Okay...I make sure my buttercream is absolutely perfect, bought a cool bench scraper from Michaels and presto: NOTHING! No matter how much time (and believe me, its a lot) I take trying to make my sides perfectly smooth with buttercream, I always have cake showing. What am I doing wrong?! Ganache is fine under fondant but I really want smooth buttercreamed cakes. :(
Are you pressing too hard with the scraper when removing icing? I usually find that when my pressure is too heavy, I have to go back and add more because I went too far. You don't need firm pressure. Just hold the scraper still, at 90 against the cake, and let the turn table do the work. There are a lot of good tutorials on YouTube.
If you always have cake showing, simply trim the sides a little so that they sit inside the edges of e cake circle properly.
You then apply a generous coating of icing and remove the excess using your cake board as your guide. I work in sections, so apply generous amount to say 1/4 of cake then remove roughly, move on to next section and repeat.
Once full cake is covered go back and use your scraper (be careful not to tilt it at all) to remove any remaining excess, allow to set hard in fridge for a short period of time.
Pull cake out and fill in any divots generously with buttercream, once again smooth it out using the bench scraper and your cake circle as your guide.
If you want to not have the cake circle showing after icing then you can either use an acrylic board slightly larger than your cake to ice on (with the cake sitting on it's own cardboard circle of course) or pipe a border once you have it on your display board or use a ribbon to wrap round the bottom etc.
Practice makes perfect :-)
I give up! :( Won't post my L O N G reply.,
Trying for the 3rd time. Sure hope I don't loose this one as I am totally out of time to re-do it!! Maybe some of the problem is your icing recipe? It should be a soft/somewhat thin consistency. Have you tried this one?: https://www.cakecentral.com/recipe/22469/2-icing It's a great smooth, soft icing perfect for finish icing cakes.
Try using the 'quick icer' tip. It's that 2" wide one with serrated teeth on one side and smooth the other. I usually put the serrated side against the cake - I think it helps girp/hold better. 2 swipes around a cake and you have applied the perfect amount o f icing. Now just use you bench scarper with gentle pressure to smooth out the icing - you don't want to remove icing, just smooth it. It should take no more than 5 minutes to completely finish icing a 10x4" round :)
I also have this same problem. I shaved down the sides of the cake and it still didn’t be help. I used the tip that kakeladi mentioned and nothing. The one time I got a decent coat with no buttercream I was in I give up mode and o wasn’t really bad careful. I applied a ton of buttercream and used gentle pressure to scrape of the excess I filled in the gaps with more buttercream and scraped again. To my surprise, it was near perfect with hardly any air bubbles. I find, the more times I scrape, the uglier the cake gets. If it’s near perfect, leave it alone. I only scrape around the cake once then add more buttercream and scrape around the cake the least amount of times. So basically, don’t overdo it and use minimal pressure we’re the biggest things for me.
With no cake showing I was in give up mode and wasn’t really that careful*
Use quick icer tip, and bench scraper. Make sure you hold scraper at level when taking off excess buttercream. Stop when near perfect. Take it easy.
Practice, practice, practice.
I agree, don’t obsess over every flaw. Some flaws will remain and over time there will be less and less flaws. Don’t be too hard on yourself
kakeladi I use that recipe but with all shortening and I use milk or cream to thin it out because its super thick! I'll try this one as well. I'm always cautious with butter because I find the crusting buttercreams pipe better and I don't have to go as fast so the butter won't begin to get soft while I'm working. Perhaps its the liquid?
"Try using the 'quick icer' tip. It's that 2" wide one with serrated teeth on one side and smooth the other."
I LOVE these tips!! I've been trying to catch them on a good sale since forever!! I agree. They look much easier than trying to cover the cake with a spatula. Thank you so much kakeladi!
Paola__ "I applied a ton of buttercream and used gentle pressure to scrape of the excess I filled in the gaps with more buttercream and scraped again. To my surprise, it was near perfect with hardly any air bubbles."
I think the common denominator is pressure. I may be pressing too hard and not relying on the turntable. I try not to be hard on myself but it looks so easy! Then when I do it: nothing. Its very discouraging.
Cake Boss uses cut pieces of poster board which kind of bends with the sides of cake and allows a smoother finish with buttercream. It works like a dream and now that is all I use too. Smooths out the cake as if it were fondant. But your buttercream has to be a little smoother to be able to cover the cake with. For buttercream flowers you need buttercream stiffer so I always take out frosting for that then add a few extra drops of milk or cream to soften the frosting I cover my cake with which smooths easier.
Place your scraper (my husband is a welder and me a stainless steel one which is great but I sometimes have to switch it out for a lighter plastic one to finish up depending on the type of icing I am using) on the bench with the bottom against the cake board. You are icing to the shape of your board and not the shape of your cake as even though your cake looks round/square it probably isn't quite due to uneven shrinkage etc.
I keep my scraper 90 degrees from cake and turn the turntable slowly, too fast and you will end up with vertical lines, too slow the scraper kind of sticks in the icing, once you get the feel of it you will be right :-)
Another thing to note, I actually use a glass Lazy Susan and not a turntable, it does have a little wobble so I have to be careful to turn it gently - if yours has any wobble that is something to be aware of as well.
I'm guessing you wete heavy handed. That was definitely my problem. Pressing too hard and not relying on my turntable. I also find smoothing a cake ice cold from the freezer works for me. I like the upside down method. Here's a good YouTube video that helped me
Dip your bench scrapper in HOT water and wipe it off with a towel, quickly then use the hot scrapper to go around the cake.
Something else that helps me is I use a bag to pipe icing around the whole cake. I was taught to do that so you get an even amount of icing around the cake, instead of just slapping it on. Then use my off set to somewhat even it out but don't go crazy, then dip my scrapper in the water quickly wipe off with a towel and go around the cake.
If you do use a hot scraper with a butter based icing it may change the colour as the heat will melt the butter that it comes in to contact with.
Also just a note, the only reason that I do 1/4 of the cake at a time is so I can apply a very generous amount of icing without needing to make extra icing.
@remnant3333 I think that's another issue: My icing tends to be pretty thick because I make it into huge batches. That's how I broke my other mixer--I used the whisk attachment for buttercream instead of the beater. Who knew? lol
@bubs1stbirthday Yes, that's it! I do it too slowly! It sticks in my icing all the time! How did you know? lol j/k Usually, I make decorators icing so I don't have to worry about consistency. Since its getting pretty cooler, its safe for me to go back to a 50/50 butter/shortening mix.
@youngj I can see why it would be beneficial to have an even layer around the whole cake. Sigh. I'm doing so many things wrong you guys. :(
@jchuck Yes, you guessed it! I am very heavy handed and have a lead foot. lol #needforspeed Thank you so much for the video!! I'm going to keep practicing until I do it right! : )