Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

A few questions about situations I have encountered.

1) I use my own MMF, so when covering a cake in fondant I have found that if its too thin it gets lumpy looking, am I using too much icing underneath? Im afraid if I use less icing, it won't be enough. I also can't get a sharp edge look, its more rounded. 

2) I generally keep my fondant covered cake in the fridge for fear that the fondant will soften and basically buckle or sag or it gets air under there even though I smooth it out. When doing my last wedding cake I was so afraid of that happening but it was out of fridge for a few hours and didn't seem to happen, would this be because of having the support straws too long into the cake? I made them just a hair higher than the top of cake this time to prevent that and it seemed to work. Only problem is that when taking it out of fridge, it tends to get "wet" is this normal? will it dry out again after its out a while?

3) I read some posts from a while back about stacking cakes and for this last cake which was 4-5 hour drive, I did put it together at the venue but how would you do that for cakes that take a lot of time to put flowers, decorations on that are placed after they are stacked? I had to make my last cake so that I could easily put it together at the venue which still took time and some of my flowers broke. I like to do it ahead so as to basically dry and glue together.

4) I've noticed that when I cool my cake, whether cooking in the pan or not, it seems to shrink and be a bit smaller on top or bottom so its not even, does everyone else have this problem or is there a trick to prevent this. Do you just even it up with icing?

5) I have found that round cakes are my preference for some reason, but I need to make another sheet cake and will make is 2 or 3 layers as it is to look like a Christmas present and is for around 50 people. They asked for half choc and half white. I always have trouble with this even though I even it up with icing. How do you all do this? I find that my white cake shrinks more than choc. so they aren't flush around the sides. Do you just bake a choc and cut in half and do the same for the white cake and then stack the white on white beside the choc on choc to make half choc and half white?

6) I have done a cupcake display for someone but when they returned my cupcake stand it was scratched up. I recently bought it and was very careful with it not to scratch it, I pd like $50 for it. Besides that I was worried about it getting broken, I have also used a heavy pc of plywood for another cake and even though I asked for it to be returned, the message did not get relayed and they threw it out, really disappointing! So now I feel its not worth it to use my equipment which is the reason I bought it. I did find some really nice heavy cupcake trays with lids at a local store. But do you have them supply something like the cake plate or cupcake holder themselves? For my circle bases, I started out buying the thick heavy circle boards but then realized I could make my own using 2-3 circles taped together and save a little money. This is thick enough to still put a ribbon around the edge.

7) My cakes tend to get bubbly on the top, does anyone know why that is? I try not to over beat the cake and I tap out air bubbles before baking but it still happens and sinks some in the middle. I end up wasting cake since I have to cut some off to even it up. I always use the damp straps around the pan for even baking. 

8) What do you all use in the center of a 3 inch pan so that it bakes in the center? I have just been using a flower nail but I tried using one of those little core cones twice and greased it real good and still couldn't get the cake out of the cone.

BTW--I purchased one of those silicone mats that you all were talking about in a discussion a while back and all I can say is WOW! I never want to go without it again, I rarely even need to use shortening anymore. I think I will buy another one bigger size, I just love it!

Thanks for all your help!

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Also, what do you do with your left over cake batter? I usually make cupcakes out of it but sometimes I need to make another cake and would like to use the left over batter but didn't know if it would bake right after being refrigerated.

Here is another question after reading some old posts. I have read that hi-ratio shortening makes a nicer and tastier icing so I have been using that but am I using too much shortening? I have been using Wilton's buttercream icing recipe that I had in my old cake decorating book for years and just replaced the veg. shortening with hi-ratio; so this is my recipe;

1 cup shortening

1-3 Tbsp water

1 lb conf. sugar

1 tsp vanilla

so I have keep the same quanitites with the hi-ratio shortening, should I change the amt. of shortening then? if there is a better buttercream recipe for decorating I'd be happy to try it. I must agree, the hi-ratio is way smoother and gets more firm I think.

I use to use Wilton icing years and years ago. Way too greasy for me...and totally unhealthy with all that shortening. I make cooked flour frosting/Icing. So good...easy, light.
Ok...there's a whack of questions here. Do my best to answer.
1. Getting a good sharp edge on your cake means having a good foundation. Meaning whether you use bc or ganache, you have to work to get a smooth, flawless finish to get a flawless fondant covered cake. It amounts to lots if practice. Many good tutorials you can watch on YouTube. You should refrigerate your cake after icing ad a well chilled cake is easier to smooth.
2. Storing a fondant covered cake in a fridge, when taken out will sweat as it comes to room temperature. That's perfectly normal. Place in a newspaper lined box. As it sweats, don't touch it as that will leave marks. Eventually, it will dry out.
3. Dowel your cake well. Attach all decorations with RI or melted white/dark chocolate. Attach cake to board with same as above. Your cake won't move, decorations won't come off. Transport with rubber mating under your cake in a box with rubber mating under the box in your car trunk. I've transported a 3 tier cake...no problem. That being said...you should always have extra decorations.
4. Cakes sometimes do shrink.Depends on the cake. What fat and how much fat you use. I flip my cake over and use the bottom as the top, usually it's flater. Use rose nails in cake pan. You may have to even up with icing..it happens.
5. Never stacked sheet cakes...can't help you there.
6. Always charge your customers for all supplies used in your cakes...boards, ribbon, icing, ganache...etc. You should keep a tally of expenses. As far as stands, platters, etc. Get a deposit. If they don't return...you've got your $$ to buy another.
7. Measure your batter carefully. Use rose nails in your pan. 1-4 depending on size of your pan. Sometimes you do have to cut the top off the cake and even it up. Not unusual. Also, I read a tip on another cake site that said to leave your batter in your pan on the counter for 15-30 min before putting in the oven. I've been doing this, and it's cut down on shrinking and zettles much better after it cools.
8. Again...rose nails...rose nails....
Tip: a really good book to get is The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Great recipes,abd she expmains the science if cake making. Takes out all the guess work. Plus there are lots of good info on tools, how too's etc. Best $$ I ever spent on a decorating book, and I have lots!! She also has a informative website.
Leftover batter can be frozen for up to 6 months in a well sealed container. Good tip...it's super easy to scoop frozen (well partially thawed) batter into cuocake papers. Much easier than fresh batter. Batter never really freezes solid because of the fat content. Many times I freeze my batter for 20 minutes because it so much easier to work with.

Great advice June thanks!

Since I trust your opinion I went ahead and ordered the Cake Bible :-)

You won't be sorry Wendy. Even a experienced baker like me learned a lot from this book. Especially the science behind the baking. Took Home Ec in school, learned how to bake, but never the "why" of it. Turns out, that's pretty important. Now Rose has what I call a lot of "fru fru" kind of fussy cakes I'd never bother with...too much trouble for me. But to each there own!! Let me know what you think of the book. Check out her website too. If you send her a question, she'll actually get back to you and answer.
http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/

thanks June! another question lol, did I see somewhere to make a strawberry cake you just add strawberry jello? i always use the WASC cake so do I change anything else?

My family is not a fan of strawberry flavored cakes. I have used fresh strawberry preserves in the middle of my cake. If I were to make a strawberry cake, I wouldn't use jello, but a good strawberry jam and swirl it through the batter.

I tried this strawberry cake recipe I found online and thought I would share it, it was a little tricky to make, first batch I used about half cake flour half all purpose flour and seemed good, then i tried it with just AP flour and it was very dense, third I used only cake flour, still a little dense but flavor I thought was delicious. The first batch is the one I used for the cake, she reported they all loved it. The cupcakes were the third batch which was for the kids so don't know how they were but here is the recipe for anyone interested in trying it.

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