Fondant cracking and fondant sagging

Forum: Cake Disasters

Can someone please help! I’m self taught and I just had my first disaster. Well to be honest, two in one day. I made my first three tier cake and when I delivered it, the bottom cake looked horrible! It looked smashed! I put supports in each tier but I must’ve put them incorrectly. The second cake was a two tier cake and when I delivered that one the fondant started cracking! I don’t think I used a sturdy enough board. Please anyone out there, help! I’m depending so much on being able to sell cakes to support myself and my autistic son. Thank you!!!

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Lizzie's Cakes ...

It’s possible the smashing occurred during the delivery? I go very early to venues when setting up cakes and, if the cake has more than 2 tiers I assemble them at the venue. This has worked well so far. How big was your bottom tier and how many dowels did you use? I also always use the 15mm cake drums for cakes to ensure it will support the weight. Did the board you use bend as that may have caused the fondant to crack?

Lizzie's Cakes ...

Just one little suggestion re the cracking fondant. I was very lucky with a cake I made that this didn’t happen and realised after that I had cut my dowels a little too short. They should be 1mm taller than the surface of the cake so that the cake isn’t supporting the weight of the upper tiers. Cutting them even a fraction too short can cause the icing to buckle because it’s supporting the weight of the upper tiers.

Bakermama ...

As a general rule of thumb, I use one support dowel per inch of cake (so 12 dowels for a 12" cake, etc), and make sure that they’re inserted straight down into the cake ~ if they’re cut unevenly or placed in at an angle, that will cause problems! Then insert a long dowel through the middle of all the tiers. Are you using a cake board underneath each tier?

A quality cake recipe also helps, you want something that has substance and will hold up under the weight of the frosting and fondant. I also suggest using a butter-based frosting recipe (like swiss meringue buttercream) or ganache under your fondant, something that will harden up when refrigerated. I’ve had problems with sagging cakes when using a crisco-based recipe like american buttercream. I always deliver my cakes straight out of the refrigerator so they’re hardened up.

And definitely use a thicker cake board at the base of the cake! I’ve had my fondant crack before when using a flimsy cardboard cake board as the base. I love the masonite cake boards which I buy from Amazon. They’re $5-10 apiece depending on size, but re-useable if you can get the customer to return them to you :)

Good luck!

gemmascakes ...

Thank you everyone!!!! Today I made a very special two tier cake for my daughter’s baby shower and I used a thicker board and also cut the dowels a little longer than what I’ve been cutting them. My cake was a success!!!! It withheld the bumpy ride to the restaurant! Thank you again for all the feedback! It is very much appreciated!!!!!

CrystalMemories ...

@Thea…where do you order your cake boards from? I’m just thinking as my cakes get bigger…I’m going to need better boards….

Bakermama ...

@Crystal, I order them all from Amazon! Free shipping! These are the masonite boards I use:

Since they can be reused, I only use them with cakes for clients who I know will return them. Otherwise I double up on the cardboard cake boards (also ordered from Amazon) or cut my own foam boards I buy at Wal-Mart.

A few days ago I splurged and ordered two 1/2 cake drums from Global Sugar Art for a few wedding cakes coming in June, since Amazon didn’t have the specific ones I wanted. $16 for the cake boards, $35 for the shipping ~ which I had a hard time swallowing, but I sucked it up and ordered them anyway. But then yesterday I got an email from them saying they were adding an additional $15 to my shipping charges, bringing the shipping total up to $50!!! Yikes! For a $16 order, really??! So I canceled that order, I’ll have to figure something else out. One of the hazards of living on this island I guess :)