How To Smooth Buttercream Like This?

Decorating By Charmed Updated 28 Feb 2011 , 8:10pm by Kitagrl

Charmed Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 12:23am
post #1 of 37

I love this cake and I am amazed how smooth it is!!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chocolatemoosecakes/5467146282/
I don't think this is shortening based buttercream...maybe SMBC or IMBC. but my God I would love to be able to smooth my icing like this. Help!!! icon_surprised.gif

36 replies
KristyCakes Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 12:28am
post #2 of 37

Check out the Viva Method here on CC. Amazing.

KristyCakes Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 12:29am
post #3 of 37

Sorry Charmed, I see you are an addict. icon_smile.gif Could the spatula be warmed/dipped to get the smooth finish? You can kinda see the seams...

millermom Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 12:30am
post #4 of 37

I'm pretty sure this is SMBC or IMBC

Kellbella Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 12:31am
post #5 of 37

That looks like SMBC or IMBC and wow are those edges sharp!!! I struggle with my BC...I think it's just a matter of practice, practice, practice.

The Viva towel method is good...but I don't think that works with SMBC only shortening based icings.

millermom Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 12:36am
post #6 of 37

I guess I should have mentioned that when I have worked with IMBC, I use a bench scraper along the sides to smooth them. That way I can use the turntable as a guide, and know that I am getting it straight.

That having been said, mine are nowhere near as good as the picture you showed! icon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gif

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 12:42am
post #7 of 37

Looks like I/SMBC to me too. The sharp edges could have been achieved by the upside-down icing method. I think there is an article about it on CC.

rntyler Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 1:25am
post #8 of 37

I wish I could do that [/code]

tryingcake Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 2:55am
post #9 of 37

Hot knife, almost any old recipe you want. I love hot knifing. I found it to be faster and actually more reliable than the upside down method - which took forever (I hated it). It also removes any air bubbles - wa-la (totally awesome)!

Before you think the cake in the sample is perfect, notice the pouting lip around the top tier edge. This smooth as glass look can be easily accomplished (it's truly not hard) but nothing is perfect.

The last two cakes on this page are hot-knifed.
http://www.everythingplusthecake.com/tiered_cakes/index.html

and on this page all the BC cakes are (some better than others)
http://www.everythingplusthecake.com/other_cakes/index.html

While they are not all perfect, you can see the possibilities of hot knifing. Look at how smooth the Chief Wahoo cake is on the second link. I had only been decorating a few months when I did that one.

It's really not hard - and very fast!

NOT a warm knife- boiling hot!

rntyler Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 3:02am
post #10 of 37

Thanks for the tip I have a cake to do tomorrow I will try it. Your cakes look great. icon_smile.gif

Kitagrl Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 3:05am
post #11 of 37

You can get that effect with a non crusting icing and a 6" scraper.

rntyler Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 3:11am
post #12 of 37

What is a good noncrusting icing

Kitagrl Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 3:16am
post #13 of 37

I have a recipe on here that I've posted, you can check that one out.... be sure to read the extras I posted later as I've adjusted the recipe a tad since posting it.

Its the recipe I used to ice this cake:

http://cakecentral.com/gallery/1822712

And this one:

http://cakecentral.com/gallery/1859083 (The lighting makes the tops look messy on this one!)

rntyler Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 3:18am
post #14 of 37

Thank you

Jeff_Arnett Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 3:41am
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmed

I love this cake and I am amazed how smooth it is!!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chocolatemoosecakes/5467146282/
I don't think this is shortening based buttercream...maybe SMBC or IMBC. but my God I would love to be able to smooth my icing like this. Help!!! icon_surprised.gif


Go lookat some of mine...not bragging, but I can get a pretty smooth coating on a cake!

Go to www.webshots.com

and search "jsarnett"

My icing is about 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening.

I smooth mine with a 5 inch wide stainless steel bench scraper dipped in hot water then dried. The key is to use a turn table, reach all the way around from behind, hold the blade at about a 45 degree angle to the cake and turn the cake a COMPLETE TURN WITHOUT STOPPING! If you stop, you will leave a mark at each stop point. Takes a bit of practice, but it can be done!

imagenthatnj Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 4:10am
post #16 of 37

Look how it looks when they don't use their "smooth buttercream recipe."

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chocolatemoosecakes/2994002962/

infinitsky Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 4:22am
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

I have a recipe on here that I've posted, you can check that one out.... be sure to read the extras I posted later as I've adjusted the recipe a tad since posting it.

Its the recipe I used to ice this cake:

http://cakecentral.com/gallery/1822712

And this one:

http://cakecentral.com/gallery/1859083 (The lighting makes the tops look messy on this one!)




Your cakes are amazingly smooth!

There is a problem with CC and I can not see your recipes, do you mind posting the link to your recipe?

Thank you in advance. icon_smile.gif

tryingcake Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 5:16am
post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_Arnett


My icing is about 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening.!




The butter absolutely helps. I use a very similar recipe and use a pallet knife also. One swipe around and you are done!

I don't dry my knife though. Don't see a difference between when I do and don't. So, don't find the need... one less step. And it gives it a chance to cool down when you do that, that's not OK.

tryingcake Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 5:19am
post #20 of 37
Quote:




It may have some butter in it. It's not white-white like all shortening BC. I make mine with butter and tell my brides they cannot have white-white icing if they want the real thing (I use butter and either Mexican vanilla or almond - depending on the cake). It looks about the color of mine. So I'm guessing there is butter in it... or a dark extract such as almond or real vanilla.

caleyb Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 5:24am
post #21 of 37

Jeff - Your cakes are stunning!!! Would you possibly do a Youtube video of your smoothing technique for those who haven't been able to master it to see how you do it. I love your borders, also.

conchita Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 5:56am
post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_Arnett

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmed

I love this cake and I am amazed how smooth it is!!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chocolatemoosecakes/5467146282/
I don't think this is shortening based buttercream...maybe SMBC or IMBC. but my God I would love to be able to smooth my icing like this. Help!!! icon_surprised.gif

Go lookat some of mine...not bragging, but I can get a pretty smooth coating on a cake!

Go to www.webshots.com

and search "jsarnett"

My icing is about 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening.

I smooth mine with a 5 inch wide stainless steel bench scraper dipped in hot water then dried. The key is to use a turn table, reach all the way around from behind, hold the blade at about a 45 degree angle to the cake and turn the cake a COMPLETE TURN WITHOUT STOPPING! If you stop, you will leave a mark at each stop point. Takes a bit of practice, but it can be done!



I am sorry but this post got my attention I want to learn soooo bad how to do my cakes this way (smooth) and you are not bragging your work is fantastic all your cakes look so smoth. you also mention something about icing your cake upside down, how do you that?
thumbs_up.gif

conchita Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 5:58am
post #23 of 37

I would love to se a video too of your smoothing technique

kkbritt8 Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 6:09am
post #24 of 37

I also have struggled with my buttercream. I have watched several people on You Tube using their methods and I've been able to at least get my corners and edges a lot nicer. However, I struggle not so much in the smoothing of the buttercream as much as the texture. I've seen some say you should barely beat your buttercream until it is barely mixed together and then quickly take it off of the mixer to avoid air bubbles, but I've also seen many recipes that tell you to beat the tar out of your buttercream for anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Which is correct? Uhg! icon_cry.gif

mclaren Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 6:54am
post #25 of 37

How do you stop the icing from being discolored when using hot spatula / bench scraper?

The last time I made an orange cake with a bright orange BC (all butter) I was soooo upset with the result after smoothing it with hot spatula. The color of the BC became marbled. ;(

Prior to that I only used the hot spatula with off-white (original color) BC. Didn't know it would cause the marbled effect.

Jeff_Arnett Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 12:58pm
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkbritt8

I also have struggled with my buttercream. I have watched several people on You Tube using their methods and I've been able to at least get my corners and edges a lot nicer. However, I struggle not so much in the smoothing of the buttercream as much as the texture. I've seen some say you should barely beat your buttercream until it is barely mixed together and then quickly take it off of the mixer to avoid air bubbles, but I've also seen many recipes that tell you to beat the tar out of your buttercream for anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Which is correct? Uhg! icon_cry.gif


There's a secret to that too......

I make my icing in a 12 quart mixer in huge amounts at a time. However, it is pretty rough at that stage.

My secret is.....I use a Sunbeam Mixmaster counter top mixer....the old fashioned kind with two beaters.....to remix my icing prior to use. I also heat a couple tablespoons heavy whipping cream until hot in the microwave. I fill the bowl with icing, turn on low and rebeat for a minute or so, scraping the bowl frequently to be sure it is mixed....if too stiff for icing, the I add a bit of cream until I get the consistency I want....

You can never truly smooty icing full of air pockets and rough texture....when you rebeat it in this manner, it will be smooth as silk and you can see in my pictures.

The mixer cost about $90 at Wal-Mart but it's a great investment of you want to improve your work....and you could probably pick up a similar one at a yard sale!

Jeff_Arnett Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 1:01pm
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclaren

How do you stop the icing from being discolored when using hot spatula / bench scraper?

The last time I made an orange cake with a bright orange BC (all butter) I was soooo upset with the result after smoothing it with hot spatula. The color of the BC became marbled. ;(

Prior to that I only used the hot spatula with off-white (original color) BC. Didn't know it would cause the marbled effect.


I have seen that happen too....I assume it is some kind of reaction to the heat in the coloring....in that case I would thin the icing a bit with hot whipping cream first and use a cold bench scraper....it will still get it pretty smooth.

Jeff_Arnett Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 1:10pm
post #28 of 37

[/quote]
I am sorry but this post got my attention I want to learn soooo bad how to do my cakes this way (smooth) and you are not bragging your work is fantastic all your cakes look so smoth. you also mention something about icing your cake upside down, how do you that?
thumbs_up.gif[/quote]Thanks for the compliments. Here's a link to the upside down meathod.....I created it years ago in response to many requests on another board for a way to get sharp edges at the top of a cake.

http://cakecentral.com/articles/69/upside-down-icing-technique-for-perfectly-smooth-icing

Some have liked the method, some not.....it's one of those "if it works for you" kinda things.

TWO changes I have made:
1. Forget using parchment....it wrinkled from moisture....after trying many things, I found that good old Reynold Freezer Paper works great. Trace the outline on the pan on the paper side, then apply the icing on the plastic coated side.

2. Some people were getting air bubbles where the icing met the paper. Spread your icing on the board ALMOST to the edge of your outline....cover with plastic wrap and use a fondtant smoother to really go over it pressing it down hard until it reaches the edges of the outline.....this forces out the air bubbles. Pop in the freezer for about 5minutes then peel off the plastic wrap and proceed.

I hope this helps....getting a smooth finish can be VERY frustrating!

Jeff_Arnett Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 1:15pm
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by conchita

I would love to se a video too of your smoothing technique


I don't have a video yet....but my upside down icing demo uses the same techniques with the bench scraper for the sides....it might help you a bit....the key with a bench scraper is to use a turn table and make a complete turn NON-STOP!

http://cakecentral.com/articles/69/upside-down-icing-technique-for-perfectly-smooth-icing

Of course, you have to have smooth icing to get a smooth cake....if the icing is full of air holes, it will never really get smooth. Read my post on this thread about rebeating in an old fashioned stand mixer.....it's the best method!

lyndya Posted 24 Feb 2011 , 1:27pm
post #30 of 37

Bench scraper all the way. I swear by them.

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