I wanted some advice on when to dowel a simple 3 layer 8" round cake, or any cake for that matter. In the past, I've heard you dont need to dowel any cake that doesnt have tiers, unless its something like a double barrel cake or the like. Yesterday, I made a layer 3 layer, 8" round cake. Nothing fancy just simple chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream between layers and on the outside. Topped with a ganache drip and a few chocolate shards. A few hours later I noticed that the cake had begun to kind of bulge near the bottom and was just not looking to "straight". Also, the ganache drip had started to form what looked like wrinkly skin.
Bulging in a 3 layer 8" round cake has happened to me before once when I used chocolate ganache and buttercream on a cake, so I had assumed that it was too heavy and was the reason for bulging. I didnt expect it yesterday and was surprised to see it happen on this cake too. As for the wrinkly ganache, did I let it set for too long before doing the drip? It was smooth upon application but about an hour later started to wrinkly and didnt look nice in pictures taken later.
Any suggestions? Would doweling this type of cake help? Did I mess up my white chocolate/cream ratio in my ganache?
Dowelling supports the weight of what ever item is put on top, be it more cake or a heavy topper. it will not prevent the coating on the outside of a cake from sagging. That said, and I am not an expert, it seems maybe your buttercream softened more when the ganache was poured over. I don't think the weight of the ganache was the problem as much as the softness of the buttercream.
This sounds as though your cake was not refrigerated and the problems stem more from warmth than lack of support. That being said, I have put straws in my one layer cakes if they are very soft.
It sounds to me like the cake layers are 1) not level &/or 2) not baked enough. If not baked enough, the sides/walls will collaps the cake of it's own weight. If not level whatever is on top will not stay in place. As another poster said, if the b'crem was too soft, then warm ganache poured over it would cause wrinkling as you describe. Both Sandra & gscout are right on w/their suggestions. Unless it is extreemly hot in your home refrig'ing the cake is not necessary for it to stay/hold up. It will not hurt a cake but not necessary:) One should never need straws in a 2 or 3 layer cake - especially an 8"er. Again it never hurts but should not be necessary it really only give you peace:)
Thanks for your responses everyone. It occurred to me after that maybe I should have let the cake layers come to room temperature before icing them, rather than icing the frozen layers. I guess next time I will wait for them to come to room temp, ice between layers, let settle and then apply the outer coat of buttercream