I watch a lot of cake shows; I love to watch them because I learn things from them. I keep a notebook sitting by me so I can write things down just like I do when I'm perusing the boards here.
Here's my question:
When watching these shows, when they ice a cake, it seems like their icing is a whole lot easier to spread then mine. Or is just that they are more experienced? I found that the more I ice, the easier it gets. They just seem to have such creamy icing that it makes me jeolous. I've mostly used the traditional BC that Wilton puts in their books, all shortening. Recently though I have been experimenting with different flavors of icing for different cake types.
Are you putting enough water/milk in your icing? Will you write out the recipe you are using?
Lets see if I can recall it from my brain.
2 c. crisco
1 tsp. butter flavor
2 tsp. vanilla
8 tbsp. water (for thin)
2 lbs. confectioners' sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbsp. meringue powder
I almost always use the big icing tip to ice, but sometimes I can't get it completely smooth. On the top, I always have trouble getting that great line where the top and sides meet because I seem to want to push my icing down more when I get to the edge of the top. Oy!
Thanks for your help in diagnosing my problems.
The amount of liquid is right for a thin icing and should be creamy for you. That's basically the recipe I use. You could add a tiny bit more water to see if that helps. You could also try different recipes to see if they make a difference.
For smoothing are you just using a spatula? Have you see any information on using a viva paper towel or a sponge roller to help smooth the cake?
As far as the line between the top and the bottom, I think that is an issue for mine. One thing to do is make sure the side icing is coming up above the top edge of the cake, not just to the top edge. If you just do the top to the edge and the side to the edge you don't really have anything in that middle there and that's where the issues come from. Also when smoothing, make sure you keep your spatula straight up and down on the sides and straight horizontally on the top. If you angle your spatula around the edges then your edges will be angled.