Coloring And Smoothing Smbc

Decorating By GuinnessTigger Updated 5 May 2010 , 4:18am by ceshell

GuinnessTigger Posted 30 Nov 2009 , 7:12pm
post #1 of 9

I recently tried SMBC for the first time because I have personally never been too crazy about the standard 1/2 butter 1/2 shortening BC recipe that I previously used. I loved the tasted and it worked great on a white basic cake and under a fondant covered cake I made a few weeks ago. This past weekend, I made a 2 tier cake and smash cake for a friends daughters first birthday. The 2 tier cake was a light pink and the smash cake was a darker and brighter rose color.

My first concern was with adding the color. On the light pink 2 tier cake, I noticed that after a few hours there were some spots that dried differently than the rest of the cake, almost darker in color. I had a lot of fondant figures on the cake and was able to cover it. On the darker smash cake, the color almost appeared greasy. Is this typical of SMBC when it is colored or did I do something wrong? Should I try another type of buttercream? Any recommendations? (I should say that my husband and my friend didn't seem to notice what I thought was flaws, but it just didn't seem right.)

My second questions is how do you make SMBC smooth? Since it doesn't crust, I couldn't use the viva method. It did end up being pretty smooth, but I spent hours working on it. It never takes me long to smooth standard buttercream, so the length of time to smooth made me think I was doing something very wrong.

Here is a link to the cake:

Thanks for the help and suggestions!

8 replies
__Jamie__ Posted 30 Nov 2009 , 7:16pm
post #2 of 9

Coloring SMBC: Not a good idea to use traditional colors. SMBC needs a fat based color, like you would color chocolate with. The water based colors you use for regular bc and fondant just won't evenly mix and suspend in the SMBC.

Are you familiar with the Sugarshack smoothing techniques? I use that except the steps that you obviously can't because of the non crusting issue. Everything else works wonderfully. I end up with shiny smooth glass like razor sharp edges everytime.

I just don't do colored BC because I don't like to mess with the SMBC. I will do color in accent pieces with GP or fondant.

__Jamie__ Posted 30 Nov 2009 , 7:18pm
post #3 of 9

Good to use with SMBC:

On the second link, read the description for the product. 'Specially the first sentence. icon_wink.gif

antonia74 Posted 30 Nov 2009 , 11:18pm
post #4 of 9

I just copied my reply from a thread last year:

Here's my 3 biggest tips that I use every time for getting buttercream really smooth. (I use Italian Meringue Buttercream, but the technique can be used on SMBC too.):

1) use it when it's freshly made and room temp, that's when the consistency is perfect. After the last bit of butter & flavouring are added in the recipe, whisk it on top speed for 3 minutes then turn the mixer off and walk away for 30 minutes. Come back, switch the whisk for the paddle attachment and give it 2 more minutes on medium speed to get rid of the air bubbles and make it super smooth. It should be the consistency of soft whipped cream or soft-serve ice cream. If you have leftover cold buttercream that you want to re-use, let it come to room temperature naturally on your counter until it is soft...and whip it again to the same soft consistency. If you're using IMBC or SMBC and it's a bit cold when you start to mix it again, you'll notice that it seems to split and look curdled (like cottage cheese). DON'T PANIC and don't throw it out and don't add anything like icing sugar! The butter in the icing is just too cold and it needs a good mix to return to the right temperature. Just keep the mixer running and walk away for 5 minutes. When you return, it will be smooth and uniform once again, ready to use.

2) ice really cold firm cakes, semi-frozen if need be...but not 100% frozen solid. Torte, fill & thinly crumbcoat your cake and put it in the freezer for an hour. Take it out and immediately plaster it roughly with about twice as much buttercream as you'll really need. Huge tip here....SMOOTHING CAKES IS ALL ABOUT THE REMOVAL OF EXCESS ICING AND NOT AT ALL ABOUT BUILDING IT UP AND PATCHING!! I wish someone had explained this to me when I first started in the biz. It would have saved me years of frustration at trying to get my cakes perfectly smooth. Take your plastering knife (see point #3 for this & photo attached) and run it around the cake, digging in about 1/4 inch (5 millimeters) to get off the excess icing in one or two spins of the cake turntable. Now, take your offset palette knife and draw the icing in on top of the cake from the edges, about 4-5 times all the way around. The last step is to take your straight palette knife and draw it right across the top only once or twice to remove any lines. Done! Back in the fridge.

3) Toss those cheap white pastry scrapers, they truly aren't the best. Go to the hardware store and in the plastering section you'll see cheap, stiff plastic plastering tools with handles for a buck or two (see photo attached here.) Get a few widths, like 3", 6", etc. These are awesome!! They give you super sharp sides because they don't bend at all and they are the height of your cakes, so no lines appearing as you try to ice a 5" cake with a 3" smoother by going around twice on the top or bottom. These tools do it in one stroke! Fantastic.

GuinnessTigger Posted 1 Dec 2009 , 1:08am
post #5 of 9

Thank you very much for all the great information!

antonia74 Posted 1 Dec 2009 , 2:56am
post #6 of 9

Oh, and as for colouring it.....I use Wilton colours for pastel shades and Americolor for darker/stronger shades. See my pics, easy to colour. I get lots of requests for BRIGHT shades, lol!

ceshell Posted 1 Dec 2009 , 7:07am
post #7 of 9

Antonia74's method is THE BEST! I used to struggle with smoothing my IMBC cakes until I tried her suggestion and now it is SO easy to smooth. Highly recommend her technique! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

Lulu3535 Posted 5 May 2010 , 1:09am
post #8 of 9

I, too have had trouble smoothing SMBC in the past. I never thought to do it this way! I have also read that chilling the buttercream stiffens it and makes it easier to work with (which I have done before covering with fondant, but never thought about the benefits for smoothing!).

So excited for these techniques. This site is such a great resource!

ceshell Posted 5 May 2010 , 4:18am
post #9 of 9
Originally Posted by Lulu3535

I, too have had trouble smoothing SMBC in the past. I never thought to do it this way! I have also read that chilling the buttercream stiffens it and makes it easier to work with (which I have done before covering with fondant, but never thought about the benefits for smoothing!).

So excited for these techniques. This site is such a great resource!

To be clear - Antonia74's technique does not involve chilling the icing at all. You only chill the cake, and then the crumbcoated cake. Chilling the BC, or trying to smooth an iced--and then chilled--IMBC cake is what always used to give me a world of grief thumbsdown.gif . Use the BC while it's room temp, it is soo soft and silky and smoooooooths so easily! I seriously couldn't believe my eyes the first time I tried it.

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