I Don't Understand!!

Decorating By Hollysuann Updated 5 Jun 2009 , 9:59pm by BeeBoos-8599_

Hollysuann Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 6:37pm
post #1 of 48

I have been trying to perfect the art of smooth buttercream and crisp edges. I have watched all the youtube videos and have done searches and read the posts here on the forum. It always looks so easy! I purchased the bench scraper and the viva papertowels. I used Indidebi's buttercream icing recipe. I crumb coat, then once that is set go back and add a TON of icing and start smoothing from there. It still looks TERRIBLE!! I worked for over an HOUR last night on a 16 in square cake I am doing. I don't understand why it's not working! When I go to smooth using the viva paper towel, all I get are cracks in the icing. I am using light pressure and not pushing the icing (I don't think I am..) around. I was so frustrated I finally went to bed. Now I am not sure what to do! Any suggestions? (Sorry for rambling! I just needed to vent a little! icon_biggrin.gif )

47 replies
RetiredNavyChief Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 6:42pm
post #2 of 48

have you tried sugarshcks receipe? I tried it with the crisco and had no luck, towel stuck. then i tried it with the high ratio shortening and sugarshacks techinqe and receipe and it worked, i couldnt believe it. Also maybe your icing is to thick.

Donnagardner Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 6:43pm
post #3 of 48

http://sugaredproductions.com/
Go to this website and purchase at least the buttercream DVD. It is worth every penny for getting a nice smooth crisp buttercream cake.

messy_chef Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 6:50pm
post #4 of 48

Yes. You need Sugarshack.

Hollysuann Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 7:00pm
post #5 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredNavyChief

have you tried sugarshcks receipe? I tried it with the crisco and had no luck, towel stuck. then i tried it with the high ratio shortening and sugarshacks techinqe and receipe and it worked, i couldnt believe it. Also maybe your icing is to thick.




Hi ratio shortening? I have heard sweetex mentioned, but I can't get it around here. Also, If I do use the Sugarshack recipe how much icing does it make? It's 5lbs of sugar and 5 cups of shortening? That sounds like a massive amount of frosting! Maybe that is part of my problem too is that with my KA mixer the paddle isn't covered when mixing. Am I getting too much air maybe?

tiggy2 Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 7:44pm
post #6 of 48

Sugarshack is absolutely what you need! You can always freeze what you have left over and use it another time.

solascakes Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 8:06pm
post #7 of 48

Sugarshack is good,I live in UK so don't have high ratio, but I use half shortening half butter and I love it.

gerripje Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 8:14pm
post #8 of 48

I use the Melvira roller method. In Canada, we don't have Viva towels, but the roller is quick and easy!

Hollysuann Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 8:55pm
post #9 of 48

I will eventually order the video. This cake is due Saturday, so in order to get it done, I am going to scrape off the icing...add another layer of icing and cover in MMF. icon_mad.gif Maybe someday I will master the art of smooth BC!

Peridot Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 9:22pm
post #10 of 48

I love Indydeb's icing and don't have any problems with using the Viva method and have great success. On the other hand I do not care for SugarShack's icing. But I love her DVD's - worth every penny.

sadsmile Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 9:33pm
post #11 of 48

The hour might be the issue. If it is crusting already you can't clean up your edges without draging crusted bits away leaving lines and pot holes. Is this what is happening? Practice will help you get faster. I wonder if the lightest mist of water would help heep it from crusting while you work?

kyhendry Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 9:35pm
post #12 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollysuann

Hi ratio shortening? I have heard sweetex mentioned, but I can't get it around here.




Maybe you could try the Walmart brand of shortening that still contains Trans Fat (darn that Crisco for trying to be healthy - hee).

I remember seeing Edna making buttercream in a youtube video and she said if you didn't have sweetex try Walmart shortening with a little bit of whole milk added for the extra fat (her recipe is a smaller batch if you don't need too much. I think if you search tonedna on youtube you'll find all her videos.

sandykay Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 9:41pm
post #13 of 48

I have bought the Wal-mart brand and also Target, but check the labels, the last time I was in the store brand had both. I was in a specialty store and they had high ratio shortning and it was like $10 and looked to be a smaller container than Crisco, is that normal?

whisperingmadcow Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 9:43pm
post #14 of 48

At what point are you using the paper towels? It will crack if you let it set up too long. I do a crumb coat and let it set for about ten minutes. Then I put on the frosting, smooth as best I can, then let it set for another five minutes. By then my icing has just enough crust to not stick to the paper towels but it can still move easliy.

Hollysuann Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 9:49pm
post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by whisperingmadcow

At what point are you using the paper towels? It will crack if you let it set up too long. I do a crumb coat and let it set for about ten minutes. Then I put on the frosting, smooth as best I can, then let it set for another five minutes. By then my icing has just enough crust to not stick to the paper towels but it can still move easliy.




That could be the problem! I let it sit for a long time. Overnight to be exact. I thought it didn't matter as long as it had crusted. icon_redface.gif

JCE62108 Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 9:58pm
post #16 of 48

Aww. Dont worry. I think its just practice. Ive done probably over 4000 cakes in the last 2 years and I still have trouble with square cakes. Getting those nice corners have always been a little tricky for me. I dont really add a TON of icing though. I mean, I add it good and thick so that I have something to manipulate with my scrapper, but I feel like if there is too much icing on the cake it almost makes it harder to shape it the way you want because you have to scrap so much icing off as you are smoothing it. Maybe try it a little thinner. When you are smoothing it with a scrapper, you shouldnt really be removing too much icing. Always wipe your scrapper off on your bowl after every swipe so that you dont smear the icing back on the cake. Hmm, maybe Ill post a silly video of me icing a cake at work. I dont know if it will help anything. Let me take a look....

LOL ok I did this to show someone how I ice cakes. You might want to turn the volume down. There is a lot of background noise. You see I wipe the scrapper off everytime I smooth the cake. Ok dont judge me on this cake. LOL. Its for a backup, grab and go birthday cake. The whole thing is done in no more than 3 minutes from icing to decorating. Its not meant to be perfect. icon_smile.gif

Image


With this method I can get cakes pretty smooth, see attached photos. Its just practice. They are not perfect though. icon_smile.gif
LL
LL
LL

KathyTW Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 10:11pm
post #17 of 48

I recently figured out that I was making my frosting way too thick....now after watching JCE2108's video I'm thinking mine may still be a little too thick!

When the frosting is too thick it is really hard to manipulate and smooth, and once it's crusted completely it's almost impossible to get smooth.

JCE62108 Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 10:14pm
post #18 of 48

Oh no you cant work with it at all once its crusted. After its crusted the only way to smooth it is with paper towels or something but but never with a scrapper. We use simple syrup to thin our icing. It usually turns out pretty nice that way but I dont think its essential in homemade buttercream. Ive used it before and cant really tell much of a difference besides using that or water but I suppose you could try either way.

sheilabelle Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 10:27pm
post #19 of 48

OK JCE2108, you make that look sooooooo easy. It took me an hour to frost a 12x18 cake the other day. That was without decorating! I think (please tell if I'm right) that after I took my cake out of the freezer it wasn't thawed completely when I put on my crumbcoat. Then when I went to put on my final coat of buttercream there was condensation on top of the crumbcoat, and my frosting kept sliding around. Do you freeze your cakes? If you do, do you completely defrost them before starting to frost? Don't mean to hi-jack but thought this might be useful for others to find out too.

JCE62108 Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 12:28am
post #20 of 48

Our cakes are frozen. We dont bake them, they come in frozen and pre-sliced. It is BETTER to let them thaw, however we usually dont. We are usually in too much of a hurry. We dont crumbcoat. No time in our bakery, lol. We just ice and go. We ice it before it even has a chance to get any condensation. For just the everyday grab and go cakes we really dont take any time on them at all. I did 5 cakes in 20 minutes the other day.

HOWEVER, when we do wedding cakes we do wait for them to thaw completly. There are several reasons why you should not ice a frozen cake.
-as you mentioned, the condensation can be a problem
-it will cause your buttercream to harden from the cold, sometimes making it impossible to get a smooth finish.
-you can actually get large bubbles appearing in your icing as your cake thaws. I had this happen while I was doing a wedding cake. The bubble didnt start to appear until I was already decorating. I turned the cake and there was a quarter sized bubble in the side. I had to poke it and try to flatten it without messing up the design.

Hollysuann Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 1:56am
post #21 of 48

Wow JC!! Thanks for the video and the advice. I really appreciate the help. I know I just have to keep practicing to get it right! Sometimes I get frustrated and want to give up cakes altogether, but I love doing them too much! Thanks again!

TammyH Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 2:10am
post #22 of 48

Hollysuann, I noticed your in Warren, OH. I can usually order high-ratio shortening from my lcoal GFS. They never have it in stock, but they can order one for you...

TammyH

kakeladi Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 2:14am
post #23 of 48

........can actually get large bubbles appearing in your icing as your cake thaws..... bubble didnt start to appear until I was already decorating....a quarter sized bubble in the side. I had to poke it and try to flatten it without messing up the design........

You are lucky it was *only* a quarter size! Many of those wonderful blowouts can be as big as a baseballicon_sad.gif
If I remember right, the only time I iced a fzn cake - a sq- I had one whole side of icing fall off in a sheet icon_sad.gif Never tried icing fzn cake after that.....more than 20 yrs ago.

mpetty Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 2:19am
post #24 of 48

JCE62108, what a great video! My only question is whether you have carpal tunnel in that shoulder...5 cakes in 20 minutes, whew! icon_eek.gif

JCE62108 Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 2:21am
post #25 of 48

WHOA. That's nuts. Maybe condensation made it slide off? Id have to laugh if I had a baseball sized bubble in my buttercream! Not if it was a wedding cake, though. Id probably be crying. icon_sad.gif

JCE62108 Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 2:22am
post #26 of 48

LOL Actually my wrists have been bothering me since I got back from maternity leave 9 months ago. They never did before and now sometimes I cant even hold a spatula. Maybe it depends on the weather. icon_smile.gif

pipe-dreams Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 2:42am
post #27 of 48

JCE,
Where do you buy one of those scrapers?
You're cakes are beautiful BTW!

emlashlee Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 3:40am
post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCE62108

The whole thing is done in no more than 3 minutes from icing to decorating. Its not meant to be perfect. icon_smile.gif




I loved the video! When it was done I felt like I needed to click off my stopwatch and yell "time!". icon_smile.gif It makes me laugh when I think of myself hunched over a cake swirling my cake stand around and inspecting every centimeter of the sides to make sure my icing is smooth...and I never get as smooth as you just did!

sadsmile Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 3:51am
post #29 of 48

I think I need one of those big honkin spatulas!!! I love that is shows you put a ton of icing on the outside and then scrap a way while tuning to find a straight side. Love that technique!

Kitagrl Posted 5 Jun 2009 , 4:00am
post #30 of 48

I can get mine smooth "okay" with crusting bc (sometimes I get bubbles though...I can't figure out why some days it turns out pretty smooth and some days it doesn't. Hm. Oh well) but its easier for me to get a nice smooth cake if I use the whipped bc recipe that I uploaded here.

I still use the crusting more often because I think the sweet taste of the half butter/half shortening is popular...but the whipped is great for wedding cakes and such. (I used it in the white wedding cake in my photos recently, with black scrolling)

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%