Help! What Am I Doing Wrong?

Decorating By flyingpinkpixie Updated 18 Jan 2015 , 7:33pm by CWR41

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flyingpinkpixie Posted 17 Jan 2015 , 4:43pm
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I've been away from cakes for over a year. I had a coworker who wanted me to make a cake for her daughter's birthday. I'm no professional at the cake thing. I deliver the cake today. I'm afraid it is going to fall over in the car. My questions are: 1- how do I prevent the bulge in the middle of the cakes? 2- what technique do you recommend for fillings? She wanted raspberry jam as filler. It was everywhere! Ugh! 3 - is there a way to put a dowel all the way through even when using cardboard base?

11 replies
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MnSnow Posted 17 Jan 2015 , 4:52pm
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The photos look to me like inadequate support was used causing too much weight and pressure to push down on the bottom tier.

If your filling was everywhere, you either neglected to put a dam in or used way to much filling.

Cute cake :)

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remnant3333 Posted 17 Jan 2015 , 5:15pm
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Make sure you put a damn of buttercream in-between cake layers before putting the filling.  Also, before putting buttercream around outside and top, put something heavy on cake to make sure all air is out of cake once you have filling in-between layers. Some put a small tile and let it sit for about an hour to squish out any excess air that might be in there. Then frost your cake. Also as mnsnow said, make sure you put adequate support underneath the top layer on bottom cake layer. 


Keep your faith. I am sure you will get back into the groove!!! I have had my cakes do this in the past before. I have not had any problems since I let cake sit for about one hour with tile on top and put the damn around filling.

Good luck!! I am sure your next cake will probably be great!!! Your cake is cute!!

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flyingpinkpixie Posted 17 Jan 2015 , 5:29pm
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AThanks, I did use some supports. I thought I had a dam. Should I let the dam set before I add the filling?

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flyingpinkpixie Posted 17 Jan 2015 , 5:50pm
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AI'm thinking I need to use a different dowel set up. Pretty sure I didn't cut them evenly, because they are hard to cut, that's why it's leaning. After reading on here, looks like I should get some bubble tea straws.

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canacake Posted 17 Jan 2015 , 11:15pm
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AMmmmmm, yes I would say a support issue more so than the filling but it could have been both. I use the bubble tea straws, the Chinese grocery store across from my office carries them for 1$ for a huge package. The wooden dowels seem like a pain in the butt to me compaired with the straws for a little cake like yours.

I think I did this cake with 5 or 7 straws, it looks like a similarly sized cake, it was not going anywhere, it was very sturdy.

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BeesKnees578 Posted 18 Jan 2015 , 1:20am
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Too much filling will cause a bulge, as well as the way it's filled (dam or no dam).  I personally rarely have need for a dam and keep my fillings primarily flavored buttercreams with preserves and such smeared thinly on the cake layers to enhance the flavored buttercream.  But if I have something like a cassata, of course a dam is used.


Use a 1/4" dowel that is sharpened to a nice point on one end and gently hammer it thru all of your cardboard rounds until you hit the table.  My method is to  hot glue 4 rounds together (for a 2 tier cake) and use that as the base.  I use the plastic corrugated rounds from hobby lobby for my separator plates so they don't absorb moisture and make the board flexible.  It sounds like you have some cake experiments, so forgive me for suggesting to make sure you have a board under all tiers, even if they are small. 


And refrigeration also helps keep that buttercream firm so that it won't jiggle around during transport.



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ellavanilla Posted 18 Jan 2015 , 1:55am
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that was a support issue. even if the bottom cake fell apart the top cake should still be standing because it's supporting itself with vertical and horizontal supports. 


what support system did you use?

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MnSnow Posted 18 Jan 2015 , 4:20am
post #9 of 12

Please get rid of the dowels! Use the SPS System by Bakery Craft. SPS= Single Plating System. You will NEVER have another support issue using these!!!

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leah_s Posted 18 Jan 2015 , 4:26am
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AA center dowel would not have helped your cake. Please try SPS.

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costumeczar Posted 18 Jan 2015 , 5:42pm
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I only use wooden dowels but Leah's right about a center dowel not being any help. It looks like the dowels in the bottom tier weren't level. I don't think it was a support issue so much as a jam issue, since the top tier is also bulging.


The bigger issue was probably the raspberry jam as the filling. I don't use a dam ever, because if you're using a flavored buttercream as a filling it's not necessary, and if you use a jam as a filling it encourages people to put way too much into it. If I do a jam or preserve filling I torte the cake and do three thin layers of jam. What it looks like to me is that you did a large buttercream dam, then filled the cake with a bunch of jam as deep as the dam, then put the top layer on. If you do that the middle filling is going to be so slippery you'll get that sliding and compressing of the layers that you did. It looks like the layers of the cake shifted, and that's why you're getting the bulging in the center and the sliding of the top tier.


So my guess is that regardless of the support system you used, you would have had the bulging because there was too much jam filling in the center. If you torte the layers you can put a layer of jam on without worrying about there being too much, and it won't end up shifting and running all over.

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CWR41 Posted 18 Jan 2015 , 7:33pm
post #12 of 12

SPS=Single Plate Separator

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