Italian Buttercream, A Solution To Lumpy, Bumpy + Crooked?

Decorating By Rachael88 Updated 31 Mar 2011 , 2:16pm by sweetaudrey

Rachael88 Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 5:58am
post #1 of 21

I want my cakes to look like they are solid! I want a cake that looks like I've covered a piece of styrofoam it's so solid! I've been making cakes for a while, but I feel like the results are rather inconsistent. I have a delicious tasting butter cream icing recipe, but I don't know how "sturdy" a base it gives me for covering in fondant. The last cake I made I let the icing set in the freezer but after covering the cake in virgin ice fondant it got all lumpy and soft! I see in class and on videos women literally assaulting their cakes pushing and pressing their cakes into shape with their paddles...but I feel like my cake pushes right back icon_cry.gif lol I've just read about Italian butter cream, which is supposed to set better (so I read) does anyone have an opinion on this? Or perhaps its a fondant issue, do you think I'm using too thin a piece--can that add to lumpiness?

20 replies
Coral3 Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 8:49am
post #2 of 21

Do you get your buttercream as smooth as possible before covering with fondant? If you don't start with a smooth base you won't get smooth fondant.

sweetaudrey Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 1:31pm
post #3 of 21

I love the taste of IMBC, but dear goodness that stuff is nearly impossible for me to make. For some people...it's a breeze and they never have to think twice. For me....I couldn't make a batch of the stuff to save my life!! icon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif But if you can make it, I would deffinitely try it out. I agree with the above post too. Do you try putting the BC on your cake and THEN putting it in the fridge to 'set up'? This might be a good idea. This'll give everything a moment to kinda 'settle' and stiffen up. Good luck and best wishes on this IMBC! icon_razz.gif

sweetaudrey Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 1:33pm
post #4 of 21

Oh and I should mention that what I mean by putting it on your cake is putting the crumb coat on and then chilling it. Then once everything settles you can make adjustments to the cake if needed and then apply your final bc coat and then smooth.

diamondsmom Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 2:35pm
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetaudrey

I love the taste of IMBC, but dear goodness that stuff is nearly impossible for me to make. For some people...it's a breeze and they never have to think twice. For me....I couldn't make a batch of the stuff to save my life!! icon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif But if you can make it, I would deffinitely try it out. I agree with the above post too. Do you try putting the BC on your cake and THEN putting it in the fridge to 'set up'? This might be a good idea. This'll give everything a moment to kinda 'settle' and stiffen up. Good luck and best wishes on this IMBC! icon_razz.gif




I cannot make IMBC to save my life either icon_biggrin.gif but i've been using SMBC it taste just like the IMBC. only thing different is the method of making them. Great resluts all the time and U really can't tell the difference! it's Delicious!

AngelFood4 Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 3:07pm
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coral3

Do you get your buttercream as smooth as possible before covering with fondant? If you don't start with a smooth base you won't get smooth fondant.




Ditto to Coral3 - Fondant takes on very imperfection under it so you have to be sure you have a very smooth surface for the fondant to lay over. I like to chill the cakes for at least a 1/2 hour before laying the fondant over it. It makes it solid and gives you some time to smooth the fondant over it without smooshing the BC (there are a couple smoothing techniques using the upside down method on my blog).

I love IMBC! There is a great tutorial by FromScratchSF on how to make SMBC and I use her mixing method at the end with the egg whites when I make my IMBC:
http://fromscratchsf.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/tutorial-swiss-meringue-buttercream/

TexasSugar Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 3:20pm
post #7 of 21

I haven't worked with the cooked buttercreams but from what I understand is that cold they are hard, but at room temp they are soft again right?

So if it takes you a while to work on the cake the buttercream under it could be softening up and then you are mushing it around. Another thought is if you are rolling your fondant too thickly, it is adding extra weight, and that is weighing down the cake buttercream under it as well.

Have you thought about trying ganache under the fondant?

Rachael88 Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 6:15pm
post #8 of 21

Hey guys! Thanks for your replies! I'll give you a breakdown of the process I go through, I ice the cake and get it as smooth as I can then I let it set up in the freezer for about half and hour, I take the cake out and smooth/carve out any imperfections and then give it another light ice and then back into the freezer, smooth last time and I apply the fondant. The issue comes after I've put the fondant on...I'll smooth it down but it seems like as the cake/icing gets warmer to room temperature it just starts to get lumpy :/ so I guess I was just concerned I wasn't using a stiff enough icing to give me a solid base.

I use 2/3 c. butter
3-4 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

I've never tried ganache! I've used it in the middle but I always assumed that it would be too runny to act as a solid base....after you set the chocolate in the fridge does it stay set I'm guessing?

AngelFood4 Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 6:32pm
post #9 of 21

Rachael, sounds like your BC might be too soft.

The recipe I use is Edna's off designmeacake.com and it's 1 Cup Butter/Shortening to 1lb PS (approx 4 cups) to only 2 Tb Milk or Water plus some merengue powder and a tsp of flavoring. Her recipe crusts beautifully.

LindaF144a Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 8:29pm
post #10 of 21

The recipe you posted - you just mix this together and that is it?

This sounds like an American BC, which IMO is not a very good frosting to use under fondant. If you are smoothing it and then covering the cake without further freezing it the last time, it is having some time to soften before you put on the fondant. And ABC is not a frosting that you can work with to get it very smooth either, not like you can with SMBC, IMBC, Indydeb's, Ednas, Sugarshack - basically any other frosting out there besides ABC (there are others that will not work well under fondant also.i just can't remember them right now.) ABC will definitely soften quickly. It does not have the stability of the egg whites to help it.

If you have to use this recipe, I would keep the cake. The freezer til I have e fondant rolled out and ready to go. Then I would pull it put and cover the cake and smooth it. And quickly too.

But what you should do is not use that frosting under a fondant cake. Try one of the other frostings out there instead.

sweetaudrey Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 4:09am
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamondsmom

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetaudrey

I love the taste of IMBC, but dear goodness that stuff is nearly impossible for me to make. For some people...it's a breeze and they never have to think twice. For me....I couldn't make a batch of the stuff to save my life!! icon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif But if you can make it, I would deffinitely try it out. I agree with the above post too. Do you try putting the BC on your cake and THEN putting it in the fridge to 'set up'? This might be a good idea. This'll give everything a moment to kinda 'settle' and stiffen up. Good luck and best wishes on this IMBC! icon_razz.gif



I cannot make IMBC to save my life either icon_biggrin.gif but i've been using SMBC it taste just like the IMBC. only thing different is the method of making them. Great resluts all the time and U really can't tell the difference! it's Delicious!




I've tried SMBC...any of the MBCs I just can't get right. They all turn to soup. icon_cry.gif

scp1127 Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 5:21am
post #12 of 21

sweetaudrey, what brand and motor size is your mixer? I found that IMBC is a pain in my KA artisan. The motor gets hot and it takes forever for the meringue to cool. I have to stuff frozen vegetables around it and wipe down the head. In my Pro6 with the bigger motor, it's a breeze and comes together quickly. Just an idea. If I didn't have three mixers, I never would have known this.

sweetaudrey Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 11:15am
post #13 of 21

Well lucky you lol! lol Right now I have to use a hand mixer because I do not have the funds to get a stand mixer. icon_cry.gif

LindaF144a Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 1:51pm
post #14 of 21

Sweetaudrey- my guess is your IMBC and SMBC may have looked soupy when you stopped, but given time would have done it's thing. With a hand mixer you probably ran out of steam before that happened. And it will take a lot longer with a hand mixer than it would with a stand mixer, at least a stand mixer with more horsepower than a hand mixer.

They make stand mixers now that are the horse power of a hand mixer, only set up so you don't have to hold it all the time. I just looked and Amazon has one for $41.00 and another one for $78.00 ish. They are both by Sunbeam. My DIL has the higher priced Sunbeam. I have used it for box mixes and it works fine. I'm sure to get you started it would be a great stand mixer. While it would still take longer to make a meringue frosting, at least you are not standing there holding it where minutes seem like an hour.

sweetaudrey Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 1:58pm
post #15 of 21

I thought about that too, but the truth is I've stood there and let it mix and mix and mix for atleast 15 minutes before....maybe even alittle more. Is that too little of time?

AnotherCaker Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 1:59pm
post #16 of 21

Really need to take the plunge and get a KA. It's an investment that pays off in saved time and you not wearing out. It's not like it's only for making icing, you'll have it for years and it's an indispensable piece of equipment for general home purposes as well. I don't have to wait for the EW to cool all the way. As long as they are as stiff as they would be when cool, it's all good. Counter the heat with cold butter cut into strips, not thicker pats at room temp as usually prescribed. It comes to together just right.

AngelFood4 Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 2:51pm
post #17 of 21

Aww SweetAudrey, I can relate! The 1st time I made SMBC I only had a hand mixer and I must have beat that sucker for about an hour to get it all smooth and fluffy! I complained and complained through the entire process to my DH but it so delicious in the end! Because of SMBC, I did the hunt to find a standmixer looking for every sale and rebate around and finally bought one a little over a year ago - so worth every penny invested!!!! I love my KA!!!!

LindaF144a Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 2:58pm
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetaudrey

I thought about that too, but the truth is I've stood there and let it mix and mix and mix for atleast 15 minutes before....maybe even alittle more. Is that too little of time?




It can take up to 15 minutes in a stand mixer to get SMBC right. Usually I read that it takes twice as long in a hand mixer. So yes, unfortunately, 15 minutes is not long enough. SMBC always goes through a soup stage before it starts it's chemical reaction to frosting. And that soup stage can take a long time, even longer with a hand mixer.

hollys_hobby Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 7:34pm
post #19 of 21
scp1127 Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 8:05pm
post #20 of 21

sweetaudrey, I have a bakery, not just a KA decorated kitchen, lol. I wouldnot have known the difference if I did not have them side-by-side. Walmart.com and some stores have a Rival with a clear bowl with rave reviews. It is $44.00. The motor seems to be better than the Sunbeam. Compare the reviews on Walmart and amazon. HTH.

sweetaudrey Posted 31 Mar 2011 , 2:16pm
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

sweetaudrey, I have a bakery, not just a KA decorated kitchen, lol. I wouldnot have known the difference if I did not have them side-by-side. Walmart.com and some stores have a Rival with a clear bowl with rave reviews. It is $44.00. The motor seems to be better than the Sunbeam. Compare the reviews on Walmart and amazon. HTH.




Oh I figured that. lol I was just saying that your lucky to have those. I wish I could get one. And Yes, I would invest in one if I even had to money to invest. Right now there is zero for anything other can my nessessities for cakes and living in general. *sigh* maybe one day... lol icon_cry.gif

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