Alot of people on here talk about using the viva paper towel technique to get smooth icing and a pattern on the icing. For some reason...I can't get it to work. Do I do it before or after the icing has crusted? Do I press it into the icing? HELP!!!!!!!
You need to do it after your icing as crusted. You lay it on the cake lightly and then use your hand or a fondant smoother over the top to lightly press and smooth the icing.
And make sure you use the "right" side of the paper towel. Sometimes one has a tiny pattern to it and the other side is more smooth
Sometimes I can start smoothing right away after I ice the cake, but if it sticks, then I wait for it to crust more. It doesn't take long though, maybe 10 - 15 minutes. It's a great method...don't give up!!
If you use 1 tablespoon of meringue powder in your icing reciipe it will form a nice crust in about 15-20 min.
You can use parchment paper instead of the paper towel for a smooth finish.
I found that the paper towels work better than the parchment paper. The warmth of your hands seem to help smooth the cake out a bit. If your unhappy with a few areas just add a little more icing let it sit and then resmooth. As someone said there is ONE side of the towel you dont want to use. If you hold it up to eye level you should be able to see a difference.
I put my cakes in the freezer for about 5 minutes before I smooth out my icing. I love this method. It is all I use to smooth out my cakes. Keep trying!!
I've found that my hands are not steady enough for the light touch needed to smooth so I always use a fondant smoother now. I would get bumps and valleys in my icing when I did it with hand. You do have to use a crusting icing and I never have to wait. I go from hot knife smoothing straight to Viva. Hope this helps.
I like wax paper.........
Another great way to smooth your icing is the "Melvira method." Use a small foam roller to smooth your icing once it has crusted. Its awesome!