Hello all, I happened upon this site a few weeks ago quite by mistake and have been reading it and checking out the pictures constantly ever since.
I've just finished my first Wilton course and will start the 2nd course next week. One thing that has driven me crazy when decorating is that when I smooth my cake, it always seems to thin out the buttercream too much. It's barely noticeable on a white or yellow cake, but when I use chocolate or red velvet, there always end up being spots here and there (mostly on the sides) where the cake shows though.
I freeze the cakes beforehand, and I've tried both crumb coating and not, and have the same problem either way. I use a bench scraper and/or inverted spatula to smooth. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. My instructor said it looked fine, and maybe I was tilting the scraper, but I don't think I am - it happens on every single cake I do. What's worse is that I can't walk away, I just keep working at it and working at it which probably makes it look worse.
It's frustrating the heck out of me, especially because I'm not sure I want to do a ton of fondant cakes - I'd really like to concentrate on buttercream and work on my piping skills. So I need to figure out what I'm doing wrong and work on doing it right. I don't know... maybe I'm just too heavy handed with the bench scraper. Any suggestions or tips would really be appreciated. Argh!
I use the cake icer tip to put the frosting on. If you work carefully, it is quite smooth when you get done so you don't have to touch it up much. You don't really have to remove much or any icing so there are few thin spots. Here is a link to the tip and lots of information.
It sounds like you are not putting enough icing on the cake to begin with &/or yhou are removing too much in the process of smoothing it.
The finished icing covering should be about 1/4" thick.
Only other thing I can think of is your icing consistency is too thin. Let it be a bit thicker - don't thin it down quite so much with water (liquid). Work with the recipe until you are satisifed with it. You DON'T have to follow the instructions *EXACTLY*
Load the frosting on. It is much easier to take a little frosting off vs. having to add more then smooth it over again. good luck. also found out that the viva towel method to smooth out buttercream works well
I agree...load the icing on the cake. Icing a cake is more like "removing icing from the cake" than "applying icing to the cake". I suggest that you watch "how to ice a cake" by Edna on youtube. It's a great tutorial!
Thanks all for the suggestions. I'll definitely have to check out that icing tip. I've seen it in Michael's, but hadn't purchased one yet. I think at this point it's the only thing I haven't purchased!!
I definitely don't lob on a lot of frosting to begin with... I won't be making that mistake again! If I didn't wash a bunch of pans, mixer bowls and tips yesterday, I would be trying this again immediately. Ah well, tomorrow is another day!