Any Tips Please

Decorating By TasiaG Updated 26 Mar 2020 , 9:44pm by SandraSmiley

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TasiaG Posted 19 Mar 2020 , 7:15am
post #1 of 41
I work at a Walmart supercenter bakery that only has one cake decorater and I’m in complete training no experience at all. I only been trained officially once and have been learning basically by myself. Recently I’ve been trying to ice flat sheet cakes and can’t seem to get them smooth. I use a quick icer and decopac scrapers but bubbles appear in the buttercream icing which we don’t make. And my corners always end up exposed with a hole causing crumbs. A side note is we decorate the cake the day of soo no time for crumb coats. Anyways I need all the tips and suggestion to at least get the base icing down.

* not my cake in the pic just in example of how the buttercream looks. No matter how many times I scraped the sides little spaces appeared.


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iris.19 Posted 19 Mar 2020 , 7:42am
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maybe try a thicker layer? or after you do your final layer go back in where the holes are with a patch of icing then smooth it out one last time. im not a pro but thats what comes to mind sorry if it doesnt help much

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kakeladi Posted 19 Mar 2020 , 1:10pm
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It sounds like the icing needs to be a bit thinner &/or simply mixed just before use One bakery I worked at had a rule the bowl of icing would be rewhipped every 15 minutes This is a light, gentle stirring to remove bubbles The bowls were maybe 2x the size of a home KA mixer but not industrial size:)

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kakeladi Posted 19 Mar 2020 , 11:07pm
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I notice this is your 1st post on this site so you will not be able to reply to any post for about 30 days so if you want to comment on any post just start a new post referring to the one you are talking about It helps if you title it something like “tips pt 2”

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kakeladi Posted 19 Mar 2020 , 11:07pm
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I notice this is your 1st post on this site so you will not be able to reply to any post for about 30 days so if you want to comment on any post just start a new post referring to the one you are talking about It helps if you title it something like “tips pt 2”

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jchuck Posted 19 Mar 2020 , 11:20pm
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Bump

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kakeladi Posted 20 Mar 2020 , 4:13pm
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Bump

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SandraSmiley Posted 20 Mar 2020 , 11:37pm
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bump

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kakeladi Posted 21 Mar 2020 , 1:40pm
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1st would love to hear if you have any improvement Next I think part of the problem is not crumb coating! It would only take at most an extra 5 minutes or less Thin down that icing a bit w/water OR if you can heat it in a MW no more than 10-15 seconds than quickly pour/spread it over the cake By the time you get ready to apply the finish coat it will have dried/ be ready Good luck & let us know how it goes:)

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Laetia Posted 22 Mar 2020 , 2:04pm
post #10 of 41

All those tips should realy help you, but also keep in mind that the most important tip is practice and practice again. I personaly still cant frost and smooth a decent square/rectangle cake.

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jchuck Posted 22 Mar 2020 , 8:08pm
post #11 of 41

What Laetia said   ^^^^^

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Baker Beach Posted 23 Mar 2020 , 7:31pm
post #12 of 41

Laetia and jchuck -- I can't get smooth edges/sides to save my life. I finally embraced my inadequacy and do a thin crumb coat and then just pipe fancy stars over the entire cake and call it good. Its fast, its pretty and it hides every imperfection in my cake. My customers have no clue and think its perfect--hahahaha! I know this does not help TasiaG, the OP-- but I wanted to chime in :)

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jchuck Posted 23 Mar 2020 , 9:07pm
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Baker Beach ....it takes practice, practice. I tried to post cakes I’ve done from CC, but CC won’t bring up my pictures on my profile. Sooooo plan B.

https://cakesdecor.com/cakes/331971-happy-birthday-lennon

The cake above was a combo of buttercream + ganache. The trick is popping your cake in the freezer for a good 10-15 minutes until cake is good and cold. Place your cake on a turntable. Then you can either use a long handled spatula, or a bench scraper dipped in very hot water. If using a bench scraper,  dip scraper into hot water, shake off excess water,  while turning on the turntable, hold scraper at 90 degree angle. If using a long handled spatula, ditto previous paragraph, except hold the spatula close to the cake as your turning the turntable. I do this several times while popping my cake into the freezer between smoothing. You do it enough times, you will get the Hang of it. 

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SandraSmiley Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 2:41pm
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As everyone else has said, PRACTICE!  I've been making cakes all of my life, but only since I adopted cake decorating as a hobby have I tried to frost a perfectly smooth cake.  That was a little over five years ago and I am just now beginning to get the perfect, smooth, straight, sharp edged results we all dream about.  Still have a long way to go too!

One thought, are you using a bench scraper or just a spatula?  Smoothing the sides works a lot better with a bench scraper.

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SandraSmiley Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 2:43pm
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By the way, square cakes are much harder than round ones!

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SandraSmiley Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 2:54pm
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Here is the difference after five years of practice.

Any Tips Please

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jchuck Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 3:34pm
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Great examples Sandra. I couldn’t find a really early cake example. I didn’t always take pictures of my early cakes. And although I started to make cakes in 2006, the “sharp edges” wasn’t around until approximately 5-6 years. And like Sandra, that’s about how long it’s taken me to achieve relatively smooth, straight, sharp edges. And I’m also not anywhere near 100% there yet. The biggest bugaboo for me was to get perfectly straight even cakes to start with. That is your canvas. If your cake isn’t straight and level, you won’t be able to get a smooth crisp top and sides on your cake. And it took me a long time to be able to cut my cakes in half perfectly, and fill. Seems sooooo simple to cut a cake in half, but sometimes the simplest is the hardest!!! And like Sandra, I’ve only been retired for a few years, and decorating is our hobby. So this took longer to perfect because you’re not making/decorating cakes every week.  

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Baker Beach Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 3:56pm
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Sandrasmiley - You can see a difference-- both cakes are great-- but the pink is definitely more defined. Thanks for the encouragement! I have practiced so much, but I have not tried a bench scraper. One of my problems I think is not holding my spatulas straight-- I end up digging unevenly into the frosting and then come up with something that looks more like the leaning tower!

I'll keep practicing and will try the bench scraper, but in the meantime, my cakes with stars piped do look really nice (if I do say so!). I do dessert cakes not wedding cakes, so its easy to have that as my decorating "style." I know with wedding cakes I couldn't do that. Here is a link to my website so you can see some of the cakes: www.thebeachery.com (is it allowed to post a link-- if not I can just delete it). 

Jchuck -- yes! Cutting the cakes into layers is so hard-- thank heavens for filling, right?

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jchuck Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 4:21pm
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When I couldn’t get the top and the sides of my cake smooth, I, like you created my own signature style. I used a kitchen sponge, or scrubber (obviously designated just for cakes!!) and when I I was still slightly tacky, I would dab all around sides and top of the cake. This would “hide” the fact that my icing wasn’t smooth. Now, fast forward, funnily enough, that type of buttercream finish has become popular!! Go figure.

And Baker Beach I did post a link of one of my smoother cakes in a post above. A few up.^^^

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jchuck Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 4:24pm
post #20 of 41

Checked out your website Baker Beach......cool stuff. Love your signature style of piped bc cakes!!

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SandraSmiley Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 4:26pm
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Baker Beach, I can tell you right now that a bench scraper will change your life!  By setting the bottom edge of the scraper flat down on the turn table and the vertical edge against the cake, you automatically create a perfect right angle, impossible with a spatula.  It will be the best investment (very inexpensive too) you ever made!

Not a thing wrong with your stars!  We all use all kinds of devises to hide imperfections on our cakes.  When I first started decorating, a very experienced cake artist gave me invaluable advise; when you have a flaw, turn it into a feature!  I thought this was crazy until I tried it and it is amazing how you can start to cover a flaw with a flower or something and all of a sudden a whole design appears!  

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jchuck Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 4:36pm
post #22 of 41

So true Sandra. I got the same advice. Hide mistakes and imperfections with extra design elements. Flowers, molded items from fondant, etc. I’ve turned out some very creative cakes because of the embellishments I’ve had to add!!! 

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Baker Beach Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 4:37pm
post #23 of 41

I will definitely try the bench scraper! And I believe I have seen tutorials using one, so I will check one out. After all, I got nuthin' but time these days!

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SandraSmiley Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 4:39pm
post #24 of 41

Honey, you are going to LOVE your new cake toy!  It is also the best thing ever for cutting bread dough into pieces, scooping up chopped things off the cutting board, a miracle tool.

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Baker Beach Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 4:45pm
post #25 of 41

Jchuck -- I love your train cake and that style is definitely back in! Your grandson must have been in heaven. Mine likes Corgis (the dogs), so I bought a Corgi cookie cutter and will surprise him with some cookies. He's 17, but still our baby:)

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Baker Beach Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 4:45pm
post #26 of 41

Jchuck -- I love your train cake and that style is definitely back in! Your grandson must have been in heaven. Mine likes Corgis (the dogs), so I bought a Corgi cookie cutter and will surprise him with some cookies. He's 17, but still our baby:)

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jchuck Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 4:56pm
post #27 of 41

Thanks Baker Beach. Cake was fun to make. Grandson, Lennon, or Lenny, as we call him, loves trains. Still does. His fav was a wooden train, which I was trying to replicate. So is it your son who is 17, or your grandson???? 

As for the bench scraper, I’ve had one fro probably 20 years or more. Because I bake bread, pastries etc, I used all the time to life Douala scrape off the counter. When I discovered you could use the bench scraper for cake smoothing...oh wow, bonus. Since I had one already. I also have a “plastic” bench scraper. Really old, made by Wilton. Don’t think they even make it anymore. I started out using the plastic one because like you Baker Beach, I kept gouging the sides of my cake, leaving marks. But after I got good with the plastic scraper, I switched to the metal scraper. Much sharper, cleaner line. I do, occasionally, use the side of my acrylic smoothers on the sides of my cake, like a scraper. And Sandra is correct that it’s harder with a long handled spatula, but I’m pretty good at using it as that’s how I was taught ions ago. 

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jchuck Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 5:25pm
post #28 of 41

In case any of you ladies are so inclined. Paul Bradford, of CakeFlix, is having a a ALL DAY tutorial FREE, this Saturday. Teachers from all over the world. Of course times are going to vary by zones in the world. The actual times are listed by cake artists. Here’s the link. I’m not sure if you have to register, or just jump on the feed??

https://www.facebook.com/CakeflixOfficial/

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Baker Beach Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 5:46pm
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Jchuck --its my grandson! They live really close to us and he's the only grandchild, so to us he's "ours", too :)

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jchuck Posted 24 Mar 2020 , 6:18pm
post #30 of 41

Ahhhh...you must have had your children at 13 to have such a grownup grandson!!!! I waited a looooooong time to have my first grandchild. Daughter was married 6 years before she had her first child. Then a “oops”, and she had her 2nd one 2 years later. And thankfully so, because it was discovered through pap tests, my daughter had way too many precancerous cells. After some surgery to remove the cells, 6 months later, they had started growing back. Not good. So daughter had a complete hysterectomy. So if my daughter hadn’t had her 2nd child when she did, she wouldn’t have been able to have another. 

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