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IMBC Photos for inspiration please! - Page 2

post #16 of 132
I am hoping that as this thread evolves I'll see some tips on smoothing colored IMBC too. I use IMBC almost exclusively (big deal, I've made like 8 cakes LOL!) and learned the hard way that you CAN'T use the hot (even warm, I tried just running it under the room-temperature tap) spatula to smooth IMBC when it's colored. I thought I was doing something wrong until I did a forum search and realized that yep, the heat causes the color to somehow separate out of the icing causing an inconsistently colored final result.

Shirley and Antonia74, I noticed your incredibly smooth and sharp IMBC cakes: oh please how do you get the colored ones so smooth?
post #17 of 132
Oh my goodness! While I was typing my other reply I guess "antonia74" was replying too.

Antonia74-- You're cakes are awesome! You're pictures are absolutely stunning! Maybe one day I too can make cakes like that!
Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
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Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
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post #18 of 132
Thanks so much!

Ceshell.....it's not that the colour "leaks" out when you try to use the old "hot spatula" technique, it's that you are actually melting the butter contained in the icing when you try to do that on meringue buttercream. It's a big no-no! Room temp tools are best for smoothing it.

You know how cold butter is pale yellow, but melted butter is bright yellow? Well, that's what's happening. It happens with natural or tinted meringue buttercreams, it's just more noticeable with the coloured/chocolate ones.
post #19 of 132
imbc is italian meringue buttercream and nf is no fail sugar cookies

i think you can smooth this by chilling and then touching up with a benchscraper or spatula right?
post #20 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by antonia74

Thanks so much!

Ceshell.....it's not that the colour "leaks" out when you try to use the old "hot spatula" technique, it's that you are actually melting the butter contained in the icing when you try to do that on meringue buttercream. It's a big no-no! Room temp tools are best for smoothing it.

You know how cold butter is pale yellow, but melted butter is bright yellow? Well, that's what's happening. It happens with natural or tinted meringue buttercreams, it's just more noticeable with the coloured/chocolate ones.



That is the one thing we don't agree on Antonia. All of the cakes that I have posted in this thread were smoothed with a hot spatula. But, I get my cakes as smooth as I can with just a regular room temperature spatula then I put my cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes. The butter in the icing of course gets very hard. I then heat a chocolate scraper or a flexible icing spatula over a stove burner for just a few seconds and smooth the cake sides, wipe the spatula clean and repeat until all sides are smooth. Then I pull the excess icing in from the edges to the center and smooth as best I can. I don't knock myself out on smoothing the very center because I always have flowers or some type of decoration in the center that covers any flaws. The only thing I can think of that prevents my icing getting yellow from the warm spatula may be because the icing is nearly frozen and I don't get the spatula or scraper fiery hot, I just run it over the fllame of a gas burner, shake it in the air and apply it to the sides of the cake at an angle.
SHIRLEY
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SHIRLEY
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post #21 of 132
Melysa, as soon as you chill the icing again, you can't easily do "touch-ups" like the average icing, no. You'll notice that attempting to touching cold/hard IMBC creates condensation and it appears grainy.

IMBC is best applied in one or two coats and not played around with after it's cold. Even warm hands on the icing will cause a change in the colour that can't be removed.
post #22 of 132
Thanks Antonia74. I'm still confused as to proper technique: do you still crumbcoat and then chill the cake before applying your icing layer, and at that point do you chill it again before smoothing, or do you just smooth it immediately after icing? When I chilled it I noticed that the room-temp bench scraper just wanted to make the icing all ragged and scraggly (well, yes, because I was "scraping" butter). Then, Shirley, I think I pretty much tried what you are suggesting but it did cause the color to separate - several cakes in my gallery show this effect. icon_sad.gif

I'd take a lumpy IMBC over a shortening based frosting ANY day of the week, but I'd sure love to figure out how to get it right!
post #23 of 132
Oh thanks again icon_smile.gif you answered me while I was typing icon_smile.gif. I did learn that, my first cake I smoothed w/my hands, same thing happened although it was supposed to be the color of the ocean so I figured heck, that complemented the design. I was more frustrated on my last cake where I really wanted the color to be even.

It sounds like the answer is: MORE PRACTICE. Guess that means more cake. Drat icon_wink.gif

Edited to add: Sheesh in rereading this it seems like I kind of hijacked this thread for which I do apologize, since the original poster was looking for decorating ideas. My initial thought was: smoothing the icing IS part of the decorating process so it's important information, but I'm a little concerned that I'm diverting attention away from the OP's request for inspiration and examples of IMBC piping and decorations. Very sorry!! I hope at least my inquiry results in some help for others too.
post #24 of 132
I always use IMBC (well, I never use a shortening-based icing, but will use like a cream cheese frosting when my cakes call for it), and I love it and am getting much better at smoothing it. Here is my latest IMBC cake, and I used the upsidedown smoothing technique (you can do a search for it and there is a tutorial for using this technique). For me, it really worked well, although time consuming. But it was worth it. I also use a hot bench scraper to smooth out the sides (as it says to do in the tutorial) and I didn't get any discoloration from doing so. Once you try IMBC, you will probably never go back to regular BC--it tastes so wonderful and it is really easy to make once you get a hang of it, and it is easy to work with.

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-photo_662493.html
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10
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I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10
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post #25 of 132
Thread Starter 
Antonia74, I just spent the last 45 minutes on your website. YOU are the baker/artist I want to be like. I have always baked with IMBC but felt my designs were too simple... you have taught me otherwise. Do you make IMBC roses? Is that possible? Do you do scroll work freehand? (unrelated question, what do you use to ice your cookies?) Sorry if I'm falling all over myself... just excited to kiss my failed efforts with shortening bc goodbye. Cheryl
post #26 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by melysa

wow, shirley, the second cake that you posted a link to surprised me. how did you get the contoured edges so smooth? usually when i think of smoothing imbc, i imagine smooth sides, but sharp edges. i'm eager to begin using this more often, but am a little hesitant because it seems that it would be hard to smooth without a benchscraper. do you chill it then use a hot knife?



Melysa I have to be honest on that one. First of all you are right, it is contoured on top. It is a regular cake pan for the bottom layer, a contoured pan for the top layer. I was experimenting with that one because I wanted to try and get IMBC as smooth in appearance as rolled fondant. That little cake took me 2 hours to ice and I actually cried with frustration because I still didn't feel it was smooth enough. I used a flexible blade icing spatula, a chocolate scraper, and a strip of flexible plastic cut from a large baggie or zip lock bag. Yes, I did chill the cake. I would stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes, smooth it with a warmed spatula, back in the freezer, warmed chocolate scraper, back in the freezer and polished off with the flexible piece of plastic held tautly in both hands and carefully pulled from the bottom of the cake up to the top, and finally around the sides starting from one spot and going all the way around the cake. That little cake nearly did me in! icon_biggrin.gif
SHIRLEY
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SHIRLEY
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post #27 of 132
That makes sense Shirley, I think we're both on the same page.

When I'm picturing someone using that "hot spatula/knife" technique, I'm thinking they are meaning the old "can of hot water/wipe it off" thing...which may be way more damaging to IMBC than your slightly warmed tool technique, that's for certain!

Here's my 3 biggest tips that I use every time for getting IMBC really smooth:

1) use it when it's freshly made, that's when the consistency is perfect. After the last bit of butter & flavouring are added in the recipe, whisk it on top speed for 3 minutes then turn the mixer off and walk away for 30 minutes. Come back, switch the whisk for the paddle attachment and give it 2 more minutes on medium speed to get rid of the air bubbles and make it super smooth. It should be the consistency of soft whipped cream or soft-serve ice cream. If you have leftover cold buttercream that you want to re-use, let it come to room temperature naturally on your counter until it is soft...and whip it again to the same soft consistency. If it's a bit cold when you start to mix it again, you'll notice that it seems to split and look curdled (like cottage cheese). DON'T PANIC and don't throw it out and don't add anything like icing sugar! The butter in the icing is just too cold and it needs a good mix to return to the right temperature. Just keep the mixer running and walk away for 5 minutes. When you return, it will be smooth and uniform once again, ready to use.

2) ice really cold firm cakes, semi-frozen if need be...but not 100% frozen solid. Torte, fill & thinly crumbcoat your cake and put it in the freezer for an hour. Take it out and immediately plaster it roughly with about twice as much buttercream as you'll really need. Huge tip here....SMOOTHING CAKES IS ALL ABOUT THE REMOVAL OF EXCESS ICING AND NOT AT ALL ABOUT BUILDING IT UP AND PATCHING!! I wish someone had explained this to me when I first started in the biz. It would have saved me years of frustration at trying to get my cakes perfectly smooth. Take your plastering knife (see point #3 for this & photo attached) and run it around the cake, digging in about 1/4 inch (5 millimeters) to get off the excess icing in one or two spins of the cake turntable. Now, take your offset palette knife and draw the icing in on top of the cake from the edges, about 4-5 times all the way around. The last step is to take your straight palette knife and draw it right across the top only once or twice to remove any lines. Done! Back in the fridge.

3) Toss those cheap white pastry scrapers, they truly aren't the best. Go to the hardware store and in the plastering section you'll see cheap, stiff plastic plastering tools with handles for a buck or two (see photo attached here.) Get a few widths, like 3", 6", etc. These are awesome!! They give you super sharp sides because they don't bend at all and they are the height of your cakes, so no lines appearing as you try to ice a 5" cake with a 3" smoother by going around twice on the top or bottom. These tools do it in one stroke! Fantastic.
LL
post #28 of 132
This is the chocolate scraper I use. But I have also used a bench scraper. On the icing spatula, when I buy one I hold the handle in one hand and flex the blade with the other hand. I like a really flexible blade, it is just easier for me to work with.
LL
SHIRLEY
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SHIRLEY
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post #29 of 132
ok now i feel like an idiot (again) i did a search for imbc here and the search result came up 0. would some one be a dear and pm me the recipe? icon_biggrin.gif
i've gone crazy~ but it keeps me from going insane! heheheh
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i've gone crazy~ but it keeps me from going insane! heheheh
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post #30 of 132
Thread Starter 
Wow, Helen and Shirley, I can't thank you enough for replying. I have been so frustrated lately (with shortening bc) and am looking forward to returning to Italian Meringue Butter Cream. My favorite flavoring is Grand Marnier and a few drops of Loran orange oil... ooh, la la! Fresh flowers for now, and maybe I can take some gumpaste classes...
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