I've been using the Viva smoothing method-ice your cake with a crusting buttercream, wait for it to crust, then smooth it with a Viva papertowel (or parchment paper). But I just saw a video for the upside down frosting technique.
For those of you who have tried BOTH, which do you prefer? Which gives you better results? Which one is quickest for you?
Thanks for your replies! I'm tempted to try the upside down method but hesitant because I'm not sure if I will get good results
Well, I'm sure the Viva method is quicker and it's a lot easier for larger cakes, but 1) I can't get Viva paper towels where I live and 2) it's so humid here I can't get ANY buttercream to crust right. Even though you can use other kinds of paper (parchment, computer paper, etc.) to smooth the icing, the crusting problem has me bamboozled - and yes, I've tried everything. However, I HAVE used the upside down method successfully for cakes up to 12" or so. In fact it's the only thing that's truly worked for me so far, and I like it so much that I'm making more buttercream cakes than I used to.
I used the upside down method for buttercream the first time this weekend and loved it. I've used it before for ganache, but it works well for buttercream too. I used IMBC which obviously has a very high butter content so it sets hard once refrigerated and lends itself well to this method. It's such a great way to get a perfectly smooth top, sides and crisp edges. I did a 12" layer too and it worked fine. The flipping is a bit scary, but you just have to have confidence!
Thank you Marianna! I'm not sure why I'm so hesitant to try it. My viva smoothed cakes are never absolutely perfect so I'm not really loosing anything by trying a different method!
Is there a big learning curve to this? Or were you successful with the method pretty quickly?
I'll just chip in and say that there was no learning curve for me at all! As long as you have a straight edged smoother (I bought mine from Sur La Table) preferably metal so you can heat it in hot water, there really is nothing to it.
I don't use the Mrsmudrash version (on her blog: jessicakesblogspot) although it's brilliant. I use the one I first found for ganache here if that's any help. It just gives you another idea of what's involved.
i love the viva method. I have tried every other method out there I have even figured out a few extra and find the viva method the best and quickest..
Instead of the hot water and spatula method I have taken a spay bottle and literaly sprayed the sides of the cake and then smoothed it... it works great.
but for ease and fastest and its great to take with you to the venu to fix any finger prints that end up somehow in the frosting.
You can find places everywhere that sell viva.. and you can get one of two varietys now.. full size sheets and then ones that pick your own size which are perfect for the 4" tiers..
Check not only with grocery stores but also drug stores. walmart carrys them and rite aids and and you can contact the company for other places and even ask your store to order it in for you. I am not sure but someone said that it is made by klenex.
i have needed to repair a cake at a venu and look for water and it just is a mess... not any more.
I agree with EnglishCakeLady, MrsL -there really is no learning curve! Mine came out great the first time I tried it. I'm glad to hear it can work with larger layers, too, but I tremble when I have to flip a larger cake. I can just feel it wanting to slip out from between the two cake boards as I turn it over! But I'm going to try it on a really big layer one of these times anyway. On a family cake, of course. They're very forgiving if it tastes good!
I do both. I first use the upside down frosting technique.. then follow back up with the viva method (even sometimes the melvira method)
I love the upsidedown method! I did it with ganache and it was perfect. But I'm too scared to do anything larger than a 12". Just make sure your bench scraper is straight - mine is rounded a tiny bit on the corners. It still worked great, I just had to go back after it set and shave off the excess.
OK, I must be the only one out there as I have only tried the Viva method for smoothing a cake, but what is the upside down method?
Do you mind sharing the link to the video tutorial please? Thank you!
Jeff's method (I think Jeff_Arnett). He invented it, I believe.
Sugar Sweet Cakes (AngelFood4 here at CC)
Check out the 3 of them carefully. I think most people prefer the Sugar Sweet one (even though I haven't checked if it's different from Jeff's). And I know there's a slight difference from the Sugar Sweets to the video by Jessica Harris.
You're right about the bench scraper, Jess155. I must have ten of them, between metal and plastic ones, but only ONE of the has square corners. Of course, I didn't realize when I bought any of the that I would be using them for this, but it's really important if you don't want a lot of extra work.
In place of the bench scraper, you can also use a wide drywall knife from the hardware store--i see them online up to 12 inches wide (no rounded corners--as long as you don't actually use it for drywall mud too!
Thanks!! I'll check out those video's tonight!