Getting Buttercream Flawless

Decorating By lauriekailee Updated 2 Oct 2009 , 4:23pm by phoufer

lauriekailee Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 6:01pm
post #1 of 32

I know I have seen the tips before, but I don't pay attention because I am usually using fondant. I have to make a cake today for people who hate fondant. I am making the wilton piano. how do I get the icing to be very smooth with no lines in it?

31 replies
happy1mom Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 6:05pm
post #2 of 32

Let the buttercream icing set until dry to the touch (light touch) and then use a Viva paper towel to smooth the surface with a fondant smoothing tool. You can usually apply a good amount of pressure if you let it dry long enough (I wait about 15-20 minutes).

I'm sure there are other ways, but this is the way that helps me.

lauriekailee Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 6:19pm
post #3 of 32

thank you very much! I will try it right now!

xstitcher Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 6:29pm
post #4 of 32

Here are a couple of videos from youtube (one is from tonedna and the other seriouscakes - both cc members):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIXHFqpJK84&feature=channel_page
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqvL4zhVbE8&feature=channel_page

Here are some articles from CC that might help as well:
http://cakecentral.com/articles/126/quick-easy-smooth-icing-using-a-roller-melvira-method
http://cakecentral.com/articles/69/upside-down-icing-technique-for-perfectly-smooth-icing

Hope these help and remember these are methods used with crusting buttercreams.

terrijproductions Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 11:27pm
post #5 of 32

Have you ever tried marshmallow fondant? If the only reason you don't want to use fondant is because of taste, this recipe is an excellent alternative. Unless they don't like the taste of marshmallows. icon_smile.gif

Marshmallow fondant recipe:


16 oz White marshmallows
2 lbs. Confectioners sugar (approx. 8 cups)

Heat marshmallows and water in a double boiler or microwave until melted. Place half of the sugar in a bowl, make a well in the middle. Pour melted marshmallows in and add mix. Add remaining sugar 1 tbsp at a time and continue kneading (mixture should not be sticky, add more sugar if necessary.)

Tips: Grease your hands and the bowl. Also, let the icing rest overnight. It will be pretty stiff when you try to knead it again but it can be microwaved for 5 to 10 seconds (start off with 5 seconds) and it will soften right up and be perfect for rolling out and playing with.

Jeff_Arnett Posted 27 Sep 2009 , 11:56pm
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrijproductions

Have you ever tried marshmallow fondant? If the only reason you don't want to use fondant is because of taste, this recipe is an excellent alternative. Unless they don't like the taste of marshmallows. icon_smile.gif

Marshmallow fondant recipe:


16 oz White marshmallows
2 lbs. Confectioners sugar (approx. 8 cups)

Heat marshmallows and water in a double boiler or microwave until melted. Place half of the sugar in a bowl, make a well in the middle. Pour melted marshmallows in and add mix. Add remaining sugar 1 tbsp at a time and continue kneading (mixture should not be sticky, add more sugar if necessary.)

Tips: Grease your hands and the bowl. Also, let the icing rest overnight. It will be pretty stiff when you try to knead it again but it can be microwaved for 5 to 10 seconds (start off with 5 seconds) and it will soften right up and be perfect for rolling out and playing with.


Have any of you had any problems with MMF becoming super sticky on a cake. I made some up last week and colored it red, blue, green and yellow for my nephew's cake. The party was Saturday and the cake looked great. We had to drive about an hour so the cake was boxed. It was raining that day too. By the time we got to the venue, the fondant accents were getting pretty shiny and by the time the cut the cake they were beginning to almost liquify.

Anyone else have problems with MMF and humidity?

happy1mom Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 4:23am
post #7 of 32

It gets pretty humid here in San Antonio. When I deliver fondant cakes, I don't box them or cover them. I haven't had a problem with it getting sticky.

CakeVision Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 4:39am
post #8 of 32

You can also use "high density foam roller" from hardware store. I used this idea for the first time this weekend and LOVE it!!! Used on Cream Cheese Icing, and worked like a dream. Let the cake crust like the viva/fondant tool method, then just roll away the imperfections.

catlharper Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 5:03am
post #9 of 32

I use the Viva trick and it works pretty much every time with no problems! I'm with those who said to try MMF. There use to only be one person in my family who would touch the fondant...until I started making MMF...now everyone fights over the fondant and the embellishments! My mom, who used to be VERY vocal about hating fondant, is now equally as vocal about how yummy my MMF is! I love making it and working with it!

Having said that, the next cake I have coming up is buttercream so I will most definitely be doing the Viva move!

Cat

ailika Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 5:29am
post #10 of 32

I tried the mmf recipe, it's easy to make I added a tsp of vanilla extract to mine and ppl who didn't like fondant loved this one.

phia_alarcon Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 5:33am
post #11 of 32

Jeff_Arnett, that same thing happens to me also..Yesterday I deliver a cake covered with MMF, it gets too shiny..but not to the point that it liquify. We had a great storm a few day now and I think its the humidity that makes the MMF soft and shiny. Is there anyone who knows any idea to avoid this with MMF? Please share it with us..If not..I think I'll be staying with buttercream and use MMF when its fine day.Thanks

minicuppie Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 12:15pm
post #12 of 32

I am pretty sure that tools from a hardware store are not food safe. Maybe you could cover the foam with foil or plastic wrap. Don't get me wrong, I am not a member of the food police...just a mom who's pregnant daughter came close to dying from food poisoning a few weeks ago.

dnrlee Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 12:36pm
post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_Arnett

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrijproductions

Have you ever tried marshmallow fondant? If the only reason you don't want to use fondant is because of taste, this recipe is an excellent alternative. Unless they don't like the taste of marshmallows. icon_smile.gif

Marshmallow fondant recipe:


16 oz White marshmallows
2 lbs. Confectioners sugar (approx. 8 cups)

Heat marshmallows and water in a double boiler or microwave until melted. Place half of the sugar in a bowl, make a well in the middle. Pour melted marshmallows in and add mix. Add remaining sugar 1 tbsp at a time and continue kneading (mixture should not be sticky, add more sugar if necessary.)

Tips: Grease your hands and the bowl. Also, let the icing rest overnight. It will be pretty stiff when you try to knead it again but it can be microwaved for 5 to 10 seconds (start off with 5 seconds) and it will soften right up and be perfect for rolling out and playing with.

Have any of you had any problems with MMF becoming super sticky on a cake. I made some up last week and colored it red, blue, green and yellow for my nephew's cake. The party was Saturday and the cake looked great. We had to drive about an hour so the cake was boxed. It was raining that day too. By the time we got to the venue, the fondant accents were getting pretty shiny and by the time the cut the cake they were beginning to almost liquify.

Anyone else have problems with MMF and humidity?



I'll have to try this one. I tried one a couple of weeks ago that included lemon juice, lemon extract, salt and corn syrup. It was a DISASTER! It really made me want to give up on making my own fondant. I can't wait to try this one though!

all4cake Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 12:57pm
post #14 of 32

Lately, I've been sticking the smooth-as-I-can-get-it tiers into the deep freezer for about 10-15 minutes(ice one, put it into the freezer, ice another stick it in there, until they're all iced. then, beginning with the first one...)bring it out and begin scraping...at first, it seems like it's just scraping, but as the icing begins to thaw and condensate, it gets easier. you can scrape down any imperfections and fill the pits and holes as you go...the sharp, crisp top edge is perfect....just keep using any icing scraped off to build any low areas. If it warms up before you're done, stick it back in the freezer...that little bit of time in the freezer is just enough time to harden the icing...

Kerry_Kake Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 4:16pm
post #15 of 32

lauriekaylee, can you even get Viva there? I can't buy it here in eastern Canada. What I've been doing is either using a warm wet spatula and fine misting the cake with water and then smooth or like CakeVision suggested use a high density foam roller....which works wonderful. I have also tried the Viva method by crossing the border in Maine and purchasing it there....I really like this method also. Since I've had these last two methods I haven't used the wet spatula method (however it worded very well too).

And.....practice, practice, practice! icon_smile.gif

edited to add...
I use the homemade marshmallow fondant however not everyone likes the texture! Most everyone around here was brought up on buttercream. But if you put enough buttercream under the fondant they can peel it off and just eat the buttercream if they prefer.

PTBUGZY1 Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 4:41pm
post #16 of 32

Kerry_kake, If you have no Viva papertowles greaseproof paper works well in it's place. icon_smile.gif

Kerry_Kake Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 4:45pm
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by PTBUGZY1

Kerry_kake, If you have no Viva papertowles greaseproof paper works well in it's place. icon_smile.gif




I have tried the waxed paper and it doesn't work anything like the Viva does...unfortunately.
Luckily I have my Nexus card and I am only 45 minutes away from the states icon_smile.gif I think I will stick with Viva icon_wink.gif

cjcakie Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 7:04pm
post #18 of 32

the smoothing techniques really only work using American Buttercream (made with shortening or a combo of butter and shortening). I've found that only the hot spatula can get IMBC or SMBC smooth.

Kerry_Kake Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 7:21pm
post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjcakie

the smoothing techniques really only work using American Buttercream (made with shortening or a combo of butter and shortening). I've found that only the hot spatula can get IMBC or SMBC smooth.




I use a crusting buttercream and the hot spatula with the misting of the water worked for me icon_wink.gif
LL
LL

cbearsmom_07 Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 8:51pm
post #20 of 32

To ice buttercream smoothly my instructor told us to use a fine mist spray bottle and lightly spray the cake with water. Use your small spatula to smooth it. Don't saturate, spray as needed. Works really well.

lauriekailee Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 8:51pm
post #21 of 32

thanks everyone! I use fondant and mmf all the time, but this was a group of my inlaws and their friends, and I would have never heard the end of it. I was told ahead by my mother in law not to put "that thick sticky icing" on it! I guess you can't convince some people! Thank you for all the ideas! I like the foam roller! Will get one and try that next time. I CAN get VIVA towels in Manitoba, but it isn't my usual brand to use.

CookieMeister Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 9:20pm
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbearsmom_07

To ice buttercream smoothly my instructor told us to use a fine mist spray bottle and lightly spray the cake with water. Use your small spatula to smooth it. Don't saturate, spray as needed. Works really well.




This is what I do too.

The biggest problem I had when I first started was the buttercream would seem to pull away my crumb coating as I smoothed it, and then I couldn't get the buttercream smooth no matter how hard I tried. Finally I figured that I was 1) getting the crumb coating way too thick and 2) it helps if you refrigerate the cake for a while between the crumb coating and the actual buttercream. Since then - no problems.

Jeff_Arnett Posted 28 Sep 2009 , 11:28pm
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbearsmom_07

To ice buttercream smoothly my instructor told us to use a fine mist spray bottle and lightly spray the cake with water. Use your small spatula to smooth it. Don't saturate, spray as needed. Works really well.


Assuming the icing's texture is very smooth without a lot of air bubbles, the best way to smooth the sides is using a 6 inch sheet rock blade [I get stainless steel with a handle from the paint section at Lowes for about $4...they're great!].

Ice the sides, dip the blade in boiling water, dry off with a paper towel, hold it against the sides and, without stopping, make one complete turn of your turntable. Repeat if needed. To smooth the top, mist lightly with hot water and smooth with an angled spatula.

You can get super smooth cakes with this technique.

Tee-Y Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 12:00am
post #24 of 32

The Viva paper towels- are they different in texture from other brands of paper towels cos I can't seem to find any Viva where I am.

lauriekailee Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 1:53am
post #25 of 32

Tee-Y: VIVA paper towels, from what I remember, just have a tighter weave (inprint) on them. there isn't a pattern and that is just the brand that is closest to a patternless paper towel. I have used a no-name brand and even the recycled ones with good results. You need one that isn't soft like kleenex-it has to be dense and kinda rough-I don't know if that makes sense! Hope it helps!

Jeff_Arnett Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 3:29am
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauriekailee

Tee-Y: VIVA paper towels, from what I remember, just have a tighter weave (inprint) on them. there isn't a pattern and that is just the brand that is closest to a patternless paper towel. I have used a no-name brand and even the recycled ones with good results. You need one that isn't soft like kleenex-it has to be dense and kinda rough-I don't know if that makes sense! Hope it helps!


If you cant find Viva, go to an auto supply and buy a roll of those blue paper towels they sell...they are smooth and pattern-less as well.

Tee-Y Posted 1 Oct 2009 , 11:27am
post #27 of 32

Thank you guys, now I understand icon_lol.gif !!

Kerry_Kake Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 4:12pm
post #28 of 32

deleted

Kerry_Kake Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 4:14pm
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_Arnett

If you cant find Viva, go to an auto supply and buy a roll of those blue paper towels they sell...they are smooth and pattern-less as well.




OMG-yes, why didn't I think of that???? What a great idea!!!

And I wonder why Viva isn't in my area icon_rolleyes.gif

phoufer Posted 2 Oct 2009 , 4:17pm
post #30 of 32

Kerry_Kake you can't buy Viva in Canada. I use the blue shop towels, they are the same as Viva

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