Here is my problem: sometimes when I am smoothing on the icing, once I move my spatula back over the icing, the icing will pull right off the cake. Mostly its repairable, but crumbs get into the icing. I'm not sure if its my my BC or technique. I do smooth the final coat of icing with a Viva, so it will eventually be smoothed out. My BC is med.consistancy, is it too thick? How do I know what is the right consistancy? Any help for a newbie would be appreciated.
Rule #1 - never move spatula over already iced cake
Yes, you should be using a thinner consistency icing to cover your cakes. What's right is what works for you. Try adding a tablespoon of liquid to your icing until you can work it w/o problems.
I think rule # 1 should actually be "Never say never." What doesn't work for one person may work for a thousand others. Case in point - never running your spatula over an iced cake makes no sense whatsoever to me because I do it and teach my students to do it. Positive results with 1000 students plus all the cakes of my own can't be wrong.
I use a medium consistency buttercream to ice my cakes. Of course, your medium may be different from my medium. You can add a tablespoon or two of corn syrup to your icing to give it that extra little bit of stickiness which will help it cling to the cake. Another problem could be that your cake is a little soggy, like what often happens when you cool the cake in the pan and then turn it out to ice it without letting that surface moisture dry out some.
I always fight with that first layer, so now I I always do a thin layer of thinned icing, aka "crumb coating" and pop in the frig to set up. My second layer of icing always goes on much better. Good luck!
If you can't run a spatula over your iced cake, the icing is probably too thick. I've had that trouble myself and adjusting the consistency of my icing worked.
Interested in these answers, but mainly wanted to say welcome to CC cakes22! Hope you have many hours of happy decorating.
BTW, are you using a crumb coat?
Thanks for the advice! I really do appreciate it. I do crumb coat, but I am getting conflicting info from my cake deco instructor (not a wilton instructor, this is a course at a local college). She says she never crumb coats a cake !?!? Mind you, when we practice in class, her icing is very fluffly & easy to work with. Of course when you try it at home, it doesn't work. I think it's my icing.
When you add liquid, does it matter what kind of liquid?
I don't know why she is saying that. It's not like your adding garlic to the recipe or anything.....I used to always have my icing too stiff too....you will find your groove of what works for you...I use milk in my icing...some use water. It is not making you struggle...I think your icing is too stiff....my opinion. Deb
Ohhh...you know, I've had icing not stick well to a crumbcoat, especially when the consistency between the two icings was quite different. It ends up being a giant PITA when that happens!
As a general rule, I don't crumbcoat unless I have fresh-cut cake to ice. Can you post the icing recipe that she gave you? It might be entirely different from the standard American buttercream I thought you were talking about, which would then have different 'rules' for application/smoothing.
She never gave us a recipe, but her's is just crisco & icing sugar mixed with a little hot water, mixed for a long time (like 15 - 25 minutes, is that long??) made in very large quantities. I use a BC icing.
Whats the general rule for consistancy? Thick would be? Med would be? Thin would be?
Thanks again for your input
If you have lots and lots of experience AND especially if you have worked as a grocery store decorator (because of volume of cakes you have to do in short period of time), you can get where you don't have to crumb coat a cake when you ice it.
If your instructor doesn't crumb coat, that's fine. That's what works for her. She's not just learning the art. Just because she doesn't crumb coat, doesn't mean you shouldn't. You have to work out what works best for you.
That being said, it sounds like your icing is def. too thick/stiff. It will probably take you several cakes worth of expirementing before you find the icing thickness that is just right for you. The great thing about cakes is you get to eat your practice pieces!
The big cake icer tip works for me! I still do a crumb coat though....
Ive done dippiing the knife and I get carried away if Im in a hurry...so now I keep a small spray bottle...the kind of spray bottle you see in walmart in the hygiene depart where you can take your shampoos, conditions, etc...they have the little 2.4oz bottles with a lid.
I put a blob of b/c...and then I squirt it 3 times with water...and spread...sometimes I spray all the b/c, not the cake it self...and smooth out...very nice!!!