Repairing a Broken Cake

28 Jun

broken oval beforeOh No! Despite all the tricks and gizmos you read about online, my 16 inch oval broke when I turned it out of the pan. Okay, so I had a major brain fart and didn’t listen to my gut. When it’s the same gut that says, “eat cake, eat cake, eat caaaakkke” until you gain 20 lbs., you tend to ignore its pleading. I briefly considered asking someone to help me flip it over using my two small cooling racks but I assured myself that two people would never be able to coordinate their movements to make a safe flip. The oven rack was still hot, so I couldn’t use that, either. So, a flippin’ I went and a breakin’ I got.

 I thought all was lost and trekked back to the store for more supplies to begin again. Ten o’clock at night and the cake is due the next day. I’m pretty much screwed, right?

 When I returned home from the store, I decided I had nothing left to lose. Those are the dangerous kinds of thoughts one has when one is exhausted and it’s late in the evening. Can she do it?????? Of course she can! She can do anything! After all, she is the cake chick.

crack side one spackled compressed

Step one: sit and watch the news while considering the insanity of even attempting this when you should be baking another one. Naw! The client will understand if the cake’s not finished. Right? Right? Okay, turn off the tube. You don’t want to add an unhappy client to this mess.

Step into the kitchen; wipe the counter awhile while delaying the inevitable. When you’ve wiped all you can wipe, go ahead and torte the cake. Fold a load of laundry when that’s done to calm your nerves from that lil ordeal. Yeah, right! Grab a handful of chocolate chips to munch on to calm your nerves. Doesn’t everyone eat them from the bag like candy?

 Back to the kitchen: place one side of the bottom half of the broken cake on your cake board. Don’t forget to spread a little bit of frosting on the board to hold the cake in place first. Now, fill that icing bag as far as you dare, but don’t put a tip on that bad boy. You want to spread mucho frosting for this. Brush or blow off the crumbs (your choice, depending on the dragon breath) from the cake. Using the piping bag without a tip, coat one side of the break, then the other. Make sure it’s thick.

 bottom repair finished

Step 2: Spread a little frosting on the other side of the board to prepare for joining. Gently pick up the other part of the bottom half of the cake and bring the two sides together. Try to make sure you place the cake right the first time because you’ll only get more aggravated if you have to try to slide that sucker to fit it together.

Still using the piping bag sans tip, run another thick bead of frosting on top of the break. You want to ensure solid cohesion and not have empty spaces between the pieces. Pick up any broken pieces and use frosting to glue those suckers in there, too.

 cracked cake dam compressed

Whew! So far, so good. Onward, cakers, onward!

Add your icing dam and another line on top of the break to ensure a good seal between the two sides. Yep, I’m being extra cautious ‘cause I really, really don’t want to bake another cake. 16 inch ovals take forever to bake and this one decided to take its good ol’ time baking and the flower nails I used to help it bake evenly decided to embed themselves in the cake because they felt like leaving holes. I never knew cakes like to mark their territory that way. Man, if it’s not the kids, it’s the cakes!

cracked cake filling compressed

 Fill ‘er up! Add your filling to the repaired bottom. I decided to not disturb the barrier between the sides, just in case. Besides, the barrier is as high as the dam and I dang sure don’t want the dam to break. (almost said damn sure don’t want the dam to break, but I don’t want to offend).

Hey, it looks like you’re really getting somewhere now, doesn’t it? Go sit down and have another handful of chocolate chips. You may want to crack open a cold diet soda (to offset the chocolate chip calories) while you’re at it ‘cause the next repair is the top. Either the next step goes well or we’re up for another 2 hours baking another flippin’ cake after all.

cracked cake top on compressed

The top layer is a little trickier. Coat the sides of the break the same as before then very carefully pick up one side at a time and place it on the top of the bottom layer. Make your first placement a good one because it’s very hard to move once you set it down. Fill in with more icing and miscellaneous pieces as needed. If you have enough crumbs you can make a spackle by mixing the crumbs and icing and jam that in there, too. Okay, don’t jam it. It’d be a plum shame if you screwed this up now. Carefully use the spackle to repair the break. How’s that? Does that sound better?

  What do you think? Is it good enough? Will it hold? Will it cover? Will it break apart again in front of all the guests at the party as you triumphantly carry it to the cake table? Read on!

oval cake crumbcoat compressed

Yay! The repair is made and now you can apply the crumb coat. Notice the break is already invisible. Oooohhhh. Maaaagiic!

 oval final coat

Let the crumb coat crust over a little and add your next/final coat of frosting (this cake got one more coat after this. It was a very soft cake with lots of crumbs). Let that crust and then smooth the final coat to perfection.

oval nearly completed

Ta-Da! Okay, sort of ta-da. It’s not quite finished, but it’s getting there. The final picture will be included in a later tutorial as this cake has a whole other dimension to it.

 C’mon, you didn’t really think I was going to take you all the way to the finished cake, did you? If I did that, what would I blog about next week?

 Tune in next time for another episode of “The Cake Chick Makes a Ginormous Party Cake!”

Dum, de, dum, dum, duuuuuuummmm!

11 Responses to “Repairing a Broken Cake”

  1. Chick2 June 28, 2009 at 7:25 pm #

    Looks good! Don’t dare admit myself how many times I’ve had to do this!

  2. marie July 22, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    you are a life saver, cake chick. thank you soooo much. cos I was really not looking forward to baking another cake. 😉

    • chick2 July 22, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

      You’re welcome. I felt exactly the same way the first time it happened to me. 🙂

  3. Kate February 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    I just want to say how much I enjoy reading your blog, I just discovered it today, and I can’t stop! Also, I thought chocolate chips were made to be eaten by the handful? lol 😀

    • 2 Chicks February 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

      When I’m “dieting,” I mix them with walnuts and tell myself monounsaturated fats are good for you. 😀

  4. Olivia June 19, 2011 at 1:07 am #

    I was making a topsy turvy cake where each tier, each tier was made up of 2 layers, was slanted like a mad hatter cake. when I got it iced, pieces just kept falling off. After working all day on it I was soooooooooo peeved! I tried plastic plates, wooden sticks, fontant, 3 gallons of icing(glue). The cake started sliding so I pushed down on the opposite side when a chunk fell off the cake. I descided to get more icing and food color it blue to make a waterfall but as I added that weight, the tiers began to fall more and i kept adding fontant and icing. I go the cake to stand up so I’m letting the icing dry. Have any Ideas to start with for next time?

    • 2 Chicks June 19, 2011 at 11:02 am #

      Mad hatter/topsy turvy cakes are usually higher than 2 layers tall. However, if each layer is three inches tall, you can forget I said that. LOL My first topsy turvy was a disaster, too. I personally think, if you have never made one before, you need to make a practice one first ’cause there’s a truckload to learn about them that can only be learned by actually doing it. Unfortunately, my first one went northward to be viewed by hundreds of people. Eek!

      Anyway, one of the main things I learned about that disaster is that a two inch difference in sizes between the tiers really isn’t enough. You’re carving away some of the center of the cake and there has to be enough left so the sides still hold up. Otherwise- kaplooey! The second thing I learned is that the type of cake matters a lot. If the cake is too soft, it will not withstand the carving and the outward pressure of the cake on top or the support system or whatever. Yeah, I know cakers say you can stack Jell-o with the right support system, but realistically it ain’t happenin’ in my kitchen.

      A couple of weeks later, I made another one for practice because I wanted to get it right. A practice one doesn’t have to be big. Mine was two tiers high using a 6 and a 9 inch cake. I just got in a swimsuit for the first time year, and I’m tellin’ ya’- I don’t need no more cake to eat around the manse! I suggest you try it again, maybe even using ganache to help hold those sides in if necessary. I hope this gives you hope and that you’ll get back in there and whoop that thing next time!

  5. Johnk869 May 1, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

    Perfect webpage you have at this website! Precisely how could i add in this blog’s feed into my Rss reader? ecdkfgeagcee

  6. offwhiteliving January 22, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    thank you for this, you just saved me a whole lot of stress. As a new baker I thought my cake was doomed when it broke, but now I have hope!

  7. Lisa April 20, 2015 at 10:19 pm #

    Thank you for saving my 12inch round marble cake. I thought I was going to have to remake the cake. I look forward to reading your other blogs. Your are terrific, funny, and a life/cake saver. Have a great day.

  8. Alina April 25, 2015 at 2:37 pm #


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