You shouldn't "pack" BRF cakes into the jar. Just spoon it into the jar as if you were just trying to move it into a little pile instead of trying to pack it into a container. You can shake the jar a little to get it to fill in the sides, and after the jar is "filled" while leaving enough headspace for the dry verm, you can level it out which will press it down a little, but that's it.
Are you using metal lids? Seal side up or down? Any tape over the inoculation holes? My recommendation would be to use upside down metal lids with the seal side up. Put micropore tape over the holes to sterilize but don't tape them back up again after you inoculate. The #1 reason for stalled cakes is not enough airflow for the mycelium to breathe. I like the upside down metal lid with the ring loosened 1/4 turn myself.
When did you inoculate your cakes? Can you post pics of what they look like now?
Spores tend to clump in water... it's just how it works. But for every clump of spores that you can see, there's tons of spores floating around that you can't see. So yes, shake up that syringe between inoculations, but please don't ever shoot it into a shot glass again. That's just an opportunity for mold spores floating in the air and bacteria from your breath and who knows what else to get into your previously clean syringe.
Personally, I'd turn the heat down to between 70 F and 75 F. Mycelium does grow faster at higher temperatures but so do yeasts and molds and bacteria. The extra heat actually helps the contaminants more than it helps the mushroom mycelium. How are you providing heat? If it's with a grow mat or something like that, there's a good chance you've dried out your cake. You should heat up your grow space and let the ambient temperatures control the heat in your grows instead of trying to heat up jars or a tub.
That's enough for now. Post pictures and people will be able to help more.
PS Can someone move this to Fungi: Magic Mushrooms? Thanks!
Edited by jrh, Today, 12:20 PM.