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Solution For Cake Bulging Between Layers

The Reasons Your Cake Is Bulging: Cakes develope bulges when they have been iced BEFORE they have a chance to settle. Gravity says outer edges ARE going to settle down some....even when you DO have the layers perfectly level. If there is a bulge, the outer edges of the cake won't stand up in mid air. It is going to settle down some. So give time for this to happen before you ice the cakes.  Even push tiny cake scraps in between if there are large gaps. I don't usually have gaps because I bake at 325 deg. and so my cakes don't puff up so much in the center. Then to get rid of the hump, I lay a kitchen towel on top just as soon as I remove it from the oven and gently press the layers flat. (This needs to be done within the first minute upon removing from oven). Oh - the towel thing won't work if you over bake the cake...it will just spring back up, besides it is going to be dry and tasteless...so DON'T over bake. Test the cake by pressing your finger gently in the center. If it springs back up - its done...Take it out. At times you may still have a slight hump on the outer edge that can cause a bulge. Then I shave that part off with a serated-edged knife. Procedure to follow: Bake layers, cool well. Fill or put icing between...PLENTY of icing too. (medium consistency is fine).
  • Let the cakes set several hours or overnight before icing them.
  • Oh yes - always bottoms UP on those layers will help with this problem too. There are always going to be bulge problems if you insist on putting bottoms together. There is no 'breathing' room with this procedure. Besides, it is a lot easier to ice the flat bottom of a cake than one you have had to shave flat.
IF YOU ARE WORKING WITH A FROZEN CAKE: Do not try to put the layers together while frozen. You should bake, cool, fill between layers and put them together THEN freeze so this won't happen. Your cake should again be at room temperature before unwrapping it. When you remove cakes to thaw, you should leave them wrapped untill they are back to room temperature. For a simple 8-10" cake, 12 hours to overnight will be sufficient thawing time. (I have hurried this with small cakes by defrosting them in the microwave too). But if you were to freeze a large wedding cake it may take longer. I found that a 16 inch 2-layer wedding cake needed almost 2 days with using the 2-plate system for a wedding cake. WARNING: NEVER unwrap a frozen cake until after it has returned to room temperature or it may sweat. This is moisture leaving the cake. Also, freezing tends to dry out the icing. It is far better to freeze a bare or crumb-coated cake than a fully iced and decorated one. Sometimes the icing may fall from the cake once thawed, even a crumb-coating. It will be crusty and dry if this happens.

Comments (30)

Wow. Well, ya learn something new every day! Thank you for sharing. I 've done cakes for a while but still didn't know a lot of what you've explained.
Thanks so much for this info. It looks like it will really help some of my issues as I am new at trying cake decorating.
Ok, this was very helpful. What is your opinion on this?: I fill and crumb coat cakes that have been refrigerated, then I chill again to set, and while they are chilling the icing gets dry and crusty. Then to put fondant on, I spritz them with water so the fondant will stick. I'm thinking maybe I didn't spritz enough water, because I still had a large bubble or two develop in the fondant? What am I doing wrong??
I use the old fashioned apricot or infact raspberry jam in between the butter cream and fondant layers. seems to work well. and you don't see the raspberry seed lumps at all.
I have found that when I iced my cakes sides first (with icing tip) and then top I had bulges all the time. Now that I don't use the icing tip and ice with spatula top of the cake first then sides I never have a bulge. I think it is because no air gets trapped this way as I am pushing air out to side when icing the top then pushing air down when icing the sides. Hope this helps. Not saying it is right but it is what works for me.
Thanks for the help. I am also new to cake decorating.
When we work with frozen cakes, we take them out of the freezer and instantly crumb coat and fill them. We start icing the top first and then the sides - like someone else said, it helps to "push the air out". We then set them in a room with a dehumidifier to sweat it out. The buttercream traps all but the excess moisture, so you always have a nice moist cake. Then the next day we do the final buttercream coat/fondant whichever we are working with. We can't use this with sculpted cakes though, they'll settle too much. We tried a sphere and it looked a little more like a deflated beach ball!
I still have a problem with bulges (not me, my cakes LOL) I baked one day, put in fridge, the next day torted, filled and crumb coated, back in fridge overnite (looked good at this point) took out of fridge and covered with fondant, then they came back! All my work, and looks messy! Any help?
I still a newbee to baking and cake decorating. This is very helpful! Thanks for sharing!
I believe Fosterscreations may have the answer. I'm gonna try starting from the top on the wedding cake I have this weekend. Thanks!!
I am having the "bulge" problem too. The cake looked fine and then after about 10 - 12 hours the middle of one side of the cake started to bulge and then slowly started to slide downward.....right on the front of the cake. I took a small pin and tried to pop the icing and allow the air to escape but that did not help. I never frost frozen cakes and always frost top sides up so I am still puzzled by the cause. I thought maybe it had something to do with the icing?? I use a Buttercream recipe. I will try frosting the top first and see if that helps. Does anyone else have a solution? -
I thought 'bulging' had to do with the filling being squished down by the weight of the top layer and mushing out the sides, and pushing the layer of bc on the sides out ward.. but it has something to do with air too?? I'm kind of confused..
hi! I baked a cake, torted it so I had three layers. Then I filled he layers with Whipped Cream Buttercream icing. Since I didn't have a ceramic tile the size of my cake, I layed parchment paper on the top of the cake, then I took the 14" cake pan & laid that on the parchment paper. I then proceeded to add water to the pan to give it weight. This cake sat for about 3 hours. PERFECTLY level & no bulging! Hope this helps someone else!
I think gently pressing on the cake with a paper towel as soon as it gets out of the oven works. I used to do that and had no bulging and for some reason stopped doing it and now I have bulging after about 3 or 4 hours after the final coat.
i always do press my cake after coming out of the oven(the cakes, of course:) ). I did find a system though.... I bought straight plates that are just a bit smaller then the pan, and i press the cakes with the plates, that way i know the pressing is as straight as possible( the pressure on the top of the cake is equal). I still have though some bubbles on my fondant(using the pin does not work for me--it seems that the bubble moves-it is alive...lol) I live the fondant to settle for an hour or so, and then attack the airbubbles--so to prevent wrinkling of the fondant)
I thaw and press also, if I use a filling it has to be a thin layer (unless its a thicker ganache) I make a slightly thicker dam( I add enough powdered sugar so that I can almost roll a snake with my hands) then I spackle the sides with a cake crumb buttercream mixture( I use the the puff I cut off from leveling for the mix) and it works every time. Two must have dvds "Perfecting the Art of Buttercream" and 'Flawless Fonant"
thank you for all the info, just pray that I will get the right solution from all the responses. I will definately try them. mymeme
Hello.....i have the same problem with my cakes too....after crumb coating, chilling it looks great but when it settles with the fondant i notice little bulging around the cake where the filling is....does it have anything to do with the buttercream softning up? this drives me nuts and i can't stand seeing my cakes do that...thank you
WOW, seems like alot of people have the same issues that I am experiencing. Sounds like I will be investing in the two DVDs before my next cakes. Not sure if I found the answer that I was needing in this post. Helpful tips for sure. Thank you.
very informative, thanks!
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