It's the most perfect smoothing job I've ever seen. Amazing!
and how about the recipes for the cake and icing-yum.
WOW what a smooth finish....PLEASE tell us how you did it!!!!!
Thanks gals! It DID come out really smooth, eh? I just made it last night for today's wedding. I guess the patron Saint of masking was with me at 1am!
(I forgot to type in that those 3 tiers are 5.5" tall each, the cake was SO tall!)
Here are my hints:
- I use Martha's Italian Meringue buttercream, using pure unsalted butter (not cut with shortening!) and "Simply Egg Whites" from the grocery store
- I make the buttercream fresh, coat the cakes with a crumb coat and then put them in the freezer for 30 minutes to set hard.
- before I remove them from the freezer, I whip the buttercream again with the paddle attachment to get it super smooth and no air pockets in it
-I mask my cakes with a big off-set palette knife with about 50% too much buttercream...then I remove it perfectly by smoothing with a plastic plastering tool (you know, the ones like a pastry scraper, but with the longer handle?) Works beautifully!
- if you have tiny little lines or holes, just chill the cake again for 20 minutes in the fridge and then use your finger to smooth any tiny imperfections
You do absolutely awesome work!
And now we know who baked/decorated that particular cake!
Great looking cake, by the way! Janice
Beautiful cake!! And it sounds soooooo yummy!!!
I have never used meringue type buttercreams and would like to try one but I was wondering if the cake has to be refrigerated after it is decorated. I don't have much room ever in the fridge.
It can stay out for hours at weddings in a reception room (I've had mine out for 10 hours sometimes), but you don't want to keep it out for a day or anything.
It is made with fresh egg whites, but they are taken way past the safe temperature with the addition of the boiling sugar syrup (at 240 degrees), so there is no worry there.
It goes hard (like cold butter!) in the fridge. When you take it out, tiny tiny beads of perspiration appear and evaporate as it comes to room temperature...then it is gorgeous and semi-glossy because of the butter returning to temp.
It tastes gorgeous and silky, like a heavier whipped cream.
Antonia, when you said you used Marthas recipe for the Italian BC was this the recipe used? I found this on her living site, but was wondering if it was the same, sometimes recipes change.
Italian Meringue Buttercream
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
That's the one! It's the best buttercream I've ever worked with.
To make it Chocolate Buttercream, add 3 ounces of warm melted chocolate and 1/3 cup of sifted cocoa.
Do you think you could attach pics of the tools that you use to smooth your cakes. For some reason I can't picture what you are using when you say plastering tool.
antonia - are simply egg whites the kind in the milk cartons in the grocery store? Near the egg beaters?
Why didn't I think of photographing the tool?? Good idea Montanakate!
That's right Beachcakes, Simply Whites is the product you find in the "milk carton" - like containers. They work beautifully and whip up even faster than the eggs you seperate...PLUS, you don't have all the leftover egg yolks and you don't have any waste. Make sure your whites are at room temperature when you make buttercream. They whip up even higher. I take mine out of the fridge at least an hour or two before I start.
Here it is, a 6" plastering tool...about $2 at your local hardware store:
Thanks for the quick response and photo. That helps a lot with the picture in my mind of how you are doing it.
I have a metal tool similar to that but I don't seem to have the knack with it yet. When I try to use it it always seems like my cakes are tapered. Like the bottom layer of frosting is really thick and the top is much thinner. Does this make sense? Do you have any suggestions about how to hold the tool really straight vertically?
I know exactly what you mean...the cake ends up with an Angelfood-cake type slant to it? Wider at the bottom than at the top?
Well, first off, I use a solid metal turntable for smoothing or it wouldn't work nearky as nicely. Does your turntable have metal rings in the top...that show the 8", 9" & 10" circles? You can actually put the end of the smoothing tool into that groove and use it to be more precise...but of course, that will only work on a 7", 8" or 9" cake with 1/2" thick icing all the way around!
Other than that, just practice really!
Angel food cake appearance, THAT'S IT PRECISELY!!! Unfortunately my turntable does not have the metal rings, but that sounds like a great idea. Right now I'm using a big wooden lazy susan I got at costco for $12 bucks. It works pretty good because it holds big cakes and turns really smoothly. I'm wondering if I coulg glue on of those little leveling tools (string levels) onto my plastering tool and see if that helps guide me? I'm going to have to experiment with this one.
Hmmm.... Is it possible someone edited my post to include a link to the picture? Great idea - I would have done it if I knew how, but in my experience the links don't always point where you intended, so I didn't try it myself.
What's the secret?
Do you have any suggestions about how to hold the tool really straight vertically?
Go to http://www.cakecentral.com/article46-Step-By-Step-3D-Cake-Sculpting-Baby-in-a-Flower-Pot.html and scroll down to #6. Although Anne uses a different type of "paint thingie" for smoothing, there's a really good picture of the tool that she uses and how to hold it, i.e. ignore the handle altogether.
Btw, I use that same type of tool... about a buck at Lowe's/Home Depot.
Thanks Antonia! I didn't know you could use those b/c the carton says "not for meringues" or something. Thanks for the tip!
Weird, I wonder what would make yours inapropriate for meringue??
I just checked out my carton here and it says "Great for Baking" on the side.
We use the carton variety at work all the time when we have to make lots of angelfood cakes, pavlovas, meringue etc. Why bother seperating all those eggs, risking getting a touch of yolk in your mix, or trying desperately to use up hundreds of yolks? It's much more efficient to just purchase the whites alone.
Just to let everyone know, when you pour the whites in the cartons, they will SEEM runnier and more watery...but they whip up even better than seperated egg whites in less time, so do keep an eye on them and don't overwhip!
Thanks DiH, I forgot about that tutorial. I saw that tool once before, I think they are pretty cheap too.
Antonia - thank you! I stopped by the store last nite and they had Eggbeaters brand which says it's ok for meringues. The Papetti (?) all whites are the ones that say they aren't.
Montanakate...I know you mentioned you have never tried the paper towel method for smoothing, but do you think it would work on this type of icing? I was curious, because I love that technique for smoothing.
I've seen the instructions on how to make a nice edge to a square cake, can you tell me how you got such perfect corners/edges on your rounds. I know you start with the sides and then do the top. Do you have any tips besides practice Thanks!
I apologize...my question was directed to the wrong person...meant for antonia74 regarding the Italian Merinque Buttercream. Sorry...
work on a 7", 8" or 9" cake with 1/2" thick icing all the way around!
Other than that, just practice really!
Exactly! I've tried all of the same techniques. My cakes aren't nearly as smooth as yours. It's so frustrating.
I've never tried the paper towel technique OR crusting buttercream. Does it work on non-crusting buttercream at all?
Has anyone tried this on Meringue Buttercream? I'd be willing to give it a go on my cake tops for sure!
Well, I was going to make the Meringue BC tonight, but I was going by the Swiss MBC recipe. It doesn't look like there is much difference between the two except that there are 6 egg whites instead of 5 and the cream of tartar is omitted. Do you think it is relatively the same? I am going to make the SMBC to see how I like it. I just love your cakes and I recently got my first wedding cake order, so I want to make it as smooth as possible. I have just had a lot of trouble lately with my crisco BC.
Would this icing be ok if the reception is outside on Nov. 5? I am in the south, so I don't know if it will be warm or cold....I am giving a taste sample to my bride on Monday. If I shouldn't use this, I don't want to tempt her with the option. I would rather work with something that I wouldn't have to worry about.
Bumping for frindmi