I'm just about ready to give this cake stuff up...can someone please help explain to me why I'm always getting this stupid "lump" around the top edge of my buttercream? It looks like too much icing, but when I try to correct that, I get dark cake streaks showing because it's too thin at the edge. I am at my wits' end. Have watched you experts, have read so many instructions....why can't I get this right????????? Thanks!
I use cut pieces of poster board because it seems to conform to the cake icing and it makes it very easy to smooth the icing. Some use Viva paper towel once icing has crusted. Since I saw the Cake Boss use poster board I do not need the paper towel any more because the poster board gets the cakes very even. Try it and you will be amazed at what a difference the poster board will make. Good luck and don't give up!! Keep your faith and know it will get easier the more you practice!!!
APractice does, indeed, make perfect.
Take a good look at your 2nd pic. Your icing is not even in depth (not sure I'm saying this right) See how on the right hand side there is a bump - also right in the front? That shows the icing is thicker at that point then the rest of the cake. The lump at the bottom also means there is more icing than needed.
Do you use a bench scraper to smooth your icing on your cake? It would help you get a much more even depth to the icing over all.Then y ou would not have that lump at the bottom. Here's a link to the tool I'm talking about: http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1556015/cake-boss-stainless-steel-tools-gadgets-bench-scrape.jsp
It is used in place of a cake spatula.
ADo you have a turntable? That really helps in getting smooth, even icing - as well as practice.
............a turntable? That really helps in getting smooth, even icing.........................
Oh YES! I forgot to mention that :) It help a LOT.
ADo you do an initial crumb coat? How many coats or layers of frosting do you apply? I see this when you try to ice all at one time without doing a few thinner coats.
AIt also looks like there are spots missing icing. And also are you waiting till your crumb coat dries? or is your icing too thick. Maybe during your second coat your pulling the bottom layer creating lumps.
ADon't give up! What experts have you watched and are you using the tools they use? Maybe you should walk us through your frosting process: what does the cake look like straight from the pan, do you level and tort, do you crumb coat, do you frost your cake when it's frozen... Things like that. Someone might be able to correct you midway. Also, craftsy. Com offers a creative Free buttercream class that you can watch and re-watch and watch again. He shows a great butter cream recipe and troubleshooting for frosting techniques. Practice is important and so is patience.
AYour buttercream is too thick. I believe you should use a bench scrapper to help you with even buttercream. I had the same problem when I first started.. Practice makes perfect!
You have uneven buttercream application. That needs to be addressed first. Second, it looks like it was Viva'd to death. Third, those bumps and ridges occur at the upper edge when the buttercream has been applied too thickly and then Viva'd (to death). It does look like your recipe is too thick.
Try adding some more liquid to your recipe. Get a turntable and a scraper, and learn how to smooth your cake that way. Save the Viva towels for cleaning up.
I don't use a crusting buttercream, but the basic frosting principles are the same. One thing that helps me is to have a cake board that is just slightly larger than the cake. Usually, your cake with shrink a tiny bit while baking so that you have a small lip, about an 8th of an inch between the edge of the board and the edge of your cake. If you're cutting it yourself, to size, or not using a board, then I recommend trying the pre cut boards.
Anyway, get a bench scraper and turntable, as mentioned, and you should find it easier.
I look at icing a cake as taking away the frosting rather than adding more. So, a good crumb coat is essential. Slap that on there, smooth it, and get it in the fridge. This will keep your bare spots to a minimum when you do your final coat.
Then put your cake at the center of the turntable, use an offset spatula to pile on a good amount of BC to the top and then the sides. It will be messy, don't worry about that, just be sure that every part of your cake is covered all the way to the edge of that board. Then you take your bench scraper and place it at a 90 degree angle to the cake, with one edge on the turntable and the other on the edge of the cake board. Slowly turn the table and pull your scraper along the edge of the cake. I tilt my scraper towards me so that it's at a 45 degree angle to the cake. I find that it scrapes off the overlap and redeposits where there are holes or bare spots.
clean off your scraper and check your cake. You will have a lip at the top, don't worry about that, yet. Look for spots where you need to fill in an air bubble. use your offset to add a little BC to those spots. Then take your scraper and go around again. Keep doing this until your sides are smooth.
Then work on the top. Many use an offset spatula, I like the scraper. Use what works for you. I place my scraper on the opposite side of the cake and pull towards me, turn the cake and do it again. I look at it as knocking off that lip. Be gentle, pull and turn. Then use your offset to smooth the center. Keep taking off small edges until it's as smooth as you can make it.
If you are using the paper towel method, this will be where you smooth those final imperfections, but that method won't do anything to make your BC coat even and flat. You have to get it almost perfect first.
Edna de la Cruz has tons of useful tutorials on YouTube.
I've purchased a class on Craftsy as well put on by Jessica Harris (Clean and Simple Cake Design) which was amazing, definitely recommend it.