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Earthquake Cake - How Did This Happen??

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
My Wilton Course II Finale Cake came out lovely (I thought).. but then it developed some spiderline cracks in the frosting. I'm so glad I had brought my camera to school because I did get some before pictures. When I got home, the cake was split down the middle like a giant earthquake had hit it! A few minutes later it split again into thirds. So disappointing. A masterpiece suddenly ruined! I mean it's hard enough that our artwork gets eaten so quickly, but to have it fall apart like that is really rough!

The teacher told me in class that the reason the frosting was cracking was because I had not leveled the cake. Is this correct? See, she had insisted we do that and when I kept asking why she couldn't give me a good reason. I had pressed both layers with the pan of the other in the fridge for hours - and reversed which layer was on top. They didn't seem rounded enough to me to need levelling. Both layers stuck to the pan and were very damp. They'd been covered with foil overnight in the fridge. Any idea why they were so damp? More importantly, why would they crack so horribly like this?

Here are before and after pictures -

Thanks for any assistance in figuring out this mystery. I don't want this to happen again!

Best,
~AngelWendy
LL
LL
post #2 of 23
Hi Wendy,
I'll be interested to see what others say about this to because the same thing happened to me on a cake I did a while back. SO maddening! Yours looks very good though- pre crater!
KimAZ
I competed on Ultimate Cake Off- Monster Jam!
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I competed on Ultimate Cake Off- Monster Jam!
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post #3 of 23
I'm a newbie myself, and certainly no expert, but if you didn't level the cake, and it was even slightly rounded and then you put all those beautiful flowers on each side, maybe it was just gravity!

The cake was beautiful! I know you were very upset when it cracked, but at least you have the pictures and the knowledge that you did a great job!
Janice
post #4 of 23
Never the less...the cake is and was very pretty. I hardly ever...ever level my cakes this hasnt happened to me. Maybe it was just that the cake was too moist??? I dunno wish I could help you.... honestly I dont think it was you.... The cake is great!
post #5 of 23
At frist i thought it could be your board, and that still might be it. Did you pick the cake up by the board without the carrier? Is that a single board underneith? It doesn't look strong enough to me. That added to not leveling your cake would do it to you. Did you place the rounded side down?? If you had tops down or tops together, the weight of the cake and the weakness of the board would contribute to your crater.

But don't worry, take this as a learning experience so that it doesn't happen again. I do think it has happened to most of us at one time or another. I know i've been there done that!
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
I didn't remember, but after cutting into it, it looks to me like both tops were up.

Double cardboard. That's been enough for a double layer 9" round cake before. Yes, I had to move it from the counter to the table for the teacher to take pictures and back again.

I guess it could be too moist, but it's not undercooked at all.

Hrm..

~AngelWendy
post #7 of 23
The only thing I can think of is that you put the cakes in the fridge, hence the moisitness. Not leveling your cakes may have added to the damage. This is just a guess.
I never refrigerate my baked, undecorated cakes. I just leave them out, but covered either by a cake dome or on my baker's rack which has a zippered, plastic cover.
post #8 of 23
My first idea was that it was too heavy for your cake board as well. If you picked it up and put a hand only underneath in the niddle, it would cause it to push up and crack down the middle like it looks like it did. In your before shot, I see a small crack in the icing already (barely noticeable but it is there) and right where it cracked. If the bottom cake wasn't level or leveld with icing then placing the other cake on top may have caused it to dome up and cause the crack as well. I have very mosit cakes sometimes that break when I try to put them together but if leveled, once iced you could never tell that it was pieced back together.

Beautiful job on the cake BTW thumbs_up.gif
post #9 of 23
I agree with sgirvan & your teacher. You always have to have a leveled cake especially when stacking. And if you picked the cake up & the boards weren't strong enough the cake will bend just like it did. I have a cake in my photo's that cracked too. It was too late to make another one so I just used it anyway. I didn't have the boards thick enough & the cake bent!! That's what caused that for me. It's either that the cake wasn't level or the boards weren't thick enough for the weight of the cake.

About your cake... it is very pretty!!!!! I'm so glad you took a pic of it before it cracked all the way!!
Great job!!
~TC~
"Learn from a turtle... it only makes progress when it sticks it's neck out"
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"Learn from a turtle... it only makes progress when it sticks it's neck out"
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post #10 of 23
Hi. So sad about your cake. But It really looked lovely.
I always level my cakes in every case. And I think it is more important when I have a hight cake. It could be an combination with that and your thin board. Anyway good luck with your next.
post #11 of 23
didn't read through all the responses, so forgive me if I'm repeating something.

I think it's because you're cakes weren't level
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Just want to say thank you for the compliments and the support about the self-destructing cake.

I am pretty sure the problem was caused because I didn't level the bottom layer and because I used icing to level the mdidle. When the basketweave was done it was heavy and pulled the sides down and since it wasn't flat underneath it had to crack to compensate. Make sure you level the bottom layer if you are doing basketweave! icon_smile.gif

Thanks again!

~AngelWendy
post #13 of 23
definately have to take this into consideration.. sounds like good advice!!!
post #14 of 23
I've only had one cake crack and it was the puppy dog cake I did. The head started coming away from the rest of the body, I think it was my board and it happened in transition to the buyers house!!! I left it and told the buyer about it so that she would be careful. Fortunately, you couldn't tell when the cake was flat on her counter!!!! YIKES! Amen, though, your cake was beautiful!!!
LL
Praise be to God!
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Praise be to God!
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post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Awww! Cute doggie, though! I think that might be because the board under the dog cake was too small, too. icon_sad.gif

Hugs,
Angel
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