Covering cakes with fondant—two questions
Posted: 03 February 2008 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  5
Joined  2008-02-03

I have two problems that occur sometimes when I cover my cakes with fondant, and I would love to have help solving them.

My cakes are typically either the butter cake or chocolate butter cakes, from the wedding recipe section, and the buttercream is the MBC. I use syrup on the tiers. I also feel strongly that the fondant that I use is rolled out to be thinner than I often see in design books—I find that a thick layer of fondant is disagreeable, but a thinner layer is really lovely.

Here are my problems:

1. Sometimes, there will be some settling in the tiers, after they have been torted, filled and covered with fondant. Just a tiny bit of rippling in the fondant, at the base of the layers. I put each layer on 1/2” foam-core, and the fondant adheres to the foam-core; the rippling is just above it, if it occurs. I have assumed this is from settling of the layers, as the cake has a delicate crumb, and the buttercream is very light. Still, I would like to avoid even the least bit of appearance of rippling, if possible. Any suggestions?

2. And sometimes, there will be a bubble that develops on the side of a tier—like a blister, really—as the cake sits at room temperature, after having been covered. I have been able to reduce the occurrence with a light spray of water, on top of the buttercream, before applying the fondant, but I have not eradicated this problem. I have wondered if it is because there is air somewhere that is trapped—and then releases itself, as the cake warms (from the chilled state it was in when I covered it with fondant). I have wondered if I layer too much buttercream in between the tiers (I honestly don’t think this is the case….) I have wondered if this is a result of my fondant not being really thick. Sometimes, when this occurs, I can pierce the spot right away, and support its return to the correct place with something like a piece of register tape paper temporarily secured around the cake. In any event, this is a problem I do not want to have, and I would love your insights.

Thanks very much,
Jean Marie

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 February 2008 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Newbie
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  25
Joined  2008-02-03

Hi!

I might be able to help answer your fondant questions!!  I’m a cake designer and have a LOT of experience with this:

1)  As for the rippling effect around the base, you’re absolutly right; the cake is settling.  I get this a lot when I’m transferring a cake from its “waiting board” to the actual presentation board.  Generally cake decorators can get away with leaving the ripple by putting some sort of border around the base of the cake AFTER it has settled.  if you’re not using a border (or are a perfectionist), you might try elevating the cake on a pan slightly smaller than the base of your cake.  Then you’ll be able to re-smooth the base and re-trim the fondant at the very bottom.

2)  Now on to the bubble (which I like to call the giant pimple..haha):  When you begin covering your cake, hold your fondant slightly elevated over the top and only drop one side down, freeing one hand to smooth over the top as your drop the other side.  Continue as usual, smoothing everything out and trimming.  Then, return to the top and try to gather as much air under the fondant as possible…try to manipulate it toward the middle of the top.  Next, use an ice pick or a clean meat thermometer to break through the fondant…remove and gently press the air out.  Then, reinsert the ice pick ALL the way through the cake down to the bottom (but not through the foam core).  The hole will allow air which is trapped in the icing and such to escape as the cake settles.  If you don’t make the hole, the air has no where to go which causes a “blowout” somewhere on the cake.  Sometimes I make two or three holes close to each other when working with larger tiers.  If you still notice a little lump of air on the side, gently insert a straight pin and let it escape, then smooth over the hole as best you can.  Once the cake is at room temp and you’re confident that it has settled, you can use a little royal icing to fill in the hole(s) at the top…no one will ever know. wink

Hope this helps!!!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 February 2008 02:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  84
Joined  2007-11-17

Thanks for that great advice!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 February 2008 02:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  84
Joined  2007-11-17

I just looked at your site, pastryprince1, and your cakes are fantastic!  Might you have any tips on covering square cakes with fondant (where the sides meet)?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 February 2008 05:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Newbie
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  25
Joined  2008-02-03

Thank you, Cathy!!!!

COVERING SQUARE CAKES:

PREP:  Fix your cake on a board and ice it to your satisfaction.  Refrigerate to allow your icing to become firm (if using a shortening-based icing, you may need to put the cake in the freezer for a bit).  Next, elevate your cake on a slightly smaller cake pan.  Then apply a thin coat of icing or lightly brush with water…either will help the fondant adhere to the cake.

COVERING: I always start off with a lump of fondant roughly the shape of the cake im about to cover .  When rolling it out, keep your surface lightly dusted with corn starch and keep the fondant moving (turn it and lift it every so often to keep it from sticking to your work surface).  Unless the cake is large (12? square or greater), the fondant should not be too thick or it will start to tear at the edges.
Once the fondant is at the desired size and shape, lift it and position it above the cake, then drop one side.  Use your free hand to smooth the top as you release the other side…this will help prevent air bubbles on top.

Next, smooth cake corner areas:  Use one hand to gently hold the fondant at the base and your other hand to smooth one side of a corner..work from the top to the bottom.  Repeat all the way around the cake.  You have to move kind of quickly for this…it will get easier with practice.

When the cake corners have been sealed, start smoothing-out the remaining middle-portions of each side.  I tend to hold the slack out a bit with one hand and smooth the fondant from the top to the bottom to seal the cake.  Be careful not to pull on the fondant very much or it will tear.

Once the cake is completely sealed, trim the bottom.  Then use your hands or fondant paddles to smooth the fondant and to create nice edges.  Once satisfied, re-trim the bottom excess and poke a hole in the middle of the top with an ice pick all the way until it reaches the cake board.

This will leave you with a seamless cake.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 February 2008 12:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  84
Joined  2007-11-17

Super.  I appreciate your time explaining this.  Let me also ask, do you bevel the edges with a square cake just as you do a round prior to crumb coating and covering with fondant?  And if so, do you also bevel the corners/sides where they meet?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 February 2008 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Newbie
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  25
Joined  2008-02-03

HI, Cathy!

No, i never bevel my edges.  I like the look of a very crisp edge and take GREAT care in making them as perfect as my body and brain will allow.  Once the fondant goes on, it usually causes the edges to round out a little though.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 February 2008 06:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2568
Joined  2007-11-15

Tony - thank you for your excellent directions.  I haven’t enjoyed working with fondant much in the past - maybe because I hadn’t been chilling my buttercream before adding the fondant (what a logical thing to do, duh!).  I’m so glad you mentioned it.

I’ll give your tips a try the next time I use fondant.

 Signature 

Come visit my blog at

http://butteryum.blogspot.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 February 2008 05:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  592
Joined  2007-11-27

My usual production schedule is baking on day 1; assembling on day 2 and covering with fondant and decorating/delivering on day 3; if you let the buttercream covered cake rest in the cooler overnight, the cake “settles” and is ready for fondant the next day.  When I cover tiers with fondant, I put them on a masonite board (the cake is built on regular cardboard rounds) when they go into the cooler while I’m finishing the other tiers.  The fondant covered tiers are not refrigerated for any long length of time; but during busy wedding season, I have had to cover fondant tiers and put them in large plastic bags overnight.  The plastic bag helps cut down on the amount of condensation the forms on the cake itself - it doesn’t eliminate it, but it definitely helps.  Putting a fondant covered cake in a humid walk in is asking for it to melt.

My experience with “bubbles” is if the buttercream is not absolutely smooth (usually on the sides), this will trap air and cause the fondant to expand and bubble.  If you take care to make sure the cake is smooth before it rests, you can just concentrate on putting the fondant on and decorating it.  If you are rushed applying the buttercream, this is where the little dips and un-even-ness occurs and that’s where the bubble will start.

The only thing I do differently is that I smooth the top first.  This helps me to get rid of any air pockets and then I start on the sides.  On a square cake, you want to smooth the corners first to avoid any wrinkles/ripples.

 Signature 

I Dream of Jeanne Cakes selected by Brides Magazine as one of their 100 Favorite Bakers (2013)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 June 2008 03:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2008-06-16

Hi, folks! I cannot tell you how relieved I am to see that others have had these bubbles that come up when the cake comes to room temp, although I’m sorry you’ve had the problem too! I also feel that they are coming from the buttercream, as when I ripped the fondant off to redo, the buttercream was stuck to the fondant where I had the bubble!  My biggest sadness right now is that I just received a picture from a customer (who loved the cake), but I noticed that in the picture, a bubble had formed - after I had delivered a perfect cake!  I am just really a bit freaked out about the bubble thing… little demons of sorts!  I will try softening the buttercream for my crumb coat and see if that helps - just being aware of where it’s coming from and how you all have tackled the problem is very reassuring.  I used to keep everything at room temp when covering with fondant (didn’t chill the cakes before) and although it’s not as easy, I never encountered the bubble problem.  I want to stick with refrigerating the cakes before covering because it is so much easier to get perfect shapes and it’s easier to layer the cakes in advance, but these bubble have me freaked!  Any new thoughts on the issue are so appreciated!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 June 2008 03:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2568
Joined  2007-11-15

I know of a cake decorator who purposefully places a few pin pricks, here and there, into her fondant covered cakes so that any air bubbles that form will have a place to escape.  She said it works like a charm.

 Signature 

Come visit my blog at

http://butteryum.blogspot.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 June 2008 07:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  27
Joined  2008-06-11

Tony, I just wanted to echo the other comments about how beautiful your cakes are! I can only imagine how time consuming they are. One question, and I know this is elementary, but what decorating tip do you use on those cupcakes? I’ve always just slathered icing on mine, but with all the inspiration on this site and others, I’m trying to take my decorating up a notch. I’ve tried several times to decorate mine that way but can’t seem to find just the right one.

Profile
 
 
   
  Back to top
 
‹‹ sweet cream      dissolving cocoa in liquid? ››