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Leaning birdcage of cake

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I made a birdcage cake for a shower I'm throwing for my friend tomorrow. I used buttercream (a recipe I thought was a crusting buttercream) instead of ganache, because I thought the dome top would be easier to smooth out. Well, I have all the decorations on my cake and it looks beautiful, except for the fact that it's now tilting to one side. I'm so bummed!! I always have bad luck when I try to work with buttercream! I don't know how anyone does a cake succesfully without a crusting buttercream, and even when it is a crusting it's still difficult. I don't want to put it in the fridge, because I just know that will make it worse. I'm just hoping I don't wake up in the morning and find my cake completely ruined. icon_cry.gif
post #2 of 18
Are there supports inside the cake?
Plank.
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Plank.
Reply
post #3 of 18
Do you have a picture? Maybe someone can give you some advice on how to correct the problem. icon_smile.gif
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
I did put a bubble straw in the cake but JUST remembered that I only put it through the round cakes, cut it, then set the dome on top. Ahh, stupid! I dont know what I was thinking. Why would I think I didn't need it through the whole cake?? Lesson learned I guess.
post #5 of 18
It is probably too late for this cake, but in the future I would say your leaning problem is because of your lack of support. There should be a series of dowels/straws around each layer with a cardboard (topped with the next tier) on top. The dowels and cardboard act like a table with the next tier sitting on top. This way each tier sits on the table, instead of pushing down on the next cake below it. If you only have one straw it will do little or nothing to support the upper tier. http://www.wilton.com/cakes/tiered-cakes/stacked-tiered-cake-construction.cfm This has a bit more info and pictures. The other purpose of a dowel is totally separate from the support and that is if you are transporting a stacked cake, some put one or two long dowels from the bottom cake board all the way through the top to help keep the layers together and not shifting during transport. Hope it survives til the party.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by aisrad

I did put a bubble straw in the cake but JUST remembered that I only put it through the round cakes, cut it, then set the dome on top. Ahh, stupid! I dont know what I was thinking. Why would I think I didn't need it through the whole cake?? Lesson learned I guess.



A straw thru a series of layers will do nothing to stabilize a cake.
A full length wooden dowel may help a stacked cake from moving from side-to-side (2 full length dowels are even better), but the info provided by denetteb is the correct way to stack and stabilize a cake.

Rae
I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
Reply
I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
Reply
post #7 of 18
........only put it through the round cakes, cut it, then set the dome on top......

A dome on top of other layers probably does not need support under it. You don't tell us much about what sizes/layers you used. For every 4" high one goes there needs to be support doweling before you go up any higher.
A birdcage design usually is at least 3 layers, sometimes 4 which means there should be doweling in the two 2" layers before any more is added.
I'm picturing the dome being a 1/2 ball cake or a 6" layer allowed to dome when baked. That should not need support under it as it should be very lightweight.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
My cake was made with 6" pans and I used 4 layers (two were really small), not including the dome. I'm confused about the proper way to support a cake though. Some people think it's necessary to use cake boards and some think dowels/straws are enough. I know if you go high enough or your cake is heavy enough, you'll want to use a cake board, but my cake wasn't that tall and I wasn't concernced about it sinking. I think what caused it to tilt, is that I put a large rose on the side of the dome, and if the bubble straw had gone through the dome, I think it would have kept it from shifting over. It did make it until the shower though and everyone loved it, and no one seemed to think it was as bad as I thought.
post #9 of 18
Well, dowels/straws do not "support" a cake unless they are under a board.

The general standard, as stated above, is a board every 4 vertical inches of cake with dowels/straws under that board for support.

A central dowel, or 2, can spike the cake to the decorative board and prevent slippage. It does not support in any way.

No one can every be faulted for "over-building", but they will be faulted for "under-building". Gravity is the enemy, even of small cakes.

Rae
I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
Reply
I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
Reply
post #10 of 18
With a properly supported cake, a large flower will not cause shifting. Do you have a picture to post so we could better see the lean?
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
I can't get it to upload a pic for me. It's too many pixels apparently. I really do appreciate your feedback though. In the future, I will make sure to properly support my cakes the way you've told me to. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me! icon_smile.gif
post #12 of 18
You seem to have ideas about your cake that the rest of us don't.

Chilling buttercream when crumb coating and stacking cakes is normal. The icing hardens up in the middle and keeps the cake straight. Non-crusting buttercream is not making any problem here.

The diameter of the cake doesn't make a difference--if you are stacking 4 cakes plus the dome, then you need dowels and at least a foil-covered cardboard every 4".

Please--you are reading too many things and you would do far better to take an adult education course in basic cake icing.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
I have taken all the Wilton classes, but there was a lot I didn't learn in the class and I don't live in an area where other classes are available. I figured at first it was my buttercream (which I did chill after putting on my cake), because my Wilton teacher actually told us never to use non crusting buttercreams, because you'd end up with all sorts of problems. So, when I started having issues, I immediately assumed it was because I didn't listen to her and use a crusting buttercream. I realize now with all the feedback I've been given, that my issue was a support issue. Unfortunately, the internet is the only place I can go to with cake questions and I appreciate people be willing to help me, even if the answer to my issue is quite obvious to most cake decorators.
post #14 of 18
Check out the youtube videos by seriouscakes and tonedna1. They both have a bunch of excellent videos and each of them have a good one on stacking which includes info on supporting your cake. One thing about caking, like with many other things, is that there is generally no absolute right or wrong. Your instructor didn't like non crusting buttercreams, others hate crusting buttercreams. It depends on personal choice, weather where you live, decorating style, luck, etc, etc. This applies to a lot of things including icing and cake recipes. Personally I love a crusting buttercream because of the methods to smooth it. Keep up the caking and learning!
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by aisrad

I have taken all the Wilton classes, but there was a lot I didn't learn in the class and I don't live in an area where other classes are available. I figured at first it was my buttercream (which I did chill after putting on my cake), because my Wilton teacher actually told us never to use non crusting buttercreams, because you'd end up with all sorts of problems. So, when I started having issues, I immediately assumed it was because I didn't listen to her and use a crusting buttercream. I realize now with all the feedback I've been given, that my issue was a support issue. Unfortunately, the internet is the only place I can go to with cake questions and I appreciate people be willing to help me, even if the answer to my issue is quite obvious to most cake decorators.



I'm really sorry that a Wilton certified teacher said this stuff. I didn't know how to word my question about your source.

The Wilton website has correct information about icings and supports.

I learned out of the 1970's Wilton books (no classes anywhere near where I lived then). You should pick up a few of the Celebrate hardbacks on ebay if you can find them for $10 plus shipping. They are goldmines. The patterns are all on the Wilton website ("pattern locator" on left side of homepage) another goldmine right there.

You can also check a local library for the Joy of Cooking if you don't have your own copy. Lots of good recipes and advice in there.

I buy used books from abebooks.com because they come to my front door--after I check out the "look inside" featuire on amazon. You can price shop.
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