Why Is Every Cake On This Site So Good!?

Decorating By miscue Updated 10 Dec 2008 , 4:19am by Kim_in_CajunCountry

miscue Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
miscue Posted 5 Dec 2008 , 11:09am
post #1 of 18

I'm so frustrated! I'm making a cake - just to practice, and it's not going very well.
I can't get my buttercream to be white (it's meant to be snow) and How do you get buttercream so smooth? I'm in australia, and as far as i can figure out, we don't have "crisco", so it may be my buttercream thats the problem, or maybe it's just me.
I kinda feel like cake dec is just so hard....

17 replies
JanH Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
JanH Posted 5 Dec 2008 , 11:41am
post #2 of 18

Hi and Welcome to CC, miscue. icon_smile.gif

Decoding CC acronyms:


Everything you ever wanted to know about making your 1st tiered/stacked/layer cake:


The above link has tips, hints & methods of smoothing various types of frosting.

Also, white vegetable shortening (Crisco is a U.S. brand) is available in AU:



Everything you ever wanted to know about the meringue b/c's:


Other AU cake decorators:


Australian, British & U.S. cooking terms:


(Site's been updated, and unfortnately, not for the better. Old info was so much better.)

And the piece de resistance:

(More info than you'll probably ever need!)

Additional conversion charts:



mandi1613 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
mandi1613 Posted 5 Dec 2008 , 11:48am
post #3 of 18

if you can't find crisco try using icing whitener by either wilton or americolor. after the icing crusts use a viva paper towel lay it on the side of the cake and using your hand smooth over the paper towel. make sure it is crusted though otherwise you will take off the icing when your remove the paper towel ( i also heard you can use a piece of parchment or wax paper)

my most valuable advice is Be Patient. it takes time to perfect your skill. i know exactly how you feel though. when i first started i could not ice a cake without getting crumbs in the icing, but after many failed attempts i can now successfully ice a smooth crumbless cake.

Susie53 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Susie53 Posted 5 Dec 2008 , 11:55am
post #4 of 18

Are you using clear vanilla? That's what I use in mine and it turns out snow white. I use the viva paper towel method for smoothing my buttercream.

miscue Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
miscue Posted 7 Dec 2008 , 8:08am
post #5 of 18

thanks for all the help!
I think cake dec is so frustrating at the moment, because i have very limited time, and i am so keen to get the perfect cake in just a couple of hours!
Anyway, I'll keep trying... Thanks again.

Rocketgirl899 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Rocketgirl899 Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 12:23am
post #6 of 18

I think alot of cakes on here are great because the CCers are amazing..

then you decorators like me, who if a cake FAILS, they don't put it up!

I am SO ashamed of my own b-day cake I refuse to put it up!


good luck, it takes practice, but you will get there icon_smile.gif

terrylee Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
terrylee Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 12:31am
post #7 of 18

Welcome to CC miscue....... you'll love it here!

We all have to start somewhere.....and this is the perfect spot to get started....So many helpful CCer's....Everyone is so open and ready with hints, tips and ideas.
JanH has given you a great start.

Keep practicing and post pictures.

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bizatchgirl Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 12:44am
post #8 of 18

There are 3 types of cake decorators (IMHO)

1. Cake decorating just comes naturally. Can do anything with out breaking a sweat or dropping a 4 letter word. In the end, beautiful cake that looks like no effort was put into it (not saying that it isn't still taking the effort and time, you just couldn't tell from looking).

2. Have to work a little bit harder. Ask for lots of help on CC. Sweat, curse, remake things. In the end, beautiful cake that looks like no effort was put into it.

3. Us poor saps that work so hard, slave, stress, cry, ask for tons of help, and it just never looks perfect to us, so we don't post the picture (as PP said).

I'm still hoping good karma and lots of practice allow you to work your way up to a 1 in this lifetime. I hope I don't have to wait until it's time for reincarnation icon_biggrin.gif

And feel free to check out my pics. DEFINITELY some less than perfect cakes in there. Only 1 in fact that is perfect to me icon_lol.gif

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rachel-b Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 12:55am
post #9 of 18

Welcome to CC, miscue! For some not so perfect cakes, check mine out! It does get easier. And this site is full of great tips. My favorite is the Melvira method for smoothing buttercream. Just have fun!

mommakristin Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
mommakristin Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 1:06am
post #10 of 18


Dont' worry. It does come better with time!!

My one tip for you is to pace yourself and don't expect that working on a cake a "few" hours will give you perfection...

1. You will never make a perfect cake in your eyes. None of us ever think this.

2. If you start getting frustrated, take a deep breath and give yourself a quick time out.

3. Sugarshacks methods for smoothing BC and for applying fondant are the bible to me. Her methods work perfectly.

4. We all make mistakes, and we all learn from each other.

Just have fun!! Love what you are doing!

bettinashoe Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
bettinashoe Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 1:11am
post #11 of 18

Girl, you just haven't really looked at all of our cakes! We are all at different levels. I'm fairly new to decorating but I still post my pictures. Some are so-so, some are a little less than so-so and some are really bad, but they are my work and I want to share them and learn from them. If you look at my cakes, you'll see mistakes, fingerprints and some real messes, but they're mine! We don't judge you here, miscue. This wonderful site is meant to help us all be what we desire to be, cake designers, whether it is a hobby, a part-time endeavor or a career.

bobwonderbuns Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
bobwonderbuns Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 1:23am
post #12 of 18
Originally Posted by miscue

I'm so frustrated! I'm making a cake - just to practice, and it's not going very well.
I can't get my buttercream to be white (it's meant to be snow) and How do you get buttercream so smooth? I'm in australia, and as far as i can figure out, we don't have "crisco", so it may be my buttercream thats the problem, or maybe it's just me.
I kinda feel like cake dec is just so hard....

First off, welcome to CC, better known as your new addiction! icon_lol.gif Don't worry about the cakes that don't go well. You will learn from every cake you make, even the ones that do go well. I know it's frustrating, the one thing I hate more than anything in life is the learning curve. No matter what I'm learning, I don't know it yet and there's that curve. Man oh man, don't get me started on that! icon_surprised.gificon_confused.gif BUT I've also found that the learning curve is the most important part of becoming accomplished at whatever I do so I grin and bear it and hope for the best and keep practicing. That's the only way you are going to get good at anything is practice practice practice. By the way, want to hear a secret? I asked one of the "big names" in the industry how they got to be so good at what they did and they leaned over and whispered "practice." icon_wink.gificon_biggrin.gif Cheer up kiddo, and if you have any questions that's what CC is all about. Keep on cakin'! icon_razz.gif

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all4cake Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 1:26am
post #13 of 18

For some, they've been decorating for so long that pictures were taken with polaroid instant cameras(with film that was so costly it was only gotten on special occasions) or a 110 and the pictures were shotty at best...needless to say these relics are packed away in an attic or garage somewhere and when they surface, no one wants to go through the effort of scanning them and uploading them figuring the rest of the world is so much better off not seeing them. I did upload one of my earlier photos, those who had seen it will attest that it put sheer terror in the hearts of many so I removed it(I had it for my avatar for a while). If you happen up on the thread that it was uploaded to, don't say I didn't warn you. I still produce ugly cakes on a not so regular basis.

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AmandaPanda Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 1:28am
post #14 of 18

I just wanted to comment on the white frosting I learned a GREAT tip from someone here a while back that with buttercream when using BUTTER not just all crisco it comes out tinted yellowish .... take a tiny dab of violet food color and add it to the mix. I put a BB size drop on a toothpick and add it it will turn the mix white. just a tiny bit at a time until it turns snow white. it is amazing how it works.


say_it_with_cake Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
say_it_with_cake Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 2:23am
post #15 of 18

Hi from a fellow Aussie / decorating novice icon_smile.gif

Don't be too hard on yourself - your purple flower cake is beautiful and your piping is perfect (something I'm definitely a long way from mastering!). We're all our own harshest critic, myself included lol.

You have the best learning tool right in front of you, the people here are amazing, I've learned more from this site in three months than I have in a lifetime of "amateurish" decorating lol.

I highly recommend trying some of the wonderful recipes here, especially Swiss Meringe Buttercream and Rhonda's Ultimate MMF - I no longer use anything else.

On the rare occasion I need a pure white buttercream I tend to buy Betty Crocker pre-made icing in a tub, it's readily available from Coles / Woolies and tastes great. As for the crisco issue, you can live without it. I've been using copha (at room temperature) instead of some of the butter in my SMBC recently to help it hold up better in this humidity, and also use it for greasing when I make MMF. It works fine and doesn't affect the taste at all.

Being new at this myself, the only piece of advice I can give is to hang in there, practise heaps, make the most of the wonderful information these lovely people here are willing to share and you'll be fine thumbs_up.gif

Kim_in_CajunCountry Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Kim_in_CajunCountry Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 2:36am
post #16 of 18

Welcome to CC! I'm a hobby baker who has been decorating cakes since I took my first class in March of 2008. I work full time so I get to make a cake every two weeks or so. I always post cake pics - even the ones I'm not happy with. You'll quickly learn that we all judge ourselves much harsher than others. You can be totally disgusted with a cake and your friends will think you're a cake genius! I thought my cake titled "Autumn-inspired Carrot Cake" was one of my worst. I thought the colors were drab - but my coworkers loved it, especially the one who ordered it. But, what I really appreciated was when she said I could have delivered her a plain white cake and she would have loved it just as much because it TASTED terrific. While it's important that a cake not look revolting, it HAS to taste good. A pretty cake that tastes like cardboard and crumbles like sand is worthless.

I had a great instructor and I've learned a TON here on CC. Just remember that no one made a perfect first cake. Some people learn faster than others. And caking takes lots of patience.

I am an OCD decorator (self-diagnosed) and it takes me HOURS to finish a cake. I can start crumb coating at 7:30 p.m. and put the final touches on my cake at 2:00 a.m. Definitely not giving up my day job!

Find some white all-vegetable shortening, take your time, and I'm sure you'll get the hang of it. No matter what happens, your CC family is here for you and we'll help you through the good, the bad, and the ugly. And we won't laugh at your cakes unless you laugh first and ask us to join in! icon_lol.gif

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all4cake Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 3:54am
post #17 of 18

I just read your signature...it made me crack up! then, I thought..."did I ever PM her?"

Kim_in_CajunCountry Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Kim_in_CajunCountry Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 4:19am
post #18 of 18

I actually had someone PM me after reading it just for kicks! LOL!

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