Help Me Stressed..buttercream Newbie..i Just Wanna Die!

Decorating By CC22504 Updated 8 Nov 2009 , 4:58pm by cabecakes

CC22504 Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 7:16am
post #1 of 18

Hey guys,

I am so stressed I am sick. I 've been baking pound cakes etc but never had a problem. I had a cake order for a spiderman first ever..I didn't want to do it because I didn't think I was good enough to be paid for anything. But it was for a friend. Anyway my buttercream was a disaster...however my friend took the cake and said they liked it. I couldn't even charge them I was so upset and stressed. I baked the sheet cake that morning two layers..and when I went to pick it up the cake board kinda gave way and created a dent in the top of the cake...I didn't have time to bake a new cake so I thought I could fix it with my buttercream...whoa what I thinking. My butter cream crusts over and won't spread. Then it will start to crack on me as soon as it gets dry. I don't understand. I've crumbcoated...not crumb coated...used roller to try to smooth it out. I've even tried to thin the icing out..when i spread it can see the layers between the will not smooth. I am using the basic wilton recipe I took one of the classes a few months ago.
2 pounds confection sugar
2 tablespoon merigne powder
1/8 teasppon butter flavoring/1/8 teaspoon almond flavoring..2 teaspoon clear vanilla.
½ cup of criso.
I used the recipe before and everyone says they like the flavor..but I can never get it smooth. I just feel like a failure. I just want to quitI dont know guys anything you can do to help me Please tell me what I am doing wrong!

I have a pic of the not so finished cake..when I figure out how to post it I will so you all can see

17 replies
three_sets_of_twins Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 7:31am
post #2 of 18

Why dont you try my recipe? Ive been using this one with no problems so far?
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla.
(if it seems to dry add a tablespoon or two of milk. This gets me the real thick buttercream for flower making. But I thin it out by using less sugar if I want it for spreading)
It crusts a little, if you want it to crust a lot then add 2 tablespoons milk mixed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch.
Im nooo cake decorating expert and Im sure some other ladies here will be able to help out!

Amy729 Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 7:35am
post #3 of 18

I would also suggest to make sure and double or triple up on the cake boards (depending on how heavy). If it gives in the least little bit the cake will crack.

Hope you next cake is much less stressful!

Texas_Rose Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 8:48am
post #4 of 18

Is this everything in your recipe:

2 pounds confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoon meringue powder
1/8 teaspoon butter flavoring/1/8 teaspoon almond flavoring..2 teaspoon clear vanilla.
½ cup of crisco

That doesn't look like enough fat or liquid for a whole bag of powdered sugar. I'm not a buttercream expert but that looks like it would be a very dry wonder it crusts so well with that much sugar to that small amount of fat. I use Indydebi's recipe (find it in the recipe section here) and it tastes great plus it's easy to work with.

About the cake board, I would suggest using foamcore boards. You might have to double up for a heavy cake but they're much stronger than the flimsy cardboard ones that we can buy precut at the craft stores.

And don't forget, doing cakes is supposed to be fun. If you're getting stressed out to the point of wanting to cry, then you're worrying too much. Making a nice-looking cake just takes some practice, and it still tastes good even if it doesn't look exactly like you were picturing in your head. Also, we're always our own worst critics. What looks bad to you probably doesn't look bad at all to someone who doesn't make cakes. You're used to looking at every little detail and analyzing it. The person getting the cake from you is looking at the whole cake instead of the details and thinking, "Wow! cake!"

JenniferMI Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 12:53pm
post #5 of 18

Any play in the board will cause cracks when you move the cake. I would just try another icing recipe. I am happy to share mine if you PM me. I use Hi-ratio shortening and crisco as the fat content.

Cakes can be stressful and you are trying very hard to get it right. Keep trying... you WILL get it. It just takes practice. It should be fun though.... I hope it gets to that point for you.

Jen icon_smile.gif

dstbni Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 1:10pm
post #6 of 18

Are you sure it's 1/2 cup Crisco? For that amount of sugar, my Wilton book says it should be 2 cups of Crisco. Adding more shortening might help some.

CC22504 Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 3:42pm
post #7 of 18

THANK YOU ALL for your helpful suggestions! But first and foremost for the "cake love and support". I do know it is suppose to be fun..and I want it to be! And yes i will add more crisco! I don't know where I got the 1/2 cups. I remember in class the teacher stated 2 cups but she wanted us to cut back and try 1 1/2 cups to make it "less greasy" but that class was just a starter for me and I wanted to use another buttcream recipie..I just didn't know which ones were good and which ones were bad. You 've given me recipies. And about the cake boards...I got that cheap one from micheals! I'm going to google those formacore boards someone mentioned and see where I can buy them! I 've worked with fondant and love it..and I wanted to do it in fondant due to my "buttecream woes" but it seems no one wants it! lol. They all say.."fondant is nasty" we want icing! Here is the south it is pretty I guess I gotta stick with the buttercream(I don't know what other types of fondant to buy..any suggestions on that one) Hopefully soon I will be a "buttecream master" icon_biggrin.gif I figured out how to post the picture so here it is

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 4:07pm
post #8 of 18

Satin Ice is very nice fondant. You can find it on Global Sugar Art. Their chocolate fondant tastes like a tootsie roll!

Good luck on your next cake venture! The bc recipe I use calls for 1-1/3 cup crisco, 2 pounds sugar, about half a packet of Dream Whip, and about a tablespoon of flavoring. After that I mix in 1/3 to 1/2 cup milk to thin it out. That's indydebi's recipe and everyone loves it. My brother compared it to crack cocaine!

JustToEatCake Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 4:19pm
post #9 of 18

I just want to tell you that I am a newbie myself and my first foray into buttercream frosting making was with indydebs and it worked out wonderfully! When I tasted it in from the bowl it tasted a bit grainy but once on the cake and crusted it was wonderful! I added a bit of lemon extract and it was creamy and delish and spreadable. Honestly it was so easy and worked well I'd highly recommend it. If I can get it to come out right I KNOW you can. And it wasn't made with high ratio shortening and it tasted and worked like it WAS! Good luck!

Kitagrl Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 4:21pm
post #10 of 18

Your cake looks fine!!!!

I use half butter and half shortening....1 cup butter, 1 cup shortening, 2 lbs sugar, a dump of vanilla (haha) and I also add milk until its the consistency I want. The butter (esp if its salted) helps cut the sweetness and adds nice flavor.

KathysCC Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 4:50pm
post #11 of 18

Take a deep breath. icon_smile.gif It just sounds like you made a few mistakes that we probably all made in our earlier years....not enough board support, buttercream happens to everyone.

The most important thing is that you learn as you go. I don't think any class or tutorial can teach EVERYTHING that can or will go wrong...experience teaches that. Keep practicing and you will get better and better. I think everyone struggles for smooth buttercream. What helped me the most wasn't necessarily changing recipes but techniques that I learned here, like the Viva paper towel method and watching Sharon's video on buttercream.

I think your spiderman cake is cute. Don't be so hard on yourself. The best thing about cakes is that they get eaten up so whatever mistakes you made will be forgotten tomorrow by everyone except you. icon_biggrin.gif

CC22504 Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 8:31pm
post #12 of 18

You guys are so right!! I just got a call from my friend(actually he is a workmate of my hubbys) and he said EVERYONE loved the cake...and people were going up for 2nds some even thirds and he only got to take a small piece home with him. He said it was a big hit!! I am spasing right now I really can't believe they loved it! icon_eek.gif And I am so greatful and relieved that they did. I am so stoked icon_lol.gif

Adevag Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 10:31pm
post #13 of 18

Kitagrl, I always use a little salt as well even when recipes call for unsalted butter. Also when I make a ganache. It might just be me but I love it.

tigerhawk83 Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 11:05pm
post #14 of 18

I had kind of a skimpy board under sheetcakes a month ago - plus transported them 250 miles to my sister's anniversary. I got lots of those crinkles in my crusted buttercream and was disappointed until my dad asked at the party "How did you get all those neat crinkles in the frosting?"

Reinforced to me that what we notice - others might not. But I am going to use sturdier boards under my sheetcakes from now on. thumbs_up.gif

mmdiez10 Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 11:08pm
post #15 of 18

Your spiderman cake looks fine. Don't get discouraged. Definitely the proportions in your recipe are off. Too much 10X to too little shortening. Try Indydebi's icing, you will love it. Very easy. Keep up the good work and remember caking is not only fun, it is delicious.

CC22504 Posted 8 Nov 2009 , 1:20am
post #16 of 18
Originally Posted by tigerhawk83

I had kind of a skimpy board under sheetcakes a month ago - plus transported them 250 miles to my sister's anniversary. I got lots of those crinkles in my crusted buttercream and was disappointed until my dad asked at the party "How did you get all those neat crinkles in the frosting?"

Reinforced to me that what we notice - others might not. But I am going to use sturdier boards under my sheetcakes from now on. thumbs_up.gif

Thank you..I often wonder why we notice every little thing in our cakes! I read someone that there are no perfect cakes..just great decorators who are good at fixing the mistakes..I need to keep pratcing to beone a good decorator. However I googled what someone suggested "foamcore" boards and I can't find out what they are talking about. So many different things popped up. What are you going to use?

endymion Posted 8 Nov 2009 , 3:56pm
post #17 of 18

Your cake looks fine -- love that Spidey head!

One idea I have for creating sturdier cake boards is to use multiple layers of cardboard and make sure that the corrugated "lines" don't go the same direction in every layer of cardboard. That way, there is less of a tendency for them to fold or warp on you.

It's easy to do with round boards, but with the rectangular ones I usually have to cut at least one layer of cardboard myself, because the ones you buy all have the lines running the same direction.

Again, you cake looks great and I can see why the receipient was pleased with it!

cabecakes Posted 8 Nov 2009 , 4:58pm
post #18 of 18

I think you did a great job on it.

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