How Do You Smooth Buttercream

Decorating By sweetobsessions Updated 29 Dec 2010 , 2:08pm by Claire138

sweetobsessions Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 2:30am
post #1 of 17

I cannot for the life of me get my buttercream cakes to have a smooth surface icon_sad.gif How do I do it please help. icon_sad.gif

16 replies
graciesj Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 2:44am
post #2 of 17

I'm hoping this late reply reaches you well. I use the viva method. the viva paper towels are the best because it has two smooth sides. Allow your butter cream to crust(either in the fridge or out) for about 1/2hr. If your bc is too soft just add some cornstarch and it will crust easier. when your icing is harden to the touch then place the vpt over it and roll it with a wooden roller. I've used the sponge ones but found this worked great. If you go to "how" you will get a video for this to. I pray this helps gracie

kimbm04r Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 2:47am
post #3 of 17

Use a crusting buttercream, let it crust slightly, and use Viva papertowel and your hand or a fondant smoother to smooth the buttercream. This is the only method that I use to get smooth buttercream, I can't get a smooth surface with any other method.

microbiology1 Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 2:58am
post #4 of 17

One of my instructors used a similar method with wax paper. Wait for the buttercream to crust and then put wax paper over the area you want to smooth and run a spatula back and forth over the wax paper to smooth the buttercream below it.

Another method that is painfully tedious but effective is to use a hot knife or metal spatula. Basically, keep a mug of hot water next to the cake and heat your spautla over and over in the water. Remove it from the water, dry it very quickly with a towel and then pull the hot knife over the buttercream. The goal is to just slightly melt the buttercream. It takes a while to figure out how quickly to drag the spatula and how hot to let it get in the water. But the effect can be a perfect surface. This is also a good trick if someone sticks a finger in your cake or you need to 'erase' an error when writting on your cake.

simplysouthern Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 3:06am
post #5 of 17

Try the Viva method, I live by it. Just make sure you're using a crusting BC and letting it set until its not tacky to the touch. Then use the VPT to lightly go over the sides top first then sides. I say lightly buy don't be afraid to apply a little pressure.

I haven't tried the Melvira method, but plan on it this weekend. This is a roller method and from what everyone on CC says its pure genious!!!

GL and have fun icon_smile.gif

pmarks0 Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 3:13am
post #6 of 17

I use the Melvira Method. I now have amazingly smooth icing, and I don't use Viva paper towels because I can't get them in Canada. I let my buttercream crust, use the roller, then use a fondant smoother and a piece of computer paper.

KMKakes Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 3:17am
post #7 of 17

You can also use an icing tip, 789, and a disposable 16" bag.
Hold the bag at a 45 degree angle and lightly press the tip against the top of the cake in the center. Gently squeeze out the icing in a circular motion as you cover the entire top of the cake in one continuous motion with lifting up the tip. Make sure that the last outer ring of frosting overlaps the top edge of the cake as well as the sides. Now, start at the bottom of the cake and squeeze out icing as you slowly turn the cake. A turntable makes this job much easier. Keep moving up until the entire cake is covered. Then, smooth the top and sides with a spatula using the same methods as before.

You can go to for various videos of this particular method.

I will say that I haven't tried the VIVA papertowel method (but planned to oh so very soon) but the hot spatula and wax paper method have worked for me as well. Hopefully this can also work!

SugarKissesCakery Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 3:18am
post #8 of 17

If you are having trouble with getting your buttercream smooth, check out Sharon Zambito's video "Perfecting the Art of Buttercream." Her videos have changed the look of my cakes so much. Check out my pictures. You can tell which ones are Pre-Zambito.

tryingcake Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 3:27am
post #9 of 17

I hot knife (and I mean HOT - not warm) and apply real pressure. If need be I'll tidy it up with a paper towel or even a sheet of paper works as long as it's well crusted. It takes me just a few minutes to get my cakes smooth with a hot knife.

KMKakes Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 3:30am
post #10 of 17

Here's a link to the youtube tip 789 method:


cupadeecakes Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 3:43am
post #11 of 17

I use a Fat Daddios bench scraper for the sides and an offset spatula for the top. I use a blow torch to keep them hot (hot water just doesn't help me that much). I find that using an all butter icing is easier to get smooth. re are lots of videos on YouTube. Try searching for "Smooth Buttercream Tutorial".

BlueMoon73 Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 4:07am
post #12 of 17

Thank you, thank you, thank you for these postings!! I have the hardest time even doing the Viva method to get my buttercream as perfect as I would like! I will definitely check out all the advise and links here!! I agree that hot water does not make the knife hot enough to smooth the icing, blow torch is a great idea!

tryingcake Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 4:13am
post #13 of 17

I use boiling water - it has to be that hot to work. It melts the icing smooth as glass. My recipe is 1.5 cups of butter to 1 cup Sweetex.

cupcake_cutie Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 5:16am
post #14 of 17

I too struggle with getting my buttercream silky smooth. I keep getting air pockets when I use a bench scraper to scrape of the extra butter cream. This is before I use the Melvira method to smooth it. I'm going to try and attach a picture of what I mean. I think that it might be because my icing is a couple of weeks old and I didn't rewhip it before I started icing my cake. Also, I'm left-handed (when cake decorating) so when I ice the cake, I ice towards me clock wise. When I go to scrape it I go counter clock wise. Could this be part of my problem? I am determined to get this straight before I go back to school in a couple of weeks, so any input is greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance!

I couldn't get the picture to attach. icon_sad.gif

sweetobsessions Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 12:02pm
post #15 of 17

Thank you everyone for your tips. I will be trying another buttercream cake soon~

tenleysmommy Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 2:06pm
post #16 of 17

The best advice I can give is to get Sharon Zambito's ( sugarshak) buttercream video. She is amazing and her videos are worth every penny!!!

Claire138 Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 2:08pm
post #17 of 17

Am ordering the tip 789 now - Been wanting it for ages and this has given me the push to buy it!

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