Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

i recently made a cake for a friend's daughter's baby shower. the cake turned out great, but the next day after delivering the cake i noticed shadows of cracks in the buttercream icing that had been smoothly flattened on top of the cake. no one else seemed to notice, it wasn't all that bad, but i was afraid it might crack more before being cut, or worse, before she got it to the shower. does anyone know what would cause this problem? it was only on the top that had been smoothly flattened.

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This happened to me too! I would love to find out why!
If you're using a flimsy cake board, when you lift the cake, the cake board bends, messing up your buttercream. You have to use a cake board that's sturdy enough to support your cake and that's going to vary depending on the weight of your cake. Foamcore cake boards or wooden boards are much better for large cakes.
I had read before that if you add 1 Tbl. vinegar to your icing it will prevent it from cracking. I haven't tried it yet. But they also say you won't be able to taste the vinegar either.
The "shadows of cracks" seems like wrinkles to me. And that can be solved by what Theresa Happe said. If you use a sturdy board, you won't get any "wrinkles".
Thank you all so much for your help. I talked to the girl today who ordered the cake and she said there was no problem at all with the cake. She said she didn't even notice it and would never had known if i hadn't brought it up. She said apparently no one else noticed it either, because at the shower the cake got ooooooohs and aaaaaaaahs from the mother to be and all her friends. so i guess i worried for nothing and everything ended well. Thanks again to all of you, at least i can try your tips and maybe it will never happen again and i won't have to worry about it at all.
I have had icing crack before, too. Usually it happens on the top edge near the side of the cake. I think the icing was applied to thick to that area and begins to pull away.
Here is a link to some possible answers to this question...

http://thesugarlane.com/cracks-in-your-icing/

I found this quite interesting.
Icing cracks when the surface of the icing dries and the buttercream underneath is stays moist. Think of it like the earth's surface...you have the crust floating around on the surface of a liquid magma (earth here). Well, when you add too much water or milk to make your icing it does the same thing. Think of GLAZE...hard stiff dehydrated surface that is crusty and a thin icing under that...your buttercream is too much like a glaze...just thicker. When the cake shifts under it because of a bending board or the icing under the "floating crust" flows then it cracks. Decrease your liquid in your icing and increase the fat (butter or high ratio shortening) The fat will keep it soft but the dehydrating surface won't crust the same way or as much. The fat will make it icing without having to add so much liquid that you are making glaze. Also, using cream or butter instead of water will help keep the surface from dehydrating as fast and forming a hard crust. You want a crusting buttercream but not crusty one!
What a great explanation! Best I've heard since I started doing cakes...thank you! I recently had this happen - for the first time ever and I was baffled. I'd had a lot of trouble with my icing from the start, and your explanation explains most all of the issues I faced. Thanks again!

Dena Bryngelson said:
Icing cracks when the surface of the icing dries and the buttercream underneath is stays moist. Think of it like the earth's surface...you have the crust floating around on the surface of a liquid magma (earth here). Well, when you add too much water or milk to make your icing it does the same thing. Think of GLAZE...hard stiff dehydrated surface that is crusty and a thin icing under that...your buttercream is too much like a glaze...just thicker. When the cake shifts under it because of a bending board or the icing under the "floating crust" flows then it cracks. Decrease your liquid in your icing and increase the fat (butter or high ratio shortening) The fat will keep it soft but the dehydrating surface won't crust the same way or as much. The fat will make it icing without having to add so much liquid that you are making glaze. Also, using cream or butter instead of water will help keep the surface from dehydrating as fast and forming a hard crust. You want a crusting buttercream but not crusty one!

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