Basic Baking and Cake Decorating

5 Reasons why cakes lean or tilt.

If you have ever had problems with cake leaning or tilting, then you may wish to have a glance at this post to see if any of the following explanations can give you a clue as to why this has happened and tips on how to prevent it.

Trapped air/settling – this happens when air pockets form after the cake layers have been stacked and then begin to settle. To prevent this, try using a thicker buttercream/filling to help the cake support its own structure and weight. Another solution is to place a tin/plate on top of the filled layers for a while. This creates a pushing/weighted motion allowing any trapped air to expel. Do this before covering your cake in icing fondant.

Uneven layers – this may have been caused by adding too much filling, thus causing the cake to become unbalanced, lean or even slide. Remember, less is more, and you can always add another layer to your cake to get the correct amount of filling. Therefore, only use a moderate amount of filling and create a dam to help keep the filling in place. This, in turn, should keep the cake level.

Incorrect dowels – if you put your dowels in the wrong position or cut them too short, this can have a significant impact on the overall structure of your cake and may cause it to tilt or lean. Always ensure that the dowels are evenly distributed and that they’re all the same size.

Soft sponge – sometimes it’s all down to the sponge itself so if you are looking at making a tiered cake I would recommend a Pound Cake, Madeira or Fruit cake as they are heavier denser cakes that stack easily and support their own weight. If you are looking to tier a sponge, then some bakers recommend using an additional flour in the recipe to help the cake become stronger.

Spirit level – if you’re still unsure as to whether your cake is on the wonky side or resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa, then you may wish to invest in a small spirit level. That way you can be sure that your cakes are level every time.

If you want to ensure that your tiers stay in place then it may also be worth having a look at the cake support systems over at Sturdy Cake Stackers


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