Smooth Buttercream Icing

Decorating By DebP48 Updated 18 Oct 2009 , 3:51am by cmalin3

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DebP48 Posted 14 Oct 2009 , 11:19pm
post #1 of 20

I am taking Wilton Course 1, and made my first class cake yesterday. It was the rainbow one. Anyways, my icing was not smooth. It was kind of grainy and just did not look "pretty". Any tips or tricks from the more experienced cake decorators. The icing I used was the Class Buttercream that Wilton has in their book. I did the "dirty ice" and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes before I iced the rest of it.

Also, my "instructor" is pretty much worthless. I think she is just there for whatever amount of money she is getting paid. icon_sad.gif
During class time, she really jumps around alot and did not give the class adequate time to decorate our cakes.

I was so excited about the class until last night. Found out she is the same one who will be teaching course 2, so not sure if I will continue.
Any help for you professionals would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

19 replies
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poohsmomma Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 12:16am
post #2 of 20

Hi Deb,
Welcome to CC. You might as well get comfortable; you may be here for many years! It IS addicting.

Try Indydebi's buttercream. It's really smooth, goes on well, crusts well and you can flavor it lots of ways. I take her basic recipe and add a little butter flavoring. Here's a link to the recipe:

I hope you don't get too discouraged with your Wilton class. But you could end up self-taught like me and many others here on CC. With all the help available here, you can do pretty much anything.

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JGMB Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 2:11am
post #3 of 20

Have you tried a Viva paper towel with a fondant smoother? Look up "Viva method" with this site's search engine.

Also, here's a wonderful youtube video posted by Edna, a superstar here at CC!

There's also something called the "Melvira method" which involves a paint roller from the hardware store. But don't laugh -- it works! You can search for it here, too.

I hope this helps!!

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cakeandpartygirl Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 2:30am
post #4 of 20

I have learned from experience that the 2 hr class time is not enough time to get your decorating done especially in a course 1. Give it some time and cake decorating takes time and patience. Trust me getting your icing smooth is something that isn't going to come overnight it takes practice. I can feel your excitement and anticipation but welcome to the wonderful world of cake decorating!!!

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jammjenks Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 2:44pm
post #5 of 20

I use the Melvira method that JGMB referred to.

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crazydoglady Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 9:45pm
post #6 of 20

i have struggled with getting buttercream smooth for a long time. i finally tried indydebi's recipe and the viva method and it works very well!

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alene Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 10:00pm
post #7 of 20

I got frustrated with my class instructor also but you need to hang in there to learn the basics and the rest you can learn on your own with a little help from your CC friends. I also use Indydebi's bc icing. Good luck.

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CBMom Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 11:46pm
post #8 of 20
Originally Posted by poohsmomma

Hi Deb,
Welcome to CC. You might as well get comfortable; you may be here for many years! It IS addicting......

.......I hope you don't get too discouraged with your Wilton class. But you could end up self-taught like me and many others here on CC. With all the help available here, you can do pretty much anything.

Self-taught here, too!!

Well, "self-read, taught by CCers" !! LOL

Read, read, watch YouTube - check out SeriousCakes videos - and TK BCRose...

...and then get out your mixing bowls!

Have fun, and you'll be teaching a Wilton class someday!! icon_biggrin.gif

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JanH Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 1:22am
post #9 of 20

Hi and Welcome to CC, DebP48. icon_smile.gif

Everything you need to know to make, decorate and assemble tiered/stacked/layer cakes:

Above super thread has popular CC recipes for crusting American buttercreams, several types of fondant and doctored cake mix (WASC and other flavor variations) - and so much more.


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DebP48 Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 1:56am
post #10 of 20

Thank you all for the warm welcome and words of encourgement.

I do have a question about indydeb's bc. I see it has dream whip and wanted to know if it has a "whipped icing" taste? I don't like whipped icing. I had really never tasted whipped icing until I moved from Ohio to California and now in Arizona. I love BC.

I will keep on practicing and looking for all of you to help me out.

Thanks again, I hope I won't make too much of a pest of myself.

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sugarMomma Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 2:16am
post #11 of 20

Does not taste like a whipped icing at all. Nowhere near like Rich's Bettercreme.

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crazydoglady Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 2:08pm
post #12 of 20


i encourage you to try indydebi's recipe. i tried over and over to get a smooth finish and got it easily with her recipe. it looked good with just a spatula smoothing and was quite smooth with viva.

one of my favorite bc recipes for flavor is this one:

i've also found the tutorials on youtube by edna and serious cakes to be very helpful for working with buttercream.

i'm new to this too and have found a wealth of information on cc and youtube.

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Sweet_Guys Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 4:43pm
post #13 of 20

Welcome to Cake Central!

Check out Sharon Zambito aka Sugar Shack. She has videos that are AMAZING including working with buttercream. Google either of these or SugarEd Productions.

We use a butter-only buttercream recipe that is DELICIOUS!


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cookielicious Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 5:15pm
post #14 of 20

Sorry about your instructor =( I was an instructor for a short time, but only after decorating cakes for 5 years. I figured everyone who taught had to have loads of experience, but that's not always the case. There's another WMI in my area that had only been doing cakes for about a year and is now an instructor! There's no way they know all the tricks yet. Also, it should be noted that the instrcutors are told to do things ONLY the Wilton way. If Wilton doesn't sell it, you aren't supposed to talk about it. So while I was taking my classes as a student, I learned a TON of tricks/techniques from this site. =)

Also- instructors don't get paid much. They use all their own supplies too. It's not a very profitable job.

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EGKmom Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 5:31pm
post #15 of 20

DebP48, I'm so glad to see your post as I started a Wilton class this week too. My rainbow cake icing was grainy and the instructor didn't have much explanation. I'm thrilled to have found this site and look forward to learning much more.

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mgwebb68 Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 6:42pm
post #16 of 20

Welcome! You're going to love it here.

I had problems with grainy BC when I started I tried Indydebi's and Sugarshacks. I like them both, neither are grainy, but I mostly use Sugarshacks. For me the trick was to figure out that I was getting way too much air in my BC. Once I figured that out and fixed that issue, now I don't have any problems.

Check out Sharon's video on youtube

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Adriana-G Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 6:49pm
post #17 of 20

DebP48, I've had the same problem with my icing and was sooo happy icon_biggrin.gif to find Edna on YouTube- -explaining exactly why this happens and what you can do to correct this problem. Edna (username Tonedna1 on YouTube) explains that Crisco now uses Zero Trans Fats so this cuts the fat in your recipe so icing tends to come out drier and crumbly so you should then use Whole Fat Milk instead of water to replace the missing fat -OR- you can use a Hi Ratio Shortening. Edna states for her cake decorating business she prefers Hi Ratio Shortening since the buttercream comes out really really smooth and not grainy but you can only get this online or through a food service store not your local supermarket. Watch her videos on you tube she is very detailed in her tutorials.
As a newbie to cake decorating, I had been using the Wilton's buttercream recipe I learned taking the Wilton's cake decorating class using store bought Crisco white shortening. Now I know better. icon_smile.gif

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badkitty Posted 16 Oct 2009 , 6:57pm
post #18 of 20

I usually use whole milk for Indydebi's BC and have been amazed at how smoothly I can ice a cake! I love this icing!! Last batch though, I forgot and picked up the 1% stuff I use for other things (dairy products and I don't get along). I was so frustrated with how crumbly and dry my BC was. I could NOT get it smooth. Then I realized I had used the wrong milk. I bet that was my problem. Will make sure to use the whole stuff next time!! (At least I HOPE that was the problem!!)

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DebP48 Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 2:06am
post #19 of 20

Everyone one is so helpful, I am so excited!!! My next class is Tuesday, we are doing the clown ones. I will try indydeb's icing and let eveyone know how it goes.

EGK mom, are you sure we are not in the same class? Seems like our instructors are the same.

Thanks again to everyone. I really appreciate your ideas.

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cmalin3 Posted 18 Oct 2009 , 3:51am
post #20 of 20

Hi Deb! Lots of luck on Tuesday. I had that problem when I took Course I (the instructor was rather flighty and just didn't seem to have much more experience than us newbies). There's also more work crammed into Course I than the other courses, so don't give up! (We didn't have to make cakes every week for the other courses - just a final cake for the last class.)

If you can find another instructor, by all means go for it. I found one who taught on a different night, and I finished Course II, III and FGP and was thrilled. I actually learned stuff!

By far the biggest help has been this site though. I'm still really new at a lot of this, but this site and the members have given me confidence and inspiration! You'll get addicted and before you know it you're spending hours here looking at recipes, photos and forum posts.

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