Ever since I started decorating cakes, which has only been a few months, I have only used fondant to cover them. One, I think it looks a lot better than buttercream and you can do a lot more with it. And I really enjoy making carved cakes.
Well, I got my first cake order...and it's for a buttercream covered cake. I just couldn't talk her into fondant. So, since I have never used buttercream to cover a cake, I am of course going to practice as much as I can.
I made a 6 inch 2 layer cake tonight and covered it in buttercream. I hate it!!! I think it looks so bad. I spent an hour tonight trying to make it smooth and was just not having any luck. I mean, it doesn't look that bad, but it's definitely not as smooth as my wonderful fondant. I guess practice makes perfect.
I'm the same way SoundsSweet! In the past few months that I've been caking, I've only ever done fondant. It seems so much easier to work with to me, even though there's some amazing buttercream cakes out there. One day I'll have to bit the bullet and give it a try, but I am just scared that it will look awful, lol.
Since you're practicing, I'm sure you'll get lots better in a short amount of time!! You've probably seen this sticky, but if not there's a some tutorials listed for icing a cake here, plus TONS of others.
Good luck, and post some pics!!
I think buttercream decorated cakes can easily look as lovely and intricate as fondant decorated cakes, but until you have practiced, it is hard! Buttercream work is an art form, just see the cakes by cakery or BCJean or others. I get green with envy whenever I see beautifully decorated BC cakes, as that is a skill I surely don't possess.
However if you don't have time to learn how to get it right, why not just cover your BC iced cake with fondant? As long as there is a normal layer of BC under your fondant, the customer gets what she wants and you can decorate within your range of comfort. Of course cost-wise that might not be the most efficient suggestion. Just a thought!
I am the total opposite, I started out only using BC, as I didn't know about fondant other than Wilton and hated it. I basically used the star tip all the time, but now I'm venturing into other BC territory, as well as fondant.
There's a lot you can do with BC. Try Indydebi's BC in recipes - it's good tasting, economical to make and easy to work with. I've heard Sugarshack videos are the best for learning to work with BC. I just ordered them and am very excited! But right now I smooth with a hot knife and it helps a lot! BC is a lot tastier than fondant too.
If your not comfortable with doing BC, its your duty to explain to this to the customer, its better to not give her a cake than give her something you dont consider up to standard, at least untill you can get more comfortable with working with it.
If that really isnt an option then your just gonna have to practise the crap out of buttercream lol . I started with fondant, and havent been asked for an all buttercream cake, there just not popular where i live, But keep practising and you WILL get better! I bought my self a wide bench scraper from the DIY store, it was about 99 pence and now its all i use, i find it much easier to get a smooth finish with that than say a palette knife
I may get flamed for this, but why did you take an order for a cake you aren't comfortable doing? You need to tell the customer the truth and give her the option of going elsewhere.
THEN... definitely find a good recipe and play with buttercream some. It does take some practice, but once you learn how to work with it, you might find that you enjoy it for what it is. I haven't ever worked with fondant and keep telling myself I need to, for these same reasons.
I'm surprised nobody has said it yet... Order SugarShack's Flawless Buttercream DVD, you will NOT be disappointed. The main thing for me is to get my scraper really hot with boiling water before each scrape of icing. HTH
I've been practicing with buttercream recently. I've found you have to have the right tools for the job. I am putting on the buttercream with the Wilton frosting tip (or whatever it's called) on a 16 inch bag, real easy. And I bought a big scraper, dip it in boiling water (like Mug-a-Bug said). I'm starting to really like buttercream.
Ok, I'm the same way, fondant is soooo much easier to get that great final finish. When I do make a buttercream cake I use the viva method. Search it on here there is a turotial, I think. You still get to use your fondant smoother But really, if you can get a nice even coat of buttercream on there it gives you a nice smooth look.
In my opinion the icer tip doesn't apply enough icing to the cake. If you find that you get naked spots or end up applying more icing; than ditch the icer tip and apply a thicker coat with the small offset spatula. But, if it works well for you than go for it.
I'm sorry but, buttercream covered cakes can't compare to fondant covered cakes. Yes, they can be smooth and so on but to me fondant is a much better to cover cakes with compared to just buttercream.
I've always worked with fondant, but recently I found that people make gorgeous cakes with buttercream and I feel so jealous!!! I really want to be that good when working with buttercream.
I recommend you this recipe, is from Edna's:
Good luck and let us know how it went
Thank you soo much for all of your suggestions! I never thought of dipping the spatula in boiling water. I am going to try that on the next one! Also I am going to try one of the recipe's you suggested. I took the order because I really want to get my name out there. I am really confident in my cake decorating/making abilities and although I don't have much experience with buttercream, I am very confident that the cake will turn out beautiful. I have covered cakes with buttercream in the first Wilton class that I took, but it has been awhile. I also explained to the customer that even though I would use fondant that there would still be a layer of buttercream underneath, but she just didn't want it.
You can also use Melvira's method with the fine paint roller & Viva papertowel, it works very well. I use Sharon's method as well & both are excellent, Sharon's DVD is fantastic, you wont be sorry if you buy it. Melvira's method is here on CC, sorry I cant post a link....I don't know how!
Sugarshack's DVD ALLLLLLLL The way!!!
I loved Sugar shacks Videos. I like to use butter cream and use Fondant for accent pieces. I have found for the most part people that want butter cream understand that it will not be as "perfect" as fondant. But you can surprise them by getting it pretty darn close!!!