Giving Up........

Decorating By gracie07 Updated 2 Sep 2009 , 1:22am by Jeff_Arnett

gracie07 Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 3:33pm
post #1 of 21

I'm so fed up with cakes. My buttercream icings always bubble of the sides of my cakes, or you see a line around the center of the sides from either too much icing in the middle or whatever. My chocolate icing always gets this milky greasy look to it and looks like a marbled chocolate. i made chocolate ganache yesterday, and it slid off the top of my cake. Even my regular buttercream starts to look greasy and cracks real easy. I tried putting meringue powder in my icings to make it hold up, and it doesn't help. If my icing is too stiff, it tears my cakes up. All of my friends and family love my cakes, but are so tired of me pointing out my flaws and complaining about my cake disasters. I just want a good buttercream/chocolate buttercream that will STAY put and not bubble or get greasy in this Texas heat. I don't have high ratio shortening, so should I use shortening with all vegetable oil or the shortening with half veg oil and half meat fats??? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thx for reading my venting.....

20 replies
Tweedie Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 3:47pm
post #2 of 21

The best thing I ever did was get Sugarshack's buttercream video and started using her recipe. Once you get the hang of it you can tweak her recipe to more of your liking if you wish (like some people use part butter, different flavorings, etc). I don't locally have high ratio shortening either but I order it online. Those things along with using Sharon's techniques for perfecting the buttercream have made a HUGE difference in how the end product turns out. Just an idea. I know it can be frustrating, especially when you see all the fantastic pictures on this site but it's just a lot of trial and error! Good luck and don't give up!

gracie07 Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 4:05pm
post #3 of 21

Thank you. It is frsutrating, and watching videos makes it look so easy but for me its not. Maybe i'll invest in the video, but I need to get that high ratio shortening too.

Texas_Rose Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 4:09pm
post #4 of 21

If you're in San Antonio, I know where you can buy high-ratio shortening. I haven't bought any yet, but I saw it at AGS at 1604 and Blanco. I just use Walmart's vegetable shortening, but I've noticed that HEB's generic is a lot firmer so I think I'll probably be switching to that. It has the trans-fats in it still.

Anyhow, are you using the Wilton recipe? You sound just like I did when I was trying to use it. I think it just doesn't do well for our climate, at least not in the summertime.

Here is the answer to your prayers: http://cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-6992-Indydebis-Crisco-Based-Buttercream-Icing.html

It holds up really well. You can experiment with flavorings too, or add liqueur instead of some of the milk, or flavored creamer instead of milk, etc...but the Dream Whip is like the magic potion that keeps it from being greasy and makes it behave just right on the cake. It tastes wonderful too.

Ruth0209 Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 4:19pm
post #5 of 21

I've learned the hard way that you have to let cakes settle after you bake them and after you crumb coat them. You need to bake a day ahead of when you want to decorate them. Wrap them up and let them rest. And you have to let them come to room temperature before you ice them, or you'll get the blowouts on the sides. Don't ever try to ice a frozen cake.

If you're tearing up your cakes with your icing, the icing is just too stiff. Add a bit more milk (or Half and Half - that's nice and creamy)and it'll go on easier. Mix at the lowest speed you can so you don't whip a bunch of air into the icing.

And relax and have a good time. This is supposed to be fun. But you do have to take the time to get it right or your cakes won't turn out nicely. And stop apologizing to everyone for the way the cake looks and pointing out your flaws. Most people don't see them anyway, and they really don't care. They're about to destroy it and get a great tasting piece of cake, so just let them enjoy it without a running commentary. Trust me, I had to break myself of that nasty little habit myself!

Mug-a-Bug Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 4:21pm
post #6 of 21

How long are you beating your buttercream? I was also having a lot of problems with it being greasy. I found that if you beat it longer that cuts the greasyness for some reason. It is frustrating, but the pros didn't come up with those amazing cakes on their first try!!

My cakes kept getting bulges too!! Do you do a crumbcoat? I torte, fill, layer, crumbcoat - then let the cake sit overnight to "settle". Then when doing your final layer of BC be sure that your icing is TOUCHING your crumbcoat when you apply it. Good luck thumbs_up.gif

bettinashoe Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 4:27pm
post #7 of 21

Ruth pretty much hit the nail on the head. Your post just doesn't make it sound as though you are enjoying yourself right now and that is key to being successful in anything you do. Remember, you are learning. Give yourself a break and accept you will have what you consider to be disasters. That is the only way you learn. I can just feel your frustration in your writings and you just have to realize we were all there at one time or another (I'm there at least every other week). If cake decorating were as easy as it looks everyone would be doing it.

Rosie2 Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 4:36pm
post #8 of 21

I feel your pain....I've been where you are and have felt how you feel. But, let me tell you...when I dedided to give up I thought----and what am I going to do with all these tools/gadgets/pans/cutters etc, etc, etc, I've accumulated???---
Even if I sold everything cheap I would never, ever recover what I've spend...so, provided that this just a hobby for me I decided to continue and, believe or not, I've improved and I even got to like some of my own cakes (only some, ok?) icon_smile.gif
And it's ok to vent, this is the best place for it...plus there's soooo many wonderful people here that will give you advice and help you through. They are a blessing!!
Good luck and keep trying some day you will like your own cakes icon_smile.gif

SpringFlour Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 4:39pm
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Quote:

so should I use shortening with all vegetable oil or the shortening with half veg oil and half meat fats???




I don't have any technique tips for you, it seems all the previous posts cover most of it. I do have to say, though, DO NOT EVER USE MEAT SHORTENING IN YOUR ICING!!! icon_wink.gif Eeew.

Mug-a-Bug Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 6:51pm
post #10 of 21

I missed the part about meat fat; PLEASE DON'T USE THIS icon_lol.gif

Also, whenever I start getting really frustrated with things I take a break for a while. Stop making cakes for a week or so. If you're like me you'll start getting all kinds of ideas and techniques you want to try. Then I can't wait to make my next cake again. icon_biggrin.gif

DianeLM Posted 17 Aug 2009 , 7:03pm
post #11 of 21

You've gotten lots of good advice.

Every summer, I threaten to take down the shingle for the summer months - this year especially! How anyone makes cakes in the Texas summer heat without ripping their hair out is a mystery to me. After last weekend's disaster, my policy now is FONDANT ONLY until November!

Maybe take a break until the weather (and you!) cools off.

Take advantage of all the help and advice you can get. The folks here don't take threats of quitting lightly. You'll have to get through us first. icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif

gracie07 Posted 19 Aug 2009 , 6:19pm
post #12 of 21

THANK ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR ADVICE AND ENCOURAGEMENT!!!! I really never get involved with forums and such but this website really does help and really does have so many wonderful people who are more than willing to help. I realize I've made a few mistakes.
1. crisco and i always like to use half butter, so there you go for greasy
2. water instead of milk cuz I heard you are supposed to eat the quickly if you use milk. How long can the icing sit out if it has milk in it
3. I don't mix on low speed, i almost beat it, so there is my issue with air and my bubbling icing off my cake
4. I DO crumb coat, but I may not always wait for it to be completely room tempicon_wink.gif and I don't always let my cake get to room temp before I wrap it up and freeze it

With all that said, i have read that lots of people ice frozen cakes. HOW? And if you ice a cake and freeze it, how does the icing stay on once it thaws out again? I do use the wilton BC recipe, but i usualy add more water or flavoring.
I have used the walmart brand shortening, but still my icing gets too crusty on top and cracks or my icing still gets greasy. I will try all these new tips and advice. Thank you so much. I feel better, and am looking forward to making my next cake.

gracie07 Posted 19 Aug 2009 , 6:23pm
post #13 of 21

And one more thing, I like to add white or semisweet choc to my BC icings, so does that make it even more greasy? I alwys hear of people using choc in their cakes and icing, but is there a special way to do that?

millermom Posted 19 Aug 2009 , 6:51pm
post #14 of 21

I add just a little cocoa powder to my BC when I want brown, just to make it a fun chocolate flavor.

Also, I crumb coat my cakes frozen, and then let them sit until they crust. That way, they are easier to handle when frozen, and have time to settle, as it takes awhile for the cake to thaw, and then crust. Also, I think the crumb coat holds in some of the moisture when it thaws.

Chin up, the last time I did cupcakes for pay, I was so disappointed in them, I wanted to cry; didn't even post pics on here I hated them so much, but the client was thrilled, and the girls at the party devoured them, so that's really all that mattered in the end.

Rosie2 Posted 19 Aug 2009 , 8:51pm
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by gracie07

THANK ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR ADVICE AND ENCOURAGEMENT!!!! I really never get involved with forums and such but this website really does help and really does have so many wonderful people who are more than willing to help. I realize I've made a few mistakes.
1. crisco and i always like to use half butter, so there you go for greasy
2. water instead of milk cuz I heard you are supposed to eat the quickly if you use milk. How long can the icing sit out if it has milk in it
3. I don't mix on low speed, i almost beat it, so there is my issue with air and my bubbling icing off my cake
4. I DO crumb coat, but I may not always wait for it to be completely room tempicon_wink.gif and I don't always let my cake get to room temp before I wrap it up and freeze it

With all that said, i have read that lots of people ice frozen cakes. HOW? And if you ice a cake and freeze it, how does the icing stay on once it thaws out again? I do use the wilton BC recipe, but i usualy add more water or flavoring.
I have used the walmart brand shortening, but still my icing gets too crusty on top and cracks or my icing still gets greasy. I will try all these new tips and advice. Thank you so much. I feel better, and am looking forward to making my next cake.


Gracie, I'm glad you feel better thumbs_up.gif like I said before, this is the best place (ever!) to find advice, tips, support, you name it! icon_smile.gif
Good luck!

IsaSW Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 6:11pm
post #16 of 21

gracie07

Have you heard about the VIVA towel method?
You have to read about it too here in CC. I have been baking for years and just this last weekend tried it. It works!!!!!!!

In my buttercream I use 4 tbs crisco, 1 stick of butter, 1tbs vainilla, you cream this at low speed, when it looks like its blended you add 4 cups of powder sugar, slowly, when the machine looks like it can take it anymore, you add 4 Tbs water or milk, and then Hi-speed for like 5 minutes. I use a Kitchen Aid mixer.
You'll get a nice buttercream easy to spread.

What works for me, is I make the buttercream the night before, put it in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator, the next day I let it sit outside for like 30 minutes, and it doesn't give me any problems.
Oh also, don't forget you bake the cake the day before. So its cool for you, it helps if its refrigerated, but its not a requirement.

I made a wedding cake this weekend with this recipe, fondant over it, didn't refrigerate the cake, because I don't have room in my refrigerator, but I am shopping for one this week, because I did place the 6" tier in the refrigerator, and it was hard as a rock, it was so much easy to decorate.
Hope this helps.

Here is a pic to prove it.
My first time using the SPS system too. I learned about it here in CC.
LL

IsaSW Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 6:18pm
post #17 of 21

gracie07,

I meant a Teaspoon of vainilla not a TBS. Sorry!

gracie07 Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 6:21pm
post #18 of 21

Thank you. I have tried the viva method and it does work great, but my prob is my icing. I have realized several mistakes I've been making, and can't wait to do my next cake to "hopefully" correct all those mistakes. Your cake is beautiful. This Texas heat and humidity is just not good for my cakes, so my icing gets greasy, but I'm going to try some new tips I learned on here. I've watched videos also, but they make it look so EASY!!! Thanks for your advice!

klat7292 Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 6:42pm
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth0209

And relax and have a good time. This is supposed to be fun. But you do have to take the time to get it right or your cakes won't turn out nicely. And stop apologizing to everyone for the way the cake looks and pointing out your flaws. Most people don't see them anyway, and they really don't care. They're about to destroy it and get a great tasting piece of cake, so just let them enjoy it without a running commentary. Trust me, I had to break myself of that nasty little habit myself!




AMEN!! thumbs_up.gif I think we ALL go through that phase; but you learn that there is NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT CAKE!! And I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Sugarshack's method!! icon_biggrin.gif Wonderful...and you can tweak it to your liking!! I've been using her method for a while now...a WORLD of difference!! HTH - Happy Baking!! icon_wink.gif

sadsmile Posted 29 Aug 2009 , 12:55am
post #20 of 21

Great advice in here! I would like to add one thing about the tearing cake when trying to ice... Load up your spatula and paddle it by slightly rocking back and forth with the blade while smooshing the icing to the cake and push away and out in one direction to lift your spatula back off the cake to reload it with icing. Glob that icing on there and push it into place. Never try to smooth a really thin bit out over naked cake-get more icing. You can always take away icing but it is harder to add a little here and there. Tonedna1 has great tutorials on youtube. Pay attention to the gentle motions she makes with her wrist that paddles the spatula along.



Just stick with it and shake of the blues. Have fun with it!

Jeff_Arnett Posted 2 Sep 2009 , 1:22am
post #21 of 21

Ok first of all.....been there and done that......

I've done cake for 30 years no and I remember those frustrating days when even if the icing didn't buldge out between the layers, you could always see thes seam through the icing.

One I switched icing recipes away from on that had added milk or water, that problem went away and never returned.

My icing is simply: 3 sticks butter, 1 cup shortening, 2 pounds powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon flavoring [right now I use a mixture containing Wilton Clear Vanilla, Neilsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla and McCormick's French Vanilla flavoring].

Soften butter to room temperature. Combine with shortening and mix with paddle beater on high until completely blended. Add the sugar all at once and mix on low, scraping the sides frequently....the mixture is dry at first but will become creamy and smooth with mixing.

Add flavoring.

If the icing is too stiff, I heat some whipping cream in a cup in the microwave until very hot and add a tablespoon or two until the icing is thin enough.

I usually make a ton of icing on Sunday afternoon, then when I need to do a cake, I rebeat a portion in my Sunbeam Mixmaster Stand Mixer...makes the icing smooth as silk....you can also use a simple hand mixer to get these same results.....there will be no air bubbles to deal with!

If the icing is still too stiff, you can add a bit more hot whipping cream to thin more.


I level my cakes with a cake leveling saw, fill and crumb coat. I then chill them in the cooler for a few hours before icing. This icing only crusts a little bit, so I use the hot knife method to smooth it [actually use a 6 inch wide sheet rock spackling knife dipped in hot water and dried]. Once iced, if I don't want to decorate right then, back into the cooler. Once decorated, into the cooler over night before being boxed for delivery.

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