Clueless About Buttercream

Decorating By cakecrazy09 Updated 1 Feb 2009 , 6:25pm by cakecrazy09

cakecrazy09 Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 5:20am
post #1 of 11

I'm so frustrated with icing!!! I'm new to decorating and started with the Wilton recipe. I like it because I can adjust the consistancy for icing the cake or for decorating. I didn't like it because it has too much air it and no matter how hard I try I can't get it smooth. I love Sugarshacks recipe it tastes great and is smooth as glass for icing the cake. However it's too thin to decorate with. Am I doing something wrong or should I use another recipe for decorating? BTW I'm following the recipe for KA 6qt mixer. I was so frustrated that I went and bought Sams club icing in the 5 gallon bucket. Guess what? It's too thin!!!! At the local baking store they sell a decorator icing 3pd bucket $35.00. Is this what I need to get? I'm spending way too much time on try to get the icing right I don't get to decorate as much as I would like. Any suggestions would be great.

10 replies
butterflyjuju Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 5:41am
post #2 of 11

If there is too much air, you are mixing it too long. It it's too thin just add a tad more powdered sugar.

DsLady614 Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 7:30am
post #3 of 11

You know, all problems with buttercream can be solved with practice. The consistency is changed using whatever liquid is in it and powdered sugar. Too stiff, add a little liquid, too soft, add powdered sugar. And keep adding it until it's right. I don't understand why we are so afraid to add powdered sugar. If it take half a pound to get the right consistency, so be it.

As for getting icing smooth, that really IS practice. There are several Youtube videos out there about it. Sugarshack has one and so does Serious_Cakes. Practice, practice and more practice! There really is no substitute. I'll admit, I have air bubbles in my buttercream, likely because I don't have the paddle covered. So you just keep going around filling them in until they are gone. Light touch... around and around... until it's right. I won't say simple, because mine aren't even close to perfect, but I'm getting better.

cakecrazy09 Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 2:23pm
post #4 of 11

Thanks for the info. Practice, Practice, Practice is starting to get expensive. I have used around 40 pds of PS is the last 4 weeks. I have it pilling up everywhere. icon_biggrin.gif lol. My cake icing is ok I don't have a problem smoothing it with the fondant smoother. Thats tips has been the greatest piece of advice. I stop spending hours trying to smooth it perfect with a spatula. If its a little bumpy so be it I know I can fix it. It's the piping icing that is giving me grief so I buy the Wilton icing for that. I have met a local person who is going to give me a lesson. I'm looking forward to it. Thanks again.

FullHouse Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 2:35pm
post #5 of 11

If you are getting air bubbles in the Wilton recipe, try mixing on the lowest speed, add just 3-4 tbs. liquid (including your extract/flavoring) per 2 lbs of sugar during the initial mixing, if it looks so dry that the ps isn't incorporating, then add more, about 1/2 tbs at a time until it is smoother, then finish the mixing process, check your consistancy and add liquid if needed, I like to get it pretty thin for icing & writing, medium for piping and med-stiff for flowers and such. The more you do it, the easier it is to judge where you're at as far as consistancy.

cakecrazy09 Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 2:39pm
post #6 of 11

Is it ok to add the liquid at anytime? All the instuctions recommend blending it in with the shortning first. I thought adding additional liquid as I went might cause the air bubbles. TIA

mandifrye Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 2:47pm
post #7 of 11

I love Sugarshack's icing and it is my regular BC recipe used on most of my cakes. Just recently, I discovered SMBC and now it is a regular filling that I use. Also, serious_cakes and indydebi both have awesome bc recipes listed in the recipe sections. With sugarshack's, I add about half of the liquid at first. Then I begin adding the sugar. If it becomes too dry, I add more of the hot liquid. I try to add as little as possible through the mixing process, because I find it much easier to thin than to rethicken (just a personal preference really). Don't be afraid to experiment. You can almost always fix the bc!

Also, for smoothing, I use the viva paper towel trick. That helps me more than I can tell you. It rubs out those imperfections every time!


indydebi Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 2:47pm
post #8 of 11
Originally Posted by vstar_pilot

I don't understand why we are so afraid to add powdered sugar. If it take half a pound to get the right consistency, so be it.


I'm confused on why folks think a recipe can't be altered, can't be doctored, can't be tweaked. I see threads where ".....I followed the recipe to a "T" and it's not working!" As Dr. Phil would say, "How's that workin' for ya?" icon_rolleyes.gif

If it IS broke .... fix it. thumbs_up.gif

SeriousCakes Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 3:43pm
post #9 of 11

I followed the recipe to a "T" and it's not working!"

I get this one a lot on youtube. I have an explanation next to my bc recipe that tells people if it's hot out to add less liquid, cold out they might need more. Unfortunately hardly anyone reads that part!
I agree with all of the above, mess around with the recipe you're currently using, don't keep making batches and batches, master what you have in front of you. lol-or as I like to say, OWN that frosting!

FullHouse Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 5:47pm
post #10 of 11

I also add the minimum amount to the fats (I use 1/2 Crisco, 1/2 butter), then the rest after the ps is in. It is so much easier to gauge consistancy that way. If you aren't happy with how the batch is, you've got nothing to lose by playing around with it before scraping it for a new batch.

cakecrazy09 Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 6:25pm
post #11 of 11

Alright ladies I'm headed to the kitchen to make perfect icing. I will beat the icing! I will let you know how it goes.

Wish me luck. I'm not leaving the kitchen until it's done.

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