Smooth Buttercream???

Decorating By softgreenside Updated 1 Dec 2008 , 11:20pm by sugarshack

softgreenside Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 4:55pm
post #1 of 16

So i've been taking classes at Michaels and i still don't understand how to make buttercream icing smooth. I add a layer of buttercream first then i try to scrap off the excess with my spatula and i put wax paper on top. I find this does not work one bit.

then i add my second layer and it still comes out looking like crap.

Any suggestions?

15 replies
Malakin Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 5:18pm
post #2 of 16

What recipe are you using for BC? Wilton? If so, when you scrape off the excess on the sides, are you using a hot chopping blade? Or just room temperature Wilton spatula? I always use hot scraper blade, dipped in simmering water, wipe with Viva, then let it sit a few minutes then smooth this out with a fondant smoother with a Viva paper towel against the cake. When I use my hand it smooshes and bends the BC out of shape way too much.

Malakin Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 5:18pm
post #3 of 16

What recipe are you using for BC? Wilton? If so, when you scrape off the excess on the sides, are you using a hot chopping blade? Or just room temperature Wilton spatula? I always use hot scraper blade, dipped in simmering water, wipe with Viva, then let it sit a few minutes then smooth this out with a fondant smoother with a Viva paper towel against the cake. When I use my hand it smooshes and bends the BC out of shape way too much.

BlondiezBakery Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 5:20pm
post #4 of 16

Hello! Welcome to Cake Central....I am new myself. icon_smile.gif

You will discover that everyone has their own technique that works for them. Also, what works for some does not always work for everyone.

I am, personally, still on the journey of finding out what works for me...but I highly recommend the following things to help learn different techniques.

- Search YouTube for icing videos.
(This is a video from TonEnda which is very good.....



(I just bought some dvd's and watched them last night. SugerShack's methods look really effective and I can't wait to practice.)

Boofycakes Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 5:35pm
post #5 of 16

I always use a thin crumb coat. If you haven't learned this in your class, you coat the cake in a thin layer of buttercream. Then refrigerate it just until the BC is firm. This prevents the crumbs from getting into your final layer of frosting.

I then add my second layer of frosting. When the BC has crusted a little, I use the Viva method that Malakin described above. I put a Viva towel against the sides/top of the cake and smooth with a fondant smoother. Like Malakin mentioned, I find that I get a smoother finish with the smoother and not my hand.

I don't typically use the hot spatula method, I don't personally like that way. But different things work for different people! And it also depends on the type of frosting you're using. Just keep trying different things until you find what works for you! And let us know when you find a method that you like, maybe we can learn from it! HTH!

indydebi Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 5:35pm
post #6 of 16

I use a bench scraper, too, to scrape off the excess. Then let it sit for a few minutes to start the crusting process ... then use the Melvira method (front page ... scan down thru the articles). If you are putting wax or parchment paper on 'wet' icing, the paper will stick to the icing and you wont' be able to smooth it.

My icing recipe crusts in just minutes. In fact, I can usually apply the icing, use the bench scraper, lay down the scraper, pick up my Melvira roller, and smooth it almost immediately. http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-6992-Indydebis-Crisco-Based-Buttercream-Icing.html

panchanewjersey Posted 30 Nov 2008 , 5:35pm
post #7 of 16

You really should toedna on You tube. She makes it look so easy.

kakeladi Posted 1 Dec 2008 , 1:13am
post #8 of 16

You'll never go wrong using SugarEd's DVD!!!
One word of caution: As a former Wilton instructor please, please *don't* use anything but the Wilton recipe **IN CLASS**icon_smile.gif
You can ice you cake w/what ever you want. But do the work in class w/the Wilton recipe. If you want to when you get home you can scrape that off and do it over w/your other icingicon_smile.gif

tracey1970 Posted 1 Dec 2008 , 1:34am
post #9 of 16

I'll second indydebi's method. I use a mixture of sugarshack's and the way indydebi does it. Once the icing crusts, Melvira it - the instructions are on this site.

sayhellojana Posted 1 Dec 2008 , 1:43am
post #10 of 16

Use a good BC, it makes it easier. Personally, I hate working with powdered sugar BCs because they are harder to smooth (for me). I like IMBC, you may consider trying that.

softgreenside Posted 1 Dec 2008 , 2:44am
post #11 of 16

so i'm pretty new to this site and decorating and a lot of the acronims (sp) don't make sense to me. icon_biggrin.gif

the only recipe i have is the recipe from Wilton.

As i tell people it needs to be dumb downed for me. icon_wink.gif

Unsure of this...

Viva paper towel (never heard of it) - Where do u buy it?
What is sugarshacks?
What is melvira?
what is IMBC?

cakemakerkevin Posted 1 Dec 2008 , 2:53am
post #12 of 16

Everyones style is different,I have to agree as i am also the newbie. One thing i have found to help me is: I do the crumb coat first, let sit for about 5 or so min then i put a nice amount on the sides and dont laugh at me guys and ladies, but i use a drywall scraper at least a 4" for the sides . Then after that is to my liking i have a stainless ruler picked up at WalMart size of 12" to square off the top. I let stand for a few min then i start with the Viva paper towel method (seems to work great for me)then "walla" after about 4 or 5 cakes and using hat boxes to practice on I have gotten pretty good ........ like the instructor

says "practice,practice, practice". and everyone is right this site is very addictive lol

Boofycakes Posted 1 Dec 2008 , 5:10am
post #13 of 16

Viva Paper towels are just a brand of paper towels like Brawny or Bounty paper towels (Viva is made by Kleenex). But the nice thing about Viva towels is that they are thick and cloth like and they dont have any texture. So if you lay them onto a a crusted buttercream and gently rub it you can smooth out any imperfections in your BC. You can by Viva towels at most any stores that you could purchase paper towels.

Sugarshack is a CC user. She has many photos, recipes, demos... etc. You'll see that name a lot around here icon_smile.gif

Melvira method is similar to the viva towel method, only instead of the untextured paper towel, you use a clean paint roller to smooth out your crusted icing. If you're on CC's homepage and scroll down there are a long list of different demos. it is there
http://cakecentral.com/article83-Quick--Easy-Smooth-Icing-Using-a-Roller-Melvira-Method.html

IMBC- Italian Meringue Buttercream. you can use the search tool to find different IMBC recipes.

here is a list of different shorthand and terms if you have any other questions icon_smile.gif

I hope that helps!

Boofycakes Posted 1 Dec 2008 , 5:11am
post #14 of 16

this edit is because my computer goofed and posted my post twice! icon_redface.gif

softgreenside Posted 1 Dec 2008 , 1:44pm
post #15 of 16

Thanks for everyone's responses. It definitely does help.

Just one other thing, does anybody else have issues with icing there cakes? I find mine are always so soft and moist that it crumbles whenever i try to add the icing.

Should i overbake them a bit longer than planned?

sugarshack Posted 1 Dec 2008 , 11:20pm
post #16 of 16

here is a long thread that talks about my icing and tips for smoothingicon_sad.gif the last few pages of thread were lost in the crash)




I personally think finding the right recipe at the right consistency is key to success. if you have an uncooperative BC recipe, all your efforts will never work. Of course, I like mine, But there are many wonderful recipes that crust just enough but not too much to give you success. Starting with a recipe with no air in it makes life easier too.

My technique uses a hot bench scraper, viva, typing paper ( or parchment) and fondant smoothers.

I find that the stiffest that you can make it and still be able to work with it gives you the sharpest top edges and corners.

It is a hard skill to learn, so do not give up!

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%