How Do I Get My Buttercream Smooth?

Decorating By somethingmoore Updated 21 May 2009 , 1:35am by erin_e

somethingmoore Posted 15 May 2009 , 3:54am
post #1 of 24

I've tried all the tricks...how do I get my buttercream smooth (like fondant)? I stopped using meringue powder so it doesn't crust as much, I've tried the paper towel and wax paper trick. My BC gets pretty smooth, but not as smooth as some of those elegant BC wedding cakes that I've seen. In addition to the smooth problem, my BC seems to crack really easily which can be really frustrating when trying to transport a cake.

Do I need to try another recipe? Is Italian BC the answer. I'm dieing to know the secret!

23 replies
jenna15 Posted 15 May 2009 , 4:06am
post #2 of 24

I am still working on getting my BC as smooth as fondant and I am getting better....but only thanks to the help of You TUbe. I know that sounds crazy but there are two people that give the best instructional videos....tonedna and criscake. They show you how to make the BC and the best way to get it smooth. I think you should try to watch these first. I learn best by watching and these vidoes really helped me! Just search by their name and all their videos should pop up. Also if you look in the Help tab, there is a different method for getting smooth BC usin the upside down method (I believe that's what it's called). Hope this helps! Good luck!!

jenna15 Posted 15 May 2009 , 4:15am
post #3 of 24

the upside method for icing is actually under Articles not the help tab. Sorry!

patticakesnc Posted 15 May 2009 , 4:25am
post #4 of 24

Mine is getting soooo much better. It was pointed out to me to make sure not to overmix my buttercream. Once you get too much air in it, it is impossible to smooth. (I think it was Edna that said it), but anyhow, the more I work with keeping the air out the better I am getting, also that bench scraper that I thought didn't mean anything proved me wrong, it is a definite must!

JCE62108 Posted 15 May 2009 , 4:42am
post #5 of 24

I use a flat tool to ice my cakes at work. We just call it a scraper. I dont know if most of you use these but they arent sold in michaels or joanns but you can get something nearly identical at an autozone or some similar auto parts store. It makes it soooo easy to ice cakes. You can ice them nearly glass smooth with the thing. The only real trick to getting your icing really smooth is lots and lots of practice. Even with using the scraper I still find that sometimes my edges arent as perfect as Id like and sometimes Ill take a wet finger and smooth down little areas if it needs it, but usually it doesnt need too much. There are lots of weird tricks out there but after doing 4000+ cakes I find that the only thing that helped me is practice and getting to really know the icing you are using.

Ballymena Posted 15 May 2009 , 4:44am
post #6 of 24

Check out "Quick & Easy Smooth Icing Using a Roller (Melvira Method)" on the home page on this site. I find it the best ever.

patticakesnc Posted 15 May 2009 , 6:11am
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCE62108

I use a flat tool to ice my cakes at work. We just call it a scraper. I dont know if most of you use these but they arent sold in michaels or joanns but you can get something nearly identical at an autozone or some similar auto parts store. It makes it soooo easy to ice cakes. You can ice them nearly glass smooth with the thing. The only real trick to getting your icing really smooth is lots and lots of practice. Even with using the scraper I still find that sometimes my edges arent as perfect as Id like and sometimes Ill take a wet finger and smooth down little areas if it needs it, but usually it doesnt need too much. There are lots of weird tricks out there but after doing 4000+ cakes I find that the only thing that helped me is practice and getting to really know the icing you are using.




I would love to know what tool you are talking about...can you post a picture sometime or something?

whisperingmadcow Posted 15 May 2009 , 12:33pm
post #8 of 24

I have to agree with Patticakesnc. Dont over mix the BC. I, too, learned that from watching Ednas video on youtube. I want to decorate like her when I grow up!

jamiekwebb Posted 15 May 2009 , 12:45pm
post #9 of 24

ice, then smooth with a bench scraper then use the viva paper towel. Works great I think.

JCE62108 Posted 15 May 2009 , 2:13pm
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by patticakesnc

I would love to know what tool you are talking about...can you post a picture sometime or something?




Here it is. Its just a flexable piece of plastic. Is this what you guys are calling a "bench scraper"? I thought those were thick metal. LOL I dont know we just call these scrapers at work. I love using them. I couldnt even imagine how you guys could ice cakes using just a spatula. icon_smile.gif
LL

jamiekwebb Posted 15 May 2009 , 2:49pm
post #11 of 24

That's not a bench scraper but it works just as well. A bench scraper is metal with a handle on it.

Brownie1954 Posted 15 May 2009 , 3:05pm
post #12 of 24

I certainly agree with the posts on here. I use to beat my BC for a long time, thinking it was helping it. I had so many air bubbles in the icing, I thought I was going to go nuts....I finally cut my mixing time way down.. I mix it just long enough to make sure everything in mixed up good. If I'm not wrong, the red scraper in the picture reminds me of a spackeling (is that spelled right?) tool, if it's purchased from a home repair place. Not sure what it's used for if it's purchased from an auto store. Everyone is right too....You have to practice and practice..... icon_razz.gif

Bluehue Posted 15 May 2009 , 3:44pm
post #13 of 24

Here it is. Its just a flexable piece of plastic. Is this what you guys are calling a "bench scraper"?

Yep, thats what we call them over here thumbs_up.gif - about $3.00 aussie dollars for a plastic one
Metal ones are about $7.00

Bluehue

JCE62108 Posted 15 May 2009 , 3:56pm
post #14 of 24

Yeah the bakers use the bench scrapers to cut their dough. We dont use them for cakes. Ive tried it, its just not as easy as the soft flexable ones. You sell them in Australia for cakes? I dont know that they are even sold here for cakes. Ive only seen something similar at auto supply stores. lol. I havent checked online though. Im sure they are out there somewhere.

Bluehue Posted 15 May 2009 , 4:06pm
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCE62108

Yeah the bakers use the bench scrapers to cut their dough. We dont use them for cakes. Ive tried it, its just not as easy as the soft flexable ones. You sell them in Australia for cakes? Sure do thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif I dont know that they are even sold here for cakes. Ive only seen something similar at auto supply stores. lol. I havent checked online though. Im sure they are out there somewhere.

Both Plastic and Metal ones are used for cakes - lol lol we are a funny lot over here - icon_wink.gificon_lol.gif
ANDDDDDD to smooth over fondant/regalice they are brillant.
If you GENTLY move the plastic ones over and over and over the suface it gives you a real sheen - if thats what you want.
I use them to smooth out my seams on my little mini square covered cakes. thumbs_up.gif

If ever you want one - just pm me - and i will shoot one off to you .
where ever that may be - icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif
Bluehue icon_smile.gif


mellee Posted 15 May 2009 , 4:24pm
post #16 of 24

I think you can get these scraper thingies in the paint section at a Home Depot or Lowes. icon_smile.gif

Juds2323 Posted 15 May 2009 , 4:31pm
post #17 of 24

I got my bench scraper from SugarShack when I ordered her video. I saw them the other day at target too.

Judi

Bluehue Posted 15 May 2009 , 4:41pm
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mellee

I think you can get these scraper thingies in the paint section at a Home Depot or Lowes. icon_smile.gif




Wow ! - really ? - ours have to be food safe plastic.
Bluehue. icon_smile.gif

Ballymena Posted 15 May 2009 , 5:27pm
post #19 of 24

Plastic is plastic. A lot of retailers like the word foodsafe because they can charge more and make you think that's what you have to have. I got mine in the paint section of Home Depot, they had a couple of sizes and I got them both for a couple of dollars each. Some Dollar stores handle them too.

Bluehue Posted 15 May 2009 , 5:44pm
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ballymena

Plastic is plastic. A lot of retailers like the word foodsafe because they can charge more and make you think that's what you have to have. I got mine in the paint section of Home Depot, they had a couple of sizes and I got them both for a couple of dollars each. Some Dollar stores handle them too.




icon_surprised.gif - don't want to have an argument here - but plastic ain't plastic - Not in this country - thats for sure.
Our plastics are certainly graded - and the differance between food safe and other forms is hugely different.
Our clear plastics are coded (drink bottles compared to paint thinner bottles) - and our opaque plastics are coded (Plastic Plates/Plastic Forks compared to plastic screw driver handles)

Just the same as i cannot in this country go into a hardware store and buy a foam roller to use when butercreaming a cake - good gad, i would be hauled before the Work Safe and Health Tribunial.... icon_surprised.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif

And just to go right off track and hijack this thread for a minute - we don't import alot of your margarines because of the colouring additives you have in yours. They just do not comply with our food, health and safety laws....I just mentioned that as an example of our stingent laws.

I believe you if you say you CAN buy a scrapper from any store and use - but we cannot.

Bluehue.

txnonnie Posted 21 May 2009 , 12:21am
post #21 of 24

I use copy paper to smooth mine.

krissycupcakes Posted 21 May 2009 , 12:37am
post #22 of 24

the plastic scrapers are considered bowl scrapers. i think i saw some at ac moore in the new line of baking products there yellow and white. i always got mine from product suppliers they would give them to us when we bought transfer sheet and chocolate. but i know they also have them at restaurant depot. but i dont know if i would use one from homedepot cause its sooo dirty there

Melissa2000 Posted 21 May 2009 , 12:44am
post #23 of 24

viva paper towels work great..

erin_e Posted 21 May 2009 , 1:35am
post #24 of 24

I'm still new at everything but I've been a big improvement as I've been going along. I still just use the crusting buttercream recipe from Wilton (I haven't been brave enough to try something else yet lol.) I ice it to the right amt and let it crust just a little once its crusted I've mostly used the Viva papertowel method. The thing is that I don't feel real confident with the bench scraper yet so I use my fondant smoother instead. The flat side is great along the base and the height is great for double layer cakes.

Just a newbie's point of view. icon_biggrin.gif

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