Smoothing Buttercream Scares Me

Decorating By crazydoglady Updated 19 Sep 2009 , 1:51am by adree313

crazydoglady Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 1:06pm
post #1 of 23

i made a cake for someone in our office.

the cake is delicious.
the decorations look pretty good.
i iced with buttercream yesterday and after it crusted i attempted to smooth it. i tried a scraper, large and small offset spatulas and viva but can't get it glass smooth.
i put it in the refrigerator overnight.
now its sitting on the counter, i'm on my third cup of coffee and the cake and i are just looking at each other warily.
wish me luck.

any last minute ideas?

22 replies
jewels710 Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 1:31pm
post #2 of 23

I often have the same problem...I HATE smoothing BC. No matter how hard I try the corners/top edge are the WORST!!! I can never get them "square".

Maybe you should wait til cup number 4...or 5!
Aw heck, just jump in and go for it!

Good Luck!

ninatat Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 1:35pm
post #3 of 23

it is hard to do, edna had a great video on u-tube, it is really helpful,

Jeff_Arnett Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 2:48pm
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydoglady

i made a cake for someone in our office.

the cake is delicious.
the decorations look pretty good.
i iced with buttercream yesterday and after it crusted i attempted to smooth it. i tried a scraper, large and small offset spatulas and viva but can't get it glass smooth.
i put it in the refrigerator overnight.
now its sitting on the counter, i'm on my third cup of coffee and the cake and i are just looking at each other warily.
wish me luck.

any last minute ideas?




Is the problem you can't get the icing flat or that it has air bubbles?

If the problem is air, try remixing a portion with a regular 2 beater stand mixer, like a sunbeam mixmaster....even a hand mixer will do.....will help smooth the texture.

If, on the other hand, you just can't get it flat, try my upside icing method....I created this several years ago to help some people on another board who were struggling with the same issue you are. You can see my pictorial at [mod edited for content. Please don't try to name the website that cannot be named.) in the FAQs section.

Someone also created a video demonstration and posted it on

www.youtube.com

Here's a link:




The main difference between her version and mine is:

1. I use thick, clear vinyl that you buy off the roll at wal-mart instead of parchment or waxed paper.

2. I smooth the side using a sheetrock blade [I bought a 6 inch side, stainless steel in the pain section of Lowe's for $4] and turntable to smooth the sides. I dip the blade in hot water, dry, hold it against the cake's side and reach around with my other hand and make a complete turn of the turntable WITHOUT STOPPING. I do this a couple times until completely smooth....no paper towels needed!

You can see how smooth I get my cakes by visiting www.webshots.com and searching "jsarnett" in the search box.

crazydoglady Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 3:18pm
post #5 of 23

thanks so much for the links!

i did watch edna's tutorial and i think i overbeat the buttercream and used to much whipping cream.

try, try again!

laceycakes Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 3:27pm
post #6 of 23

I have the same problems. Thanks for the tips!

tracey1970 Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 3:43pm
post #7 of 23

The Melvira Method works for me. There is an article on this site about how to do it. I wouldn't use anything else.

neecerator Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 10:35pm
post #8 of 23

I use 8.5 x 11" white paper and a fondant smoother. I use the crusting buttercream. Sometimes it's as smooth as a baby's bottom, and sometimes, I cannot get rid of the lines, etc. Good luck!

crazydoglady Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 12:16am
post #9 of 23

i checked out jeff arnett's method and am anxious to try it - thanks jeff!

Kiddiekakes Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 12:41am
post #10 of 23

I think it really helps if you can find a icing recipe you really like and work with nicely.It took me 4 years to find a recipe that I liked for smoothing,taste,texture etc...and when I did...the smoothing was easy.

bostonterrierlady Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 1:06am
post #11 of 23

Can you share your recipe kiddiecakes?

adree313 Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 1:12am
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_Arnett

(mod edited for content. Please don't try to name the website that cannot be named.)




i always think this is funny "the website that cannot be named DUN DUN DUUUUN"

i wish i knew what it was and why it can't be named. icon_confused.gif

anyways, viva generally works for me, but i can never get it GLASS SMOOTH like a lot of the amazing cakes on here. wish i could though.

Ladybug78 Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 1:20am
post #13 of 23

I also have BC issues, I made a cake and smoothed it nicely went to move it and the BC cracked-very frustrating. i need suggestions to

ninatat Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 1:44am
post #14 of 23

did you level your cake, bottom to bottom, it could be you just missed a bump, or the filling didn't settle, did it crack after you moved it, sometimes you can dip your spatula in hot water wipe off and go over again, the scraper i use viva, with fondant smoother, roller i just go down the line i've had mine get a wrinkly look on the top when it sets and i alway's wait till it crusts i just go over it again edna on u-tube has a great video, helped me but i still can't get them perfect. lol

indydebi Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 4:50am
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydoglady

i iced with buttercream yesterday and after it crusted i attempted to smooth it. i tried a scraper, large and small offset spatulas and viva but can't get it glass smooth.



A bench scraper needs to be used before it crusts. I have found a flexible, rubber bladed bench scraper (at least a 4" blade, larger is better) works much better than the metal-bladed one I used to use. Same with smoothing with a spatula ... before it crusts.

Put tons of icing on the cake, then remove the excess. Edna's video demos this part really well.

If you use a bench scraper after the icing crusts, you remove the crusted part, which is the key to being able to smooth it.

Viva, Melvira, parchment paper and other "rubbing" methods are to be used after it crusts, after the initial smoothing.

crazydoglady Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 11:40am
post #16 of 23

indydebi,

ohhhh, that makes sense! thank you !!!

Jeff_Arnett Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 1:53pm
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by adree313

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_Arnett

(mod edited for content. Please don't try to name the website that cannot be named.)



i always think this is funny "the website that cannot be named DUN DUN DUUUUN"

i wish i knew what it was and why it can't be named. icon_confused.gif

anyways, viva generally works for me, but i can never get it GLASS SMOOTH like a lot of the amazing cakes on here. wish i could though.




WELL....to be honest, I never new there was a website that can't be named....why in the world would there be a reason a website can't be named? Is this in the rules somewhere???

Jeff_Arnett Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 1:55pm
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_Arnett

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydoglady

i made a cake for someone in our office.

the cake is delicious.
the decorations look pretty good.
i iced with buttercream yesterday and after it crusted i attempted to smooth it. i tried a scraper, large and small offset spatulas and viva but can't get it glass smooth.
i put it in the refrigerator overnight.
now its sitting on the counter, i'm on my third cup of coffee and the cake and i are just looking at each other warily.
wish me luck.

any last minute ideas?



Is the problem you can't get the icing flat or that it has air bubbles?

If the problem is air, try remixing a portion with a regular 2 beater stand mixer, like a sunbeam mixmaster....even a hand mixer will do.....will help smooth the texture.

If, on the other hand, you just can't get it flat, try my upside icing method....I created this several years ago to help some people on another board who were struggling with the same issue you are.

Someone also created a video demonstration and posted it on

www.youtube.com

Here's a link:




The main difference between her version and mine is:

1. I use thick, clear vinyl that you buy off the roll at wal-mart instead of parchment or waxed paper.

2. I smooth the side using a sheetrock blade [I bought a 6 inch side, stainless steel in the pain section of Lowe's for $4] and turntable to smooth the sides. I dip the blade in hot water, dry, hold it against the cake's side and reach around with my other hand and make a complete turn of the turntable WITHOUT STOPPING. I do this a couple times until completely smooth....no paper towels needed!

You can see how smooth I get my cakes by visiting www.webshots.com and searching "jsarnett" in the search box.


ddaigle Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 2:20pm
post #19 of 23

Icing glass smooth is the technique I learned and can actually do very quickly. I love that look on a cake. I have a couple of things I do to achieve this. A cup of super duper hot water from the microwave that my straight blade spatula sits it. A firm bench scraper and a spray bottle of water. Once I take off the excess with my bench scraper (sides & top) like Edna, then I spin the cake on the turn table and spray, spray spray the sides. I take my WET, hot spatula and LIGHTLY glide over my cake. If there is any tug what so ever...I spray more water. The spatula should glide like glass. Same for the top. The top can be a little tricky..it's alot of practice with the correct angle of the spatula. I end up with water around the base of my cake, but I tilt the board and let the water run off onto the table. Results are GLASS smooth. I use lots of water...the more the water...the easier the glide.

Jeff_Arnett Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 2:42pm
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddaigle

Icing glass smooth is the technique I learned and can actually do very quickly. I love that look on a cake. I have a couple of things I do to achieve this. A cup of super duper hot water from the microwave that my straight blade spatula sits it. A firm bench scraper and a spray bottle of water. Once I take off the excess with my bench scraper (sides & top) like Edna, then I spin the cake on the turn table and spray, spray spray the sides. I take my WET, hot spatula and LIGHTLY glide over my cake. If there is any tug what so ever...I spray more water. The spatula should glide like glass. Same for the top. The top can be a little tricky..it's alot of practice with the correct angle of the spatula. I end up with water around the base of my cake, but I tilt the board and let the water run off onto the table. Results are GLASS smooth. I use lots of water...the more the water...the easier the glide.


Just curious....you don't mention the type of icing you are using. Does all that water cause the icing to crust a lot? How do you get it dry before decorating it? I use the hot bench scraper method, but I generally dry mine before placing it against the cake....but I do sometime find it hard to get the top really smooth.

ddaigle Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 2:59pm
post #21 of 23

Jeff...I use a crusting buttercream. After I get it as smooth as I like, it is wet. I put it back in the frig to dry.

tracey1970 Posted 19 Sep 2009 , 1:32am
post #22 of 23

FYI - in response to a couple of questions on the subject...there are some websites that are blocked on CC. I remember reading over a year ago that some had to be blocked because CC members said negative things about them (especially if it was a business), and the website owners threatened CC with legal action if it wasn't stopped. In the interest of allowing CCers to continue to speak freely, but without also further offending some sites, the names of some of these sites are now blocked. I think that is still the case, but that's just my memories of what was said.

adree313 Posted 19 Sep 2009 , 1:51am
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tracey1970

FYI - in response to a couple of questions on the subject...there are some websites that are blocked on CC. I remember reading over a year ago that some had to be blocked because CC members said negative things about them (especially if it was a business), and the website owners threatened CC with legal action if it wasn't stopped. In the interest of allowing CCers to continue to speak freely, but without also further offending some sites, the names of some of these sites are now blocked. I think that is still the case, but that's just my memories of what was said.




oh, ok. thanks for the info! i'm fairly new to the site and that's probably why i didn't know about this.

and thank you ddaigle for that short tutorial. i'm excited to give that a try on the cake i'm doing for tuesday. i hope it works for me *crossing fingers*

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