Exploding Star Cake… & Cake Burps

So if anyone has ever decorated cakes you would probably know that Summer in Australia is pretty much THE worst time & place to decorate with fondant because humidity + fondant (/sugarpaste for my European friends) = TOTAL DISASTER. Basically it gets all sticky and doesn’t set properly, is hard to roll and work with, moves once you cover it, the ganache also doesn’t set too well… so all in all, not a great time of year to be decorating.

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SO of course, the week I have to make a 10 kilo 2 tier 21st cake with ganache and fondant has to be THE hottest and most humid week of the year so far (I’m talking 30*C plus weather and humidity that made you feel as though you’d rolled in glue the moment you set foot outside).

But whatever, it went mostly well. It was the biggest cake I have covered yet and by far the heaviest so whilst there were certainly some dramas, it arrived at the party in one piece, people ate it, nobody died, so thumbs up I think. Nobody ever tells you “your cake was shit” so you just have to make a stab-in-the-dark kinda guess. And who cares, if you made your cake and ate your cake and thought it tasted great…. good on you.

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I came home after work one day and it had gotten what a cake decorator once described to me as a “cake burp”. In fact, two of them. You may be familiar with air bubbles, where a pocket of air appears in the fondant itself. These are popped with a small pin and smoothed over, hopefully leaving little evidence they were there. I guess you could call these guys the little blackhead you find on the tip of your nose and quickly hide with concealer. And then there are Cake Burps. If an air bubble is a blackhead, this is the huge red pimple you find in the middle of your forehead just before a big party where you totally, absolutely, cannot have a huge red pimple in the middle of your forehead. And they totally, absolutely, cannot be covered by anything.

These happen when air gets between the fondant and the cake itself. Basically they come from within the cake, and if you have sealed the bottom of the cake with a border as I had, there is nowhere for the air to escape and they will get bigger and bigger and bigger, eventually putting cracks and/or rips in the fondant if they push it out far enough.

I wish I had gotten a photo of them but I was so stressed that I spent my time swearing and yelling at the cake, and then viciously stabbing them with the sharpest objects I could find. I only have photos of the aftermath (below), and given the severity of the cracks I am actually quite impressed with how well they healed over. Perhaps the humidity actually allowed the fondant to seal together more easily… good for something!

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I have since been told that the best thing to do is stick a thick skewer all the way through the fondant and right into the cake itself. This prevents the air pocket from re-appearing and allows all the air to escape. However, good luck hiding that hole…

This cake literally took me hours and hours, it really makes you appreciate the time and cost that go into the huge cakes you see on shows like Cake Boss and Planet Cake!

Keep Caking xxx

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3 thoughts on “Exploding Star Cake… & Cake Burps

  1. I made the mistake of trying to ice a cake in chocolate icing over the English summer, which was really hard work – I’d hate to do it in Australian heat!

    Looks fab though 🙂

    • Yes – chocolate icing and/or ganache is terrible too because it never sets properly and the consistency changes so much with the temperature!! I am visiting England in summer next year – very excited!!

  2. Pingback: (Another) Exploding Star Cake | Mi[cake]la

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