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Dr Seuss- ABSOLUTE DISASTER

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

I just started doing stacked cakes. This would, actually, be my second. PLEASE help me figure out why this happened. This is my sister's 30th birthday cake...well, was. I stacked it and crumb coated last night, and chilled it overnight in the fridge. It held up beautifully. I took it out this morning and let it sit on the counter for about 5 or 6 hours, until the moisture had evaporated from it coming to room temp.

 

I applied the buttercream over the crumb coat, and thats where things started to slightly go south. It started to lean a bit. I figured maybe because of the height (10"), that because i was pushing too hard one one side during icing, i had caused it to slip a little. I admit, I am guilty of trying to "push" it back into place when it started looking lopsided.

 

This is my construction- stacked a filled 3" tall, 6" round, and a 2" tall, 6" round, then doweled with five regular drinking straws. Put one last 3" tall, 6" round filled tier with a cake board underneath on top of that, then crumb coated. This is a betty crocker french vanilla cake mix, with crisco buttercream filling and icing (my sister's fav...not mine!)

 

I feel so disheartened, and feel like I should just give up the layer cakes and try to stick with cookies and sheet cakes. This is my sister's cake, so i was using the opportunity to try something new. I sent my husband to the store for bubble tea straws, which I read on these forums are much better for stacking.

 

What do I do?

 

starting to really go!

 

After checking the freezer, and just HAVING to laugh at this awfulness...

 

post #2 of 43

Maybe not enough straws? I use wooden dowels to stack so I'm not sure.  looks like it just couldn't be supported by the straws underneath.

post #3 of 43

Were the cakes all level... I have taken up using a construction level for the cakes that i have been doing recently. I am really by no means an expert yet but if it is off even a little this could make it tip.


Edited by Izzy Sweet - 1/25/13 at 5:12pm
post #4 of 43

Was it straight or topsy turvy to begin with?  A center dowel (or two) may have prevented the tiers from sliding apart from one another.

post #5 of 43

I would say maybe the straws weren't all cut to the same length, or not inserted completely straight so they started to tilt??  Also, I never let the cake warm up before icing.  Much easier to ice when the cake & crumbcoat are firm.  Also, for one that tall and narrow, I would have put a center dowel all the way thru.

 

It's a shame, it would have been a very cute cake!

Jen
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Jen
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post #6 of 43

what jen & izzy said--did you put the straws into the cake and cut them the height of the top of the cake?

 

or did you

 

  • put one straw in

 

  • mark it

 

  • take it out

 

  • cut all straws that same length

 

except for the obvious it was so well done

 

since you've laughed about it do you mind me saying that

 

that is one spectacular demise--y'know usually it's just a little too wonky  or something --

 

you got that allllll outa your system in one fell swoop

 

now it's alll it's gonna be smooth sailing!!!!

 

<high five> (((big hug)))

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

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if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply
post #7 of 43
Maybe dowels would have been better icon_sad.gif I feel your pain I've had this happen too and looked into dowelling for such cakes , best of luck and remember - don't give up just learn and have fun xx
mummy to 5 kiddies and an other half- self taught cake decorator and keen enthuaist - "everyday children learn so why as adults we forget we also learn from them and everyone around us - never forget were all children at heart"
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mummy to 5 kiddies and an other half- self taught cake decorator and keen enthuaist - "everyday children learn so why as adults we forget we also learn from them and everyone around us - never forget were all children at heart"
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post #8 of 43
Thread Starter 
I put the straws in the cake, and then cut them one by one. What is the correct method? I am about to try a do over with bubble/milkshake straws. They are HUGE! The bag actually says "extra strong".... Made me wonder if people who are buying straws really need them to be "extra strong". Haha...

Anyway, I decided that my another factor to consider was the density of my cake. I have read great things about the WASC cake extender recipe, and I just baked up the cakes and they seem much denser, which I like.

I don't have the ability tonight to dowel straight through the center, as my stores are closed! I'm hoping it will be okay. I am going to ice the cake up and down, instead of around and around, on my turntable. I think that will help to prevent things shifting.

OH! I left out the BIG mistake that I believe did me in completely... I decorated the entire cake on the turntable, and then moved the cake (it was sitting on a small cake circle). When I moved it onto the fondant covered cake board, the back was totally caved in, and the lean was immediately worse...

Okay, so my big question again is what is the correct way to cut the straws??
post #9 of 43
I always use the dowels. I put one in a measure it, then use it as my guide to measure the rest.
post #10 of 43

You made a very common mistake, that I have even seen "big time" celebrity decorators do on TV.  You do not put the straws in, then cut them off even with the cake.  Cakes are not ever going to be completely level.  Therefore, the straws/dowels need to be cut to the same length *as each other* so that they will provide a completely level surface for the next tier to sit on.  You need to follow the method K8 described, put one straw in, mark it just even with the surface of the cake, and remove & cut.  THen cut all other supports to the exact length as the first straw.  Line them all up next to each other and double check that they are the same length and cut flat.  Then, insert into the cake, making sure they go in straight.  It is better to use an odd number rather than an even number.  There is a reason, but I'm not good at explaining it, but it's the same way a 3-legged stool doesn't rock, but a 4-legged one can.

 

I have almost always used straws (unless supporting larger than 12" tier) and have never had a problem.

Jen
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Jen
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post #11 of 43
Thread Starter 

Jen,

 

Thanks so much for that how-to. I am about to stack this bad boy, and I will update you guys on my *HOPEFULLY* success in stacking. Off to the kitchen...
 

post #12 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smash Cakery View Post

I don't have the ability tonight to dowel straight through the center, as my stores are closed!

Do you have bamboo skewers? You could tap them in strategically as far as they'll go.

post #13 of 43
Thread Starter 

Alright, I can't thank everyone enough for their help tonight in troubleshooting my award winning catastrophe! Ha...

 

I rebaked the cakes, the bottom "tier" is french vanilla WASC cake, a 3" deep, and 2" deep six inch round. The top "tier" is a 3" inch deep chocolate WASC. The WASC recipe produced a cake that is MUCH more dense and sturdy than my previous go-to recipe. The previous recipe was super moist, but tempermental and fell apart a lot.

 

I used SIX bubble straws, just to be sure. I arranged them in a circle that was perfect for the cake round on top. I did the insert, mark, take out, cut, and use as a guideline method. I was very careful to make sure they were exactly the right height, all six of them.

 

I inserted them, and the cake board ended up sitting maybe a centimeter above the icing, after all was said and done. I used a level (iPhone app), and it was perfectly level. Praise GOD. haha. I filled in the gap between tiers, and covered in fondant! It's so sturdy!

 

Had a scary moment when I moved the cake board onto the larger drum, but nothing happened, no shifting at all. I did not center dowel the cake at all, because for the life of me, I couldn't find a THING in my house to stick in there, that would be remotely long enough. This cake stands about 12" tall, maybe 13"? It's about 2-3 inches higher than the disaster cake! And 100X as sturdy!!! YAY!!!

 

I couldn't be prouder of the cake. I've made the decision not to refrigerate the cake, due to the painting on the fondant. I don't want to play with fire. I'll experiment with that later.

 

It turns out, we are going out to dinner tomorrow for her party....!!!. Any tips for the drive to the restaurant? I'm so nervous.

 

post #14 of 43
Quote:

 and then moved the cake (it was sitting on a small cake circle). When I moved it onto the fondant covered cake board, the back was totally caved in, and the lean was immediately worse...
 

 

I think that this was a huge contributor to your problem. From what I understand cake cirlcles are a thin cardboard, right? I think you cake was too heavy for that circle and when you moved it the cake buckeled and the staws sifted.

post #15 of 43
Beautiful job on the remake. And kudos to you for taking the advice offered in the right spirit! The results peak for themselves!

Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

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Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

Reply
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