Quick & Easy Smooth Icing Using a Roller (Melvira Method)

Before and After using the Melvira roller smoothing method on your buttercream frosted cake

The “Melvira Method” is intended to help you create a perfectly smooth icing surface on your cake, ideal for decorating. To complete this method you will need to purchase a high-density foam roller at your local hardware or paint supply store.Most discount stores do not carry the high-density foam, please insure that you purchase the high-density foam roller refill heads or you will be left with a ‘spackle-like’ texture on your icing. The rollers are available in 2”, 4”, and 6” widths. 6” is ideal for most cakes, although the 2” is useful for the sides of sheet cakes, or for shaped/character cakes. Step 1 How To Get Smooth Icing using a Paint Roller (Melvira Method) Step 1 How To Get Smooth Icing using a Paint Roller (Melvira Method)Frost cake with buttercream icing as you normally would using a spatula or the cake icer tip. Step 2 How To Get Smooth Icing using a Paint Roller (Melvira Method) Step 2 How To Get Smooth Icing using a Paint Roller (Melvira Method)Smooth icing lightly. (Crusting buttercreamis suggested, but non-crusting can be used.)Allow icing to crust at least 10-15 minutes. (Longer in humid conditions.) If you are using a non-crusting buttercream, refrigerate cake until icing is set. Step 3 How To Get Smooth Icing using a Paint Roller (Melvira Method) Step 3 How To Get Smooth Icing using a Paint Roller (Melvira Method)Using your dry foam roller, gently roll across the top surface of your cake, smoothing out any air pockets, bumps, or wrinkles across the cake.Use long, light and gentle strokes across the surface. Do not use short, fast strokes as this may displace icing. Step 4 How To Get Smooth Icing using a Paint Roller (Melvira Method) Step 4 How To Get Smooth Icing using a Paint Roller (Melvira Method)Proceed to the sides of your cake and follow the same long, light and gentle strokes, bringing the edge up to meet the top edge. Step 5 How To Get Smooth Icing using a Paint Roller (Melvira Method) Step 5 How To Get Smooth Icing using a Paint Roller (Melvira Method)Alternately, a Viva paper towel can be used on top of the icing as you roll, serving as a barrier between the icing and the roller, also insuring the smooth finish you would expect from the Viva method.You may also use waxed paper or parchment to achieve the smoothest surface possible. Step 6 How To Get Smooth Icing using a Paint Roller (Melvira Method) Step 6 How To Get Smooth Icing using a Paint Roller (Melvira Method)The roller is an excellent way to apply an edible image. After following steps 1-4, prepare a squirt bottle with clean water and set it to a fine mist. Test to insure you are only getting a very fine spray. Print your image and prepare it for application. Immediately before applying image, hold water bottle about a foot above cake and spritz a fine mist over the cake, letting it float down and create a slightly tacky top surface on your cake so the image will adhere. Immediately apply image. Use roller to smooth over image in the same way you smoothed the top icing. Allow image to set. Before adding borders, smooth one more time. (Insert picture 5) Roller Care:

Wash roller foam pad well with dish soap and hot water before first use and immediately following subsequent uses. Rinse thoroughly, use fingers to squeegee out excess water and allow foam to completely dry before using.

Roller must absolutely dry before attempting this method.

It is advisable to have roller refill heads available in case the foam becomes wet or damaged in the middle of smoothing your cake. For easiest cleaning, do not apply soap directly to foam, take a small amount of dish soap and lather in your hands, then rub lather into foam. The roller may become stained if used on chocolate or colored icings, but this will not affect its performance. If you wash the foam well, any color stains should not bleed onto a white cake during subsequent uses, however, if you are unsure, test it by rolling some icing on a sheet of waxed paper or a cookie sheet before using on cake.


  1. Icing pulls away from cake and sticks to roller head. Either icing is not crusted well enough, it is still tacky. Allow to more thoroughly crust (refrigerate if using non-crusting icing) -or- You are using short, jerky strokes. Use longer, slow and smooth strokes to gently manipulate icing.
  2. Icing cracks and looks dry when I roll it. Icing is too crusted. Reapply a thin layer of icing and roll before it becomes too dry.
  3. Air holes are not disappearing when I roll: Use a slightly firmer pressure. While you do not want to ‘smash’ the icing, you do want to push firmly enough to smooth out air bubbles and holes.

Comments (72)


Bongo and Vick61, the safety issue has been brought up and exhaustively discussed in the forums in a number of threads. I completely respect and appreciate your concerns, which is why I encourage anyone who wants to try the method but is concerned about safety, to please use a sheet of parchment or wax paper as noted in the above instructions.


Don't get me wrong, I own a roll of Viva Towels and use them once in a while.. but I encourage you to try to perfect the art of a smooth buttercream finish using a hot angled spatula. It is a method that requires focus, concentration and patience, but the result is so worth it. In the beginning my husband always popped over to help me while I struggled through my first buttercream cakes because he is so good a "spackling"... yes walls! I wanted to smack him upside the head, because yes, he could make it work, but then with each cake I made I got better and better at it and faster and faster and now he jokes about letting me spackle the walls of his next big project. I told him only if I can dump a quart of vanilla extract in the spackle to make it more enjoyable.


Do you think washing the roller and maybe soaking in boiling water for a couple of minutes would remove the chemicles? I would want to wash the store dust off anyway.


I will admit I've not seen the other discussions about the safety or lack of it re: using the foam roller that is mentioned above, so perhaps I am at a disadvantage. However, I simply cannot believe that ANYONE would use this and think it is safe! Plastic foam is comprised of tons of chemicals that I will guarantee you is NOT food safe!! How anyone could consider using this and think it's "safe" and okay AND knowing that so many little kids (when they are MOST vulnerable!) are eating your cake, too, is beyond comprehension. Hey - let's take some closed foam latex pillows and press them against the icing for a nice smooth finish, too. Where is your thinking here? IT'S DANGEROUS!! It REALLY concerns me as clearly most of you think it's okay to use.


I emailed a company that manufactures these things and this is the reply I got. ( I would use this method, but only with the paper or paper towel.

Thank you for your question. We would recommend that you do NOT use the high density foam rollers for food preparation. These products are not FDA approved. They are made in various factories around the world and travel to the USA in containers that nobody could possibly know what might have traveled in the container before the rollers. Brent Swenson Linzer Products Corp.


Curious about the buttercream recipe noted above with the 1/2 c butter and 1.5 c shortening...will that make the icing too soft? The recipe I have been using is delicious but calls for the same amount conf sugar with only 1 c butter or shortening. I used the roller method using wax paper and worked great! But my icing seems very soft, just wondering if adding the extra shortening would make it too soft. Thanks!


I have tried different methods.  But I wonder if my problem is that I have not been waiting the 15 minutes.  As soon as I put the BC on, I start trying to smooth.  I'll have to try waiting.  I may even pop the cake into the freezer for those 15 minutes.  It seems the condensation helps when smoothing the BC.


Maybe it's just me, but this seems like a method born out of laziness. I am all for using better methods for creating a better, more professional looking product in less time, but icing a cake is a basic process in cake decorating. Best and easiest method is a bench scraper dipped in hot water: quick, simple, efficient, and no Viva towel "dimples"

Login To Leave A Comment