I Need Help Making Smooooth Frosting!

Decorating By Angela93 Updated 18 Apr 2009 , 11:15pm by bakingatthebeach

Angela93 Posted 9 Apr 2009 , 5:07pm
post #1 of 20

Ok, I'm new to cake decorating but I'm determined to master it! one problem I have is the icing.... I dont know how to get it completely smooth without lines, marks and creases! I've mostly been doing birthday cakes so its not that big a deal to have not-so-smooth frosting but I have a baby shower cake to make in a week and I want it to look professional! Can anyone help? p.s. I know fondant is an alternative but I'm not a fanicon_smile.gif

19 replies
clovely Posted 9 Apr 2009 , 5:31pm
post #2 of 20

I've been doing cakes for YEARS and I seemed to be getting worse at it instead of better. I've been very frustrated lately. I was thinking I was just rushing, I was too impatient, or just no good! But I've been reading a lot of posts and following a lot of links here and there are new recipes and techniques I'm trying out. I'm realizing it's not necessarily just a skill - there are secrets I was not in on!!! But everyone here is so free with their tricks and tips and secrets!!

I'm anxious to try Sugarshack's buttercream recipe. But I also found this one...

1 stick butter or margarine softened
4 ounces cream cheese softened
2 cups crisco (all vegetable shortening)
2 pounds powder sugar

Cream butter ,cream cheese and flavoring. Add in small incremants the shortening and powder sugar. Mix on Medium about 7-10 minutes..... any flavoring works really well. Also if you are coloring it add the color when you do the flavor.

and I've found a bunch of interesting youtube links like these that have helped me a lot!!



I've spent hours and hours reading and watching these videoes...I'm learning so much!

Caralinc Posted 9 Apr 2009 , 6:06pm
post #3 of 20

Hi, The SugarShack's icing is sooo creamy and smooth. I just made my first batch last week and it was wonderful to work with. It is also very tasty. I did not use the Hi-ratio shortening as I did not have any on hand so I just used Crisco. It still came out beautiful. You can find it under the recipe section and search for SugarShack Icing. Good luck!!

tiggy2 Posted 9 Apr 2009 , 6:17pm
post #4 of 20

sugarshack's DVD "Perfecting the art of Butter Cream" is the best tool you can have. She takes you step by step through the process. Here's a link to her website http://www.sugaredproductions.com/buttercreamdvd.html You probably can't get it in time for this cake but it's definitely a must have. I have all of her DVDs and the last one "Boxes and Bows" is the best one yet. I can't wait for the next one to come out.

tracey1970 Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 12:39am
post #5 of 20

I use a variation of Sugarshack's buttercream. Following the tip on her DVD, I always make a full batch, even if I don't need it all at that time (you can refrigerate/freeze it). I find that filling the bowl really cuts down on air bubbles during the mixing. That will cut down on the number of bubbles on the finished cake. I also swear by the Melvira method of cake smoothing. Instructions for this can be found on the home page here - just scroll down. I ice my cake as smooth as I can get it with my spatula. I wait for it to crust, and then I Melvira the heck out of it. Love it!

BJ Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 1:08am
post #6 of 20

smooth icing takes practice. Make sure your icing is a thin consistency. After icing your cake and getting it as smooth as you can, put your cake near your sink. Turn your hot water on and get it as hot as possible (not blasting out of the faucet - you don't want any drops jumping onto your cake). The hot water is going to be for your spatula. When your ready to smooth your cake - run your metal spatula under the hot water. What you want to do is heat up the metal (usually only 10 seconds will do). Now I drape a towel over my shoulder and as soon as the metal is hot-I wipe the spatula dry (you don't want any water drops left on it). Now go right to your cake and hold the blade vertically and run the blade around your cake (one hand working the blade, the other turning your cake on the turntable). What's going to happen is the heat from the blade will smooth your icing so much- you won't beleive your eyes. The blade will start to cool after smoothing about 1/4 of the side of your cake. You don't need to apply alot of pressure - you are not trying to remove the icing, just smooth it. A little may come off so just wipe the excess icing off the spatula and then run it under the hot water again and repeat the same steps (dry spatula and smooth icing). Then move to the top of the cake. The heat softens the shortning/butter in the icing just enough to make it really smooth. This step isn't for removing any icing (even though a touch may come off) it's only for a final smooth finish. It's hard to write directions but I hope this helps you. Again, this takes a little practice but you'll see a noticeable difference in the smoothness right away. Once your done with this procedure - let the icing crust and than smooth with whatever method you use - I use parchment paper - some people use the paper towel method...Good luck. thumbs_up.gif

bakingatthebeach Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 1:13am
post #7 of 20

I think too, it helps when you run your mixer on low and add the sugar 1C at a time. Having a kitchen aid, I would dump all the sugar in at once an run that puppy as fast as it would go thinking I was getting it creamier, when all I did was get air bubbles in it which show on the cake. Now I do it slower and the icing is alot more smooth. The viva paper towel method (which I recently started doing) gets what your knife couldnt, works great.

prterrell Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 1:42am
post #8 of 20

Ditch the Wilton ps-shortening frosting and switch to a meringue-style buttercream (IMBC or SMBC). They smooth so easily and taste wonderful. Also, if the only fondant you've ever had is the Wilton stuff, don't give up on it! Wilton fondant is nasty stuff. Satin Ice is lovely and many CC-ers love MMF.

Angela93 Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 10:01pm
post #9 of 20

Thanks everyone for your tips!

BJ- you said after icing crusts, smooth with whatever method i use..... I have no method!!!!! I'm COMPLETELY new to this. learning on my own sooo..... what method should i use? i didnt even know i was suppose to do anything after icing except to decorate!!!! so if you have anymore tips for me, please share! THANKS!!!!


Nestley Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 10:12pm
post #10 of 20

The hot water is the best thing ever! I use a painters metal scraper and hot water to get that smooth look. It really gives the cake a more professional look. If I have a place where I just couldnt get it really smooth, I usually put some type of decoration over it. It works for me!

xstitcher Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 10:53pm
post #11 of 20

If you can't get Sharon's dvd's in time and I highly recommend all her videos (I would still try and contact her and she if can get it to you sooner, although she does ship pretty fast as it is) you can check out some video's on youtube to help. I know that tonedna and serious_cakes both have some videos on there.

Here are the links:


All the advice/tips you have been given so far are great, just thought a visual might help too.

BJ Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 1:41pm
post #12 of 20

After you've iced the cake and gotten it as smooth as you can, let your cake sit for about 15 minutes on the counter (or where ever you do your work on it). Your icing will form a slight "crust" after sitting. To describe it - if you touch the icing softly with your finger - it should have formed a slight crust to it and it shouldn't come off on your finger when touched. It's almost like it dries a little bit just on the surface. Once it has crusted - I take a peice of parchment paper (about 5"x5") lay it on the top portion of the cake and very lightly rub the paper to smooth out any lines that may have been left from the original icing of the cake. I move it to the next section and repeat. Then I move to the sides of the cake and do the same thing. Now if you don't see any imperfections left on your cake - there's no need to do this. If the cake hasn't crusted, some icing will stick to the paper so be sure the cake has crusted - you can let the cake sit another 10 minutes if needed. If your in a humid area - it may take a little longer......
This is just another way to make that "perfect" looking cake by smoothing it even more. Now some people here swear by the Viva paper towel method which is basically the same thing except instead of parchment paper, they use a paper towel. As I stated before - I've never tried it but from what I hear - the results are great doing it that way too. You can search "Viva" here on CC to find articles on that too.
Good luck.

bakingatthebeach Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 7:45pm
post #13 of 20

I have tried the parchment paper method, yes it works, but then I broke down and spent the money on viva, OMG what a difference, the paper towel wraps around the angles of the cake easier and I use my fondant smoother instead of my hands. Have been kicking myself for not trying this sooner.

cheyene Posted 18 Apr 2009 , 3:03pm
post #14 of 20

OK I want to try this VIVA paper towel method but do not understand how it is supost to be done. I bought them last week and tried it two ways and it did not work for me. I tried to lay it on and press lightly and pull it up did not work and I tried to wet it down and press and lift and that made it even worse. So what am I doing wrong Please help.

xstitcher Posted 18 Apr 2009 , 7:04pm
post #15 of 20
Originally Posted by cheyene

OK I want to try this VIVA paper towel method but do not understand how it is supost to be done. I bought them last week and tried it two ways and it did not work for me. I tried to lay it on and press lightly and pull it up did not work and I tried to wet it down and press and lift and that made it even worse. So what am I doing wrong Please help.

Please see the links I posted previously they will help you out with this method.

You have to wait until your icing crusts (when you touch it the icing does not come off of your finger) and then you use a DRY viva towel to smooth. Do not use a WET paper towel. When the icing "crusts" the outer layer becomes "dry" to the touch, if you use a wet towel you icing will not be dry anymore and will stick to your towel.

In addition to the links already provided, I will again recommend that if you can get Sharon (sugarshacks's) videos you do so. I know these links have been posted in this thread already but here they are again anyway:

Here's a preview of her buttercream dvd:

and the link to her site:

Good luck!

pigninnie Posted 18 Apr 2009 , 8:46pm
post #16 of 20

there is many differant ways i suggest tring them all until you find the one you like!

xstitcher Posted 18 Apr 2009 , 9:11pm
post #17 of 20
Originally Posted by pigninnie

there is many differant ways i suggest tring them all until you find the one you like!

Yup, lots of different techniques and once you do find on you like it's practice, practice, practice to perfect it. icon_lol.gif

lchristi27 Posted 18 Apr 2009 , 9:24pm
post #18 of 20

I use the hot spatula method and then the might MElvira method. i have never had good luck with the viva, I think using the sponge roller gives a lot more control than the paper towel.
Also, get Toba Garrett's book-"The well-decorated Cake" It has some great pictures and step-by-step instructions.

Of course I'm a HUGE fan of Sugar Shack, but not crazy about the frosting recipe. But I learned more from her videos than from anyone.

queenie1958 Posted 18 Apr 2009 , 9:27pm
post #19 of 20

I haven't tried the melvira method yet but I really like the viva method. Its fast and easy.

bakingatthebeach Posted 18 Apr 2009 , 11:15pm
post #20 of 20

What ^^^said, you have to wait 10 or 15 min for the icing to crust. I lay it on the top first, use my fondant smoother and iron away, you can press pretty firmly, you'll figure it out once you play around with it, then I let it lay over the side and I go side to side, up and down and circle it. The fondant smoother (plastic, 5 bucks at Michaels) is alot easier than using your hand.

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