What Am I Still Doing Wrong? ( New Smooth Cakes)

Decorating By step0nmi Updated 10 Aug 2011 , 1:45pm by FlourPots

step0nmi Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 5:14am
post #1 of 38

icon_redface.gif seems like i have been making cakes for sooo long and I am STILL having trouble smoothing my cakes and getting crisp edges icon_sad.gif I see all these new cakes posted that totally look like bc and they are smoother than some that are covered in fondant. icon_eek.gif i swear i've tried everything: new bench scraper, hot knife, viva method, hot knife all the time, even using the large flat tip icon_cry.gif

the other thing about my cake smoothing is that i don't have an eye for level or straight lines. so, a lot of the times when i put frosting on via large flat tip i some how manage to make the tops of my cakes not flat either.


HOW are some of you bakers getting such smooth cakes? is there some magic tool i don't know about or am missing? is there something for corners because i'd really love that tool too!? icon_redface.gif

sincerely,
addicted to decorating but not smoothing my cakes

37 replies
cakeflake80 Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 6:01am
post #2 of 38

I swear by the Melvira method. You use a high density foam roller (for painting) to smooth out the icing and it works wonderfully! I'm sure you can find her instructions if you do a search. I usually apply the icing with the Wilton #12 round tip. Once it's on, I smooth it out the best I can with my spatula, then let it crust. Then I use the roller to smooth it perfectly and it works better than anything else I have tried. I don't know what I would do without my foam roller!!

carmijok Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 6:19am
post #3 of 38

I agree with the Melvira Method. But I apply my BC in stages to get a good base working. First crumb coat then cool in fridge to get it hard. Then layer and smooth another coat of BC on, refrigerate that. Then another layer, refrigerate that. I keep applying with my offset spatula then smoothing it with my bench scraper. The hard coats of BC underneath make it easier to smooth with the scraper.

Don't be afraid to press a little hard when scraping off the excess. You can level your cake surface this way too. (I'm assuming your cake surface is level before you start frosting, right?) And clean your knife or scraper each time you use it.

Then when I can't see cake anymore I let it sit out a bit to warm up to where the icing is still crusted but it's soft on the inside and I lightly go over it with the foam roller to smooth any lumps or bumps.

SOMETIMES, if my frosting is not cooperating and there are little areas that need a little more than a roller, I get it good and cold again and then take my very clean hands and some water and start smoothing the cake surface with my hands. The warmth of my hands helps smooth out those larger lumpy areas and you can get a really smooth surface. Not too much water! Just enough to make it easier to slide around. Then I cool again until it's set.

FleurDeCake Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 6:41am
post #4 of 38

I Have Sugar Ed DVD Perfecting the art of buttercream and have taken the same class form Sharon Zambito and I swear it;s true she is the "queen of Buttercream" since then muy cakes have inproved tremendously . I would recommend any and all od her DVDs

step0nmi Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 2:47pm
post #5 of 38

done melvira method...not my thing.

I've done it all! seriously, i feel like there's some magic trick i'm missing...mostly for the corners of the cakes.

carmijok, done all of those things also icon_sad.gif i dunno, maybe i'm looking for a quicker way too. because the process on some of my cakes seem to take me forever...kind of like what you're saying.

i'm not really talking about lumps and bumps here...i'm talking about TRUE smoothness...where it looks like some of the cakes are covered in BUTTER it's so smooth. am i using the wrong BC?? i use crusting bc and i HAVE to use that because of the humidity in my area icon_sad.gif

kearniesue Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 2:59pm
post #6 of 38

BC always gives me heartburn too. I can never get it smooth enough. I recently started using ganache though, and that seems MUCH better. You might want to check it out - this did wonders for me!

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-718828.html

Good luck,

Karen

jawalk Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 3:10pm
post #7 of 38

I Think your cakes are lovely, Your being too hard on yourself. THERE ARE NO PERFECT CAKES.......Most of us have the same problem.

step0nmi Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 3:11pm
post #8 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by kearniesue

BC always gives me heartburn too. I can never get it smooth enough. I recently started using ganache though, and that seems MUCH better. You might want to check it out - this did wonders for me!

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-718828.html

Good luck,

Karen




oh, i LOVE ganache! use it all the time...but I do a lot of buttercream cakes...the crumb coat is not my issue :p thanks tho

cakesnglass Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 3:29pm
post #9 of 38

One thing I have found that works for me is the consistency of the icing . I often make icing in two batches. 3 lbs and 2lbs and then mix them together. My bowl is full to the rim, paddle is not visible.. This eliminated bubbles and gives you a creamy but still semi stiff frosting. Then proceed with your smoothing techniques. Good Luck

bakingkat Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 3:43pm
post #10 of 38

Have you tried the upside-down method? I love that for getting nice clean edges. There are a couple of tutorials on here as well as some videos on youtube. It helped me alot with my buttercream icon_smile.gif

ConfectionsCC Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 4:04pm
post #11 of 38

Get Perfecting the Art of Buttercream DVD from Sugared productions. I swear it WILL WORK for you!!! It takes the right bc, and the right techniques. Since watching that DVD, I have become obsessed with making my BC smooth! Even so though, all cakes will have some imperfections icon_biggrin.gif Got a picture of my naked cake tier on this post to prove it works!
http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2118147

chrisviz Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 4:16pm
post #12 of 38

I second the upside down method... I didnt get crisp edges until I started to use it. jessicakes blog has great tutorial.

mariacakestoo Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 4:21pm
post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by step0nmi

i'm talking about TRUE smoothness...where it looks like some of the cakes are covered in BUTTER it's so smooth. am i using the wrong BC?? i use crusting bc and i HAVE to use that because of the humidity in my area icon_sad.gif


That stinks that you have to use that. Because your description is right on. Most of the glassy smooth perfect cakes are indeed a butter based icing, most likely a meringue.

TinkerCakes Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 4:25pm
post #14 of 38

Everytime I see a SMOOTH flawless BC....it has been done with SMBC not regular BC.

(Believe me, I am still amazed at how smooth some decorators can get regular buttercream too)

teezed Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 4:31pm
post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConfectionsCC

Get Perfecting the Art of Buttercream DVD from Sugared productions. I swear it WILL WORK for you!!! It takes the right bc, and the right techniques. Since watching that DVD, I have become obsessed with making my BC smooth! Even so though, all cakes will have some imperfections icon_biggrin.gif Got a picture of my naked cake tier on this post to prove it works!
http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2118147




Do u know if it's possible to get to order a copy of that DVD online and get it shipped to africa? Having the same problem with buttercream as well...

Cupcake615 Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 4:36pm
post #16 of 38

Are you sure they aren't using pourable icing and fondant? I used to wonder how people made such smooth finishes too, then I found out they were using pourable frosting or quick pour fondant!

bakencake Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 5:07pm
post #17 of 38

Am I the only one who has a "lip" or a roll on the top edge of my cake? what am i doing wrong? icon_cry.gif

sweetviolet Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 6:55pm
post #18 of 38

I am no expert, but what I do is use a large sheet rock trowel. I apply the BC with a large ( can't even find it right now so don't know the number) tip, it's got an almost rectangular shaped end and one side is smooth (flat) and the other has ridges. I apply ridge side down to the cake and apply while spinning. I do stripes across the top. I then use the sheet rock trowel, holding the trowel still against the side of the cake while spinning on the turntable. I try to go around the cake completely without stopping spinning (as this will make a ridge at the stop point). I then use the trowel (its about 12") and do the top. I start just off the edge and in one motion go across the entire top of the cake. Remove excess and do again from a different start point, until mostly smooth. I find that as long as I'm holding the trowel level it makes the top almost perfectly level as well. I then use a pan of very hot water and set the trowel in it. I remove and dry it, then again I use one motion to go around the entire cake, ease up on the pressure as your coming back to the start point and lift the trowel. I do the same for the top, hot trowel, dry, 'scrape" the top and remove excess after every swipe.

I've only been doing it this way for a short time (and I'm still perfecting it) but it's cut my frosting time by half and I find that I use about half as much icing. I no longer crumb coat as the tip applies the icing thickly enough that there's no chance of "see through". You can tell the difference in techniques when you look at my pics. The first 5 or so cakes in my album were done this way. The others were done with a combination of things. Maybe this will help? icon_smile.gif

sweetsirten Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 7:06pm
post #19 of 38

The upside down method changed my decorating life, seriously. I don't think I'll ever do a cake any other way.

FlourPots Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 7:39pm
post #20 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakencake

Am I the only one who has a "lip" or a roll on the top edge of my cake? what am i doing wrong? icon_cry.gif




You should definitely try this: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-726166-.html
I'm going to for my next cake!

sechrestloans Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 8:20pm
post #21 of 38

I had the same issue until I got Sugar ED video also. I have been doing her method for about 2 months now and I am in awe on how she gets it so smooth still. Another thing I noticed is I always used Crisco before I got her DVD and she stresses the importance of High Ratio shortning. I switched and will never go back. It is worth every extra penny.

step0nmi Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 10:37pm
post #22 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakencake

Am I the only one who has a "lip" or a roll on the top edge of my cake? what am i doing wrong? icon_cry.gif




are you referring to your frosting? if so, this may be because you have too much frosting on the top. Also, i find that this happens if I do smooth my sides and THEN do the top of the cake. HTH icon_smile.gif

step0nmi Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 10:40pm
post #23 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConfectionsCC

Get Perfecting the Art of Buttercream DVD from Sugared productions. I swear it WILL WORK for you!!! It takes the right bc, and the right techniques. Since watching that DVD, I have become obsessed with making my BC smooth! Even so though, all cakes will have some imperfections icon_biggrin.gif Got a picture of my naked cake tier on this post to prove it works!
http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2118147




you know...i may just have to invest in this icon_biggrin.gif I have seen lots of people talking about that and I'm trying to invest in things that HELP with decorating like THE MAT.

Hey everyone, I've done the upside down method...not for me.

I've done melvira...for a bit and that wasn't my forte either.

my tool of choice is a bench scraper and hot knife now icon_biggrin.gif plus the viva method which I sort of use like melvira method but with my scraper as well.

SWEETVIOLET, wth is a Trowel? icon_lol.gif

mariacakestoo Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 10:48pm
post #24 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by step0nmi


my tool of choice is a bench scraper and hot knife now


You are on the right path. Get thee a Sugarshack DVD and come back after you try it. I'll bet you a thousand dollars, lightbulbs will go off, angels will sing, and you won't look back.

step0nmi Posted 9 Aug 2011 , 12:20am
post #26 of 38
Quote:




oh, i see icon_lol.gif i think i'll stick to my scrapper. glad this works for you tho icon_smile.gif

vtcake Posted 9 Aug 2011 , 12:44am
post #27 of 38

do you really need to have smooth as glass bc every time? Since I've let go of that idea, I love the way my cakes look when the frosting looks swirly. To me, the swirls make it look more luscious.

For smooth cakes, I use Viva, but that's rare.

Oh, I also use 3 sticks of butter in my buttercream, so it's very smooth anyway.

2 lbs powdered sugar, 3 sticks butter, 1 tbsp vanilla, and water to mix.

step0nmi Posted 9 Aug 2011 , 2:02am
post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by vtcake

do you really need to have smooth as glass bc every time? Since I've let go of that idea, I love the way my cakes look when the frosting looks swirly. To me, the swirls make it look more luscious.

For smooth cakes, I use Viva, but that's rare.

Oh, I also use 3 sticks of butter in my buttercream, so it's very smooth anyway.

2 lbs powdered sugar, 3 sticks butter, 1 tbsp vanilla, and water to mix.




well, i would like to improve on what I'm already doing well icon_lol.gif

all butter bc does NOT hold up in SE WI thumbsdown.gif

sugarshack Posted 9 Aug 2011 , 4:34am
post #29 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariacakestoo

Quote:
Originally Posted by step0nmi

i'm talking about TRUE smoothness...where it looks like some of the cakes are covered in BUTTER it's so smooth. am i using the wrong BC?? i use crusting bc and i HAVE to use that because of the humidity in my area icon_sad.gif

That stinks that you have to use that. Because your description is right on. Most of the glassy smooth perfect cakes are indeed a butter based icing, most likely a meringue.




I respectfully disagree. My cakes are pretty much glass smooth, and I use an all shortening crusting BC. icon_smile.gifthumbs_up.gif

step0nmi Posted 9 Aug 2011 , 4:40am
post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarshack

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariacakestoo

Quote:
Originally Posted by step0nmi

i'm talking about TRUE smoothness...where it looks like some of the cakes are covered in BUTTER it's so smooth. am i using the wrong BC?? i use crusting bc and i HAVE to use that because of the humidity in my area icon_sad.gif

That stinks that you have to use that. Because your description is right on. Most of the glassy smooth perfect cakes are indeed a butter based icing, most likely a meringue.



I respectfully disagree. My cakes are pretty much glass smooth, and I use an all shortening crusting BC. icon_smile.gifthumbs_up.gif




YES YOURS ARE! HOW do you do it? icon_lol.gif

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