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Posts by MsGF

The meringue powder will stabilize the icing.  If you are using 1/2 Cup shortening & 1/2 cup butter, try using the meringue powder and 3/4 cup shortening and 1/4 cup butter.  It will hold better in the humidity.  I have central A/C too and I still need to make adjustments in the hot humid weather.   Good luck.  It is the butter in the icing that is melting first.  So use less until the weather cools down.  That is what I do.
This happens in heat and humidity.   In this weather I don't add water/milk to my buttercream.  I make what is considered stiff consistency, but in this weather it isn't stiff, It's just right.   I just made cream cheese icing and added no milk.  It's humid here today.   What kind of buttercream did you make?  Crusting (with or without butter) or SMBC/IMBC? 
Here it is:   http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2012/09/free-cake-decorating-tip-how-to-make-perfect-cake-stripes/
On the Craftsy site, one of the decorators uses Scotch Tape on her fondant covered cake before painting it to get her design.  I think it was Collette Peters, not positive though.  There is a free video of her using this technique floating around.  If I have time I will try to find it.  But I'm sure others have seen it too.
I think it was taped off and airbrushed.  Same as the stripes.   I don't believe it is gold leaf because it it too smooth and perfect looking.  Also the first and second tiers also contain the same colour and consistency of gold.   Definitely airbrushed. 
Your post says you crumb coated with caramel bc.  When you use ganache you don't crumb coat with bc.  You just use the ganache to crumb coat and ice.  And with a soft filling you need a good dam inside to hold it in.   This test cake will still be yummy.
Dogwood blossoms only have 4 petals.  Google image magnolia flower.
The are magnolias.     Very pretty cake.
I had that happen a couple times when I let the cake cool too long in the pan.   So if you are cooling the cakes in their pans, try cooling them on a rack out of the pan.   I figured it was moisture build up from sitting in the pans to cool. So now I always turn them out immediately onto a rack.  Hasn't happened since.   Good luck figuring it out.
I have this flower nail.     Second row Flower Nail Ateco #10   http://kitchenware.goldaskitchen.com/search?p=Q&srid=S2-USWSD01&lbc=goldaskitchen&ts=custom&w=flower%20nail&uid=92442117&method=and&isort=score&view=grid&srt=0   It can be used in a similar fashion and you can make little cones out of wafer paper.  The edges will stick together with a very tiny bit of water.  I think that is what they are using in the video, but maybe they purchase theirs ready made....
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