Cake Settling. What Is It?

Decorating By kparks2 Updated 26 Apr 2014 , 6:05pm by howsweet

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kparks2 Posted 25 Apr 2014 , 11:07pm
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I have looked at various threads for this answer and google and I keep getting people just asking what did they do wrong and it talks about settling and I do see tips how to.  What I want to know is what is settling exactly and what is the purpose of it?  I made a grooms cake this past weekend, baked the cake the day of, cooled, leveled, torted and decorated and nothing happened.  Can someone explain bc I seriously cannot find an answer for it and a friend of mine that is a professional pastry chef had never heard of it either.

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CWR41 Posted 26 Apr 2014 , 1:52am
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Here's one member's explanation:

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kparks2 Posted 26 Apr 2014 , 4:19pm
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ATorthank you I did see this post when I did a search but is really did not answer my question it just says that it avoids bulging in that cake but I do not see how just making a two layer cake have bulging and from what I see and some of the other host is that some people just did not do the damn thing they put their filling in I guess my question was more what exactly is settling and why is it necessary because some people say they don't do it some people say they do it but I would kind of like some reason behind exactly what's that link is not how to do it but thank you I do appreciate it. sorry I am doing speak and text so if some of this sounds odd my apologies but it won't let me edit any words

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johnson6ofus Posted 26 Apr 2014 , 4:47pm
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Settling is the release of air or liquids caused by pressure/weight and a sign of instability.


A cake is a "structure" so you need to know your materials before you "build". If you use a dense, pound cake, pudding added recipe... you make not "settle" because you don't have excess air, and it supports the weight of the fondant and decorations. Another baker, with a lighter cake, and more force on top (decorations, thicker fondant application, etc.) could have settling, even making the same design.


Worse, settling often indicates a break down of materials (cake), so you need to worry about the cake itself (reads crumbling/ sliding/ falling apart).

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kparks2 Posted 26 Apr 2014 , 4:49pm
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Ajhhhhhhhh ok that explains it.  That was great and thorough explanation I appreciate it.  If just doing a simple2 layer cake I would not think it is needed but more so for tiering cakes no?  Not sure i like the tile method but any other suggestions?

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johnson6ofus Posted 26 Apr 2014 , 5:02pm
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You really just need to try it because it depends on your recipe, climate, fillings, etc.


The "dryer" and "denser" the cake, the less settling you should have. Of course, I am also assuming that the cake is baked properly (not under cooked). 


I live in Texas, so I adapt to excess heat often, but rarely have a settling issue because I use a doctored cake mix with pudding so I get a dense cake.


Yes, with a standard 2 layer cake, you should not have an issue, unless you are trying to get a 2 pound topper on it, or you use really THICK fondant. 

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howsweet Posted 26 Apr 2014 , 6:03pm
post #7 of 7

ASettling is usually because as the weight of the cake pushes the icing down, it will bulge out. Usually it's ever so slight. I let my cakes sit out 5 hours and pop them into the frig. Then the next day I scrape the bulge with a large plastic bowl scraper.

The thicker, less soft, the icing, the less bulge. (or none at all)

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