Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

To practice working with fondant, I have been making 6" cakes, icing with American buttercream, then covering with fondant.  The last cake I covered looked great at first, then developed sizable air bubbles in less than 24 hours.  I finally cut the cake a day later to see what was going on.  What I thought were air bubbles was actually the buttercream pulling away from the cake!  We've had an incredibly warm summer here, but our AC has been on at all times.  I can definitely see that the frosting has been "seeping," and the cake circles (uncovered, as I was just practicing) are completely oily-looking now.  I made a 50/50 (high-ratio shortening/unsalted butter) buttercream, which was the subject of my first discussion posted here!.  I tweaked a doctored cake mix recipe, and am now wondering if there was too much moisture in the cake.  Also, my fondant (Fondarific, pre-colored) looked to be about 1/8" thick; could that have been part of the problem. 

I would so appreciate hearing from all you experienced decorators out there.  It seems the more I try to get my recipes and techniques nailed down, the more confused I get!  But, I refuse to give up!!!  Thanks in advance.

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I had a question can you cover a cake that has fully crusted in fondant?  How will it stick to the cake?  Or do you apply something wet to allow the fondant to stick?

I always heard that if your cake is frozen when u put on fondant it will cause your fondant to sweat? I'm not sure cause I was always afraid to try....have u tried using a pin to let the air out of the may allow the buttercream to stick back on the cake when u smooth it with your fingers....just a thought! Good luck!
Cool!! I will totally freeze my cakes from now on!
As Diana states in her post, I let my BC get hard after it is smooth. I don't apply anything on my BC. No piping gel, no water. Once the fondant is on, it will adhere to the cake. The trick is not to put on too much icing. If it is hot, a BC & royal icing mixture is best. Won't melt. Also finishing around the edges of your cake with a royal icing border, seals everything tight. If I am not doing a icing border, but putting on ribbon or fondant balls, I pipe a thin bead of royal icing around the border before I put on the ribbon etc. Works just like caulking.

Cheryl, I think your original idea of too much moisture is probably right.  Was the cake round oily all the way under the cake?  Next time let your layers sit in the open air for about 20 minutes before you start on them.  That time will allow the outside edges to dry enough without the cake going stale on you.  Also, do you let your cakes settle before assembly?  I bake one night, wrap in plastic wrap once completely cooled and let them sit until the next day.  Too much moisture and an unsettled cake tend to cause the blowouts. 


Deah, you are right. Sometimes being a baker for so long, you forget the obvious. Everything you stated. I do the same as you. Let my cakes sit on the counter for a good 15-20 min. You might think they would get dried out, but ther still good & moist on the inside. Once you add your crumb coat, then icing, you're fine. Then as you say..... freeze away, or on with the fondant the next day.

Thanks for all the advice, ladies!

Deah, yes, the cake round was completely oily.  I did let my cake layers set overnight; however, I left them in their pans, the tops just draped with paper towels.

The next day, I assembled the layers and crumb coated the cake.  A couple hours later, I finished the cake.  I had been instructed to apply my final icing, smooth it out as quickly as possible, then go right into covering the cake with fondant, eliminating the need to spray the cake with water or brush on piping gel.

June, I like the idea of your bc/ri mixture.  Even when using this mixture, you don't worry about using water or piping gel on your surface?  What I don't understand is many decorators apply piping gel or water, which adds more moisture, and yet, they don't seem to have any of the issues I've encountered, and I DIDN'T use either!

Deah and June, as for freezing your iced cakes, am I to assume that your icing is not actually crusted, it's just chilled temporarily?

My cake is for mid-day Saturday.  My original plan was to bake on Thursday, but I have two other appointments now that I have to keep that day, so I will be short on time Thursday.  Now, I'm thinking I need to begin baking on Wednesday, then cool, wrap, and refrigerate the layers as I get them done.  I will finish my baking on Thursday.  Should I do any of my crumb coating on Thursday night?  I still plan on icing and covering the cakes on Friday.  Since I'm rather new in the fondant field, I want to allow myself plenty of time to cover all my layers.  Depending on how Friday goes, I may leave the decorations to be applied Saturday morning, and some of them can't be applied until the tiers are stacked.  Does this sound like a reasonable timeline?

You can bake your cakes this wknd Cheryl. I assume you are  talking about next Saturday, not tomorrow??  I DON'T crumb coat or put icing on my cakes when I freeze them. I have baked cakes up to a mnth before I needed them. With busy schedules, sometimes it is a necessary. You double wrap them in plastic wrap, if they can fit into a zip loc bag, good, if not, that's ok.  Then wrap well in tin foil & into the freezer.  Now you can ice them if you want, just unwrap right away when you take them out of the freezer.  Otherwise the icing will peel off with your plastic wrap when you take it off.  Just make sure your icing is well crusted before you wrap.

A note Cheryl.  You should never leave your cakes in the pan. The moisture has no where to go but stay in the pan & in the cake.  I have made cakes late at night and have been too tired to crumb coat.  I just wrap the cake loosely with a clean tea towel or thin bath towel. Leave right on the wire rack when I cover. This is if I am going to work on the cake the next day.

I must confess Cheryl, I have never heard of water or piping gel placed on bc icing before the fondant goes on. I have heard of decorators, usually British/Australian, coating the cake in sieved apricot icing, before they put on marzipan. Because marzipan is so sweet, they don't often use icing. Usually it is a fruitcake.

Take your cake out of freezer Thur eve, remove tin foil & plastic wrap. Leave overnight if it has already been crumb coated & iced. If not,  take cake out Thur morn, remove plastic/tin foil, when it gets to room temp, crumb coat & ice. Sit overnight.   Friday, cover with fondant and any embellishments. 

Hope this helps Cheryl      :o)

Thanks, June!  You have just helped me so much!  Working on the baking this weekend will certainly help lower my stress level as I approach next Friday, when I have to focus on the fondant.  I've dabbled in cake decorating for about 20 years, having done maybe only 20-30 wedding cakes.  I've shied away from freezing my cakes, having been told long ago that they would not taste as fresh.  This approach has always caused me to leave too much to do with too little time.  But, especially now, with this being my first fondant covered wedding cake, your baking timeline makes great sense.  And what you said about leaving my cakes in the pans makes sense, too.  Trust me, I won't be doing that any more, either!

It's so helpful to have a baking/decorating lifeline!  Thanks again, ladies!

I agree with June and Deah and have found over the years that these simple steps work wonders.  I let the cakes settle over night and then sit out a bit just before I ice them.  I use a thin coat (I use a large frosting tip then smooth and thin it with an offset spatula to make a crumb coat layer for the fondant.  Then I apply my fondant after the BC has crusted over and it works great.  

I also find that the thickness of the fondant can affect it too.  If it is too thick, it will pull down from the weight and gravity.  But you don't want it too thin either.

Yes Angela

I found about thickness of fondant the hard way.

 Thank goodness for this site and the wonderul info & feedback you get. Could have used it years ago.

June - I am one of those (Brit of course!), that uses sieved jam under the fondant, rarely buttercream.  I find it keeps the cake really moist.  And for the record, I freeze cakes all the time Cheryl, both before and after icing.  Never had any issues at all, in fact, I'm inclined to think it improves them, seem moister (is that a word?), somehow.  I hate to leave everything till the last minute as I always assume something will go wrong and I'll need time to correct it!

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