheet? Thanks

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