Stupid Question...sorry Guys, I'm New...

Decorating By ape74 Updated 24 Oct 2008 , 4:25am by jcaste

ape74 Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 4:14am
post #1 of 15

This is a question regarding the smoothing of the icing. What does "Viva" smoothing method mean? I've see that it's mentioned a lot on the forums and the photo galleries. Can anyone educate me please. I'm sorry; new here... expect more stupid questions from me, lol...

14 replies
redpanda Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 4:31am
post #2 of 15

Welcome to your new addiction!

When using the "Viva" method, you first cover the cake semi-smoothly with a crusting buttercream. (It should be pretty smooth, but doesn't have to be even close to perfect.) After the icing crusts a bit, you take a (clean) Viva paper towel, lay it carefully on the surface of the cake, and gently rub across the paper towel to smooth out the icing. There are various techniques, using fingertips, fondant smoothers, etc., to get a very smooth surface.

The trick is to do it when the icing is crusted enough not to stick to the paper towel, but not so crusted that you get the elephant-skin look, from cracking. The reason for the Viva, as opposed to other brands is that Vivas don't have any patterning to them. Patterned paper towels can leave an interesting texture, though. Some people use parchment instead of paper towels. I have even heard of people using "typing" paper. (My age is showing here...I mean just plain paper, like you'd use in a photocopier or printer.)

Kim_in_CajunCountry Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 4:33am
post #3 of 15

As a newbie, I feel compelled to inform you of the most important rule on Cake Central...there are no stupid questions!

It wasn't so long ago that I was a newbie, too!

The Viva Method refers to a method for smoothing your icing using a Viva paper towel. They are thick and smooth towels that don't leave an impression in your icing.

Here's a

by tonedna.

Cake Central is filled with talented and generous women who are more than willing to share their knowledge with everyone at all skill levels.


Kim_in_CajunCountry Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 4:41am
post #4 of 15

Ack! RedPanda beat me and answered first! icon_biggrin.gif

ape74 Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 5:01am
post #5 of 15

Thank you very much for your responses ladies. Our instructor for Wilton Course I taught us the parchment paper method. Still can't seem to get a smooth look on top. I actually struggle with the edge around the cake. Urgghhh!! I either put to much and the edge looks wavy or I seem to not put enough to avoid the "waves" and you can see the cake. I hate that, but I will look at the videos you sent me and I will try the Viva method. Thanks!

ape74 Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 5:29am
post #6 of 15

Thanks again for the video links Kim_in_CajunCountry. I have a question though. I noticed that Edna actually puts two coats of icing. She first does the crumb coat which I think means icing it without worrying about getting any crumbs on the cake right? Then, she puts it in the fridge and takes it out again and does a second coat. Is this really necessary? Isn't that wasting some time? I wonder how many people on CC actually use that technique. I mean, it's great but what if you're in a hurry with a last-minute order or you have multiple orders to get out? Just curious...

Kim_in_CajunCountry Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 2:06pm
post #7 of 15

I find the crumb coat to be invaluable. It seals the crumbs to the cake so that you don't pick them up when you are applying your frosting. If I'm short on time and have to bake and decorate in one day and I'm using a crusting buttercream, I will crumb coat the cake, wait about 20 minutes, then frost it.

I try to avoid baking and frosting cakes in the same day since it can cause icing bulges. If I have three days' lead time I will bake my layers and let them cool then wrap them in cling wrap and refrigerate them. The next day I torte them, fill them, and crumb coat them. The next day I frost and decorate them. If the icing has bulged at the sides, I have the opportunity to smooth the sides before frosting.

If I only have two days' time, I bake and cool, torte and fill, crumbcoat and refrigerate. The next day I frost and decorate.

That's how I do it. You will probably find as many techniques as you will find members on CC. You should probably read as much as you can relative to how others do it, try several methods, then do what works for you.


ape74 Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 5:39pm
post #8 of 15

Thank you Kim. By the way, what is crusting buttercream? Is it the same as regular Wilton buttercream but just a fancier name?

Win Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 5:56pm
post #9 of 15

There is a woman on CC who goes by the name: sugarshack. She has a video called The Art of Buttercream. It is an amazing tutorial. You can Google the title as well, or look her up under memberlist. It can be ordered. I was actually lucky enough to win my copy. Anyway, she has a totally different approach to smoothing than taught by Wilton. As well, she smooths with copier paper, but sooo much info before you even get to that stage. She includes her recipe for buttercream with the video. And, yes, Wilton's recipe is supposed to be a crusting buttercream. However, if you are using Crisco, good luck. My friend said Wilton has a new recipe out that states it is modified to work with the no trans fat Crisco.

Anyway, as someone else said, "Welcome to your new addiction."

jcaste Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 6:35pm
post #10 of 15

Great!! I was also wondering this because I had heard about this Viva towel method & never knew exctly what they were talking about. This cleared it up. thumbs_up.gif Thanks ape74, keep those questions coming because I can assure its what alot of the newbies are thinking of too. icon_biggrin.gif

Kim_in_CajunCountry Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 6:47pm
post #11 of 15

Yes, Wilton's buttercream recipe is a crusting buttercream. "Crusting" describes the slight hardening of the outer surface of the frosting after a few minutes. Poking the surface of the frosting will create little cracks in it. If you have ever made a traditional cream cheese frosting or if you've ever used or eaten those really creamy storebought frostings that come in a can, those are good examples of non-crusting frostings. They stay "wet" on the surface.

ape74 Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 7:34pm
post #12 of 15

You're welcome jcaste. It's good to hear you have questions and doubts too. I don't feel alone, lol...

jcaste Posted 24 Oct 2008 , 2:20am
post #13 of 15
Originally Posted by ape74

You're welcome jcaste. It's good to hear you have questions and doubts too. I don't feel alone, lol...

Im sure were not alone!! icon_lol.gif As I said Im also a newbie & this website offers alot of help & tips. There is soooooo much that its hard to read everything & try to soak everything in. When I saw your title I had to read. hehe! Im glad I did. icon_wink.gif How long have you been decorating & how did you start?

I just started last month & Im taking the Wilton classes. It's just that the classes are only 2 hours long & its just not enough time to learn everything so I just have to learn as I go & practice at home.

ape74 Posted 24 Oct 2008 , 3:34am
post #14 of 15

I started last month as well. I took Wilton course 1, but have not been able to enroll in second course due to the schedule/availability, etc. So, I also have been learning on my own and practicing at home. What courses have you taken? Yes, I agree.... two hours is not enough! Lol... I felt so rushed during my last class that I do not feel confident piping roses yet. I'm going to start practicing Course II on my own with a friend who is also new here. I love the basketweave technique and the rope border, which are also on Course II, but I hope to learn that on my own for now, along with the help of all the experienced members on this site who have been kind enough to help us out. Don't you just love this site? thumbs_up.gif

jcaste Posted 24 Oct 2008 , 4:25am
post #15 of 15

I took Course 1 last month & this month I skipped course 2 & went to course 3. Our instructor was ok with it, she actually encouraged us to skip to course 3 (duno why?) but told us we could always go back to course 2 next month. I was ok with it because my main attraction is fondant cakes. I love the look!!! icon_wink.gif I am planning on definitely taking course 2 & maybe even course 4 both next month but I dont know yet we will have to see. I am impatient. lol I want to be done with these courses & be this awesome cake decorator overnight. icon_lol.gif Im waiting on next month for our instructors Wedding cake workshop which I heard very good things about so I cant wait.

Ive made a few cakes but nothing that made me say "WOW!!" but then again we are our own worst critics. They really werent anything big though. Im planning on 2 cakes, one next week for a co-workers bday & then the following week a baby shower cake for another co-worker (friend). I just have no clue exactly what to do, there is sooo many good ideas in this website I dont now where to begin. I just hope they dont end up a big disaster icon_redface.gif

& Yes I LOVE this site. Its awesome!!

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