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Discouraged about smoothing icing

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm getting so bummed about having a hard time smoothing icing that I'm ready to get out of the cake business before I've really started! I did a couple of practice cakes yesterday, using a half-butter/half-Crisco crusting BC a member here sent me. I used a turntable, a spatula, a large spackling knife, blah, blah, blah--I just couldn't get the darn stuff perfectly smooth. It also didn't seem to crust like you all describe.

The upside-down method works well, but it's so time-consuming; I really want to perfect my skills without it. Any words o' wisdom?
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post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by khs1030

I'm getting so bummed about having a hard time smoothing icing that I'm ready to get out of the cake business before I've really started! I did a couple of practice cakes yesterday, using a half-butter/half-Crisco crusting BC a member here sent me. I used a turntable, a spatula, a large spackling knife, blah, blah, blah--I just couldn't get the darn stuff perfectly smooth. It also didn't seem to crust like you all describe.

The upside-down method works well, but it's so time-consuming; I really want to perfect my skills without it. Any words o' wisdom?



One of the best icings I have found to smooth is the 100% Veggie Crisco. The texture is perfect for smoothing.... I have used different methods... Spraying light water on the cake and then smooth with spatula and paper towel method.

I have done half and half Buttercream and Idon't think it crusts enough for me to smooth. Way too soft.

If you don't want to do 100% Crisco, then use the Wilton reciep where you do use 100% Crisco, BUT, you add to the mixture instead of water or milk youu add 6-8 ounces of Whipping Cream. It smooths very nicely and its very silky and delicious...

Don't give up... Keep on it....
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Its always about cake!!
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post #3 of 15
I'm kinda new to decorating too and I couldn't really get my cakes smooth with that recipe for buttercream either. I figured out that when I add 1 tablespoon of merengue powder to one batch of buttercream, it crusts and it's a whole lot easier to smooth it over. Plus, you can try the Viva papertowel trick - once your buttercream crusts, lay a Viva papertowel (because they don't have a design) over you r cake and smooth it over with your hands. Continue until the entire cake is smooth. This might work too! Good luck!
post #4 of 15
It's hard to not get discouraged but hang in there! I've been decorating (for fun) for about 2 years now and i'm still struggling but I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You need to find a buttercream that crusts well to start and practice, practice, practice! I'm still not where I want to be but i'm going to get there! The hardest cakes i've found to smooth are sheet cakes. I have better luck with round and/or square.

Don't give up! You'll get there!

Debbie
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Hope your day is a piece of cake!
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post #5 of 15
I swear by the Viva papertowel method.. once you master it, you can even roll the edges of your cake to make it have a contoured look.. you can even get it smooth enough that people will think it's fondant ... I won't use any other method but Viva now.. I've tried all the others (large spatulas, spackle knives, spraying water on the cake, using hot water for the spatula) and never could get them to work right for me and believe me, I practiced and practiced.. then I had a Wilton instructor show me the papertowel method .. it's just so simple to do and you can really get your cakes smooth ... I'm a diehard Viva fan icon_biggrin.gif
Cheryl a/k/a ntertayneme (n-ter-tayne-me)
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Cheryl a/k/a ntertayneme (n-ter-tayne-me)
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post #6 of 15
Oh please don't give up!! Hang in there. I know how you feel. I used to get so frustrated about smoothing my cakes. (now I have other frustrations with cakes LOL) But you will get it I promise. So many people from here have great advice! The one that works for me the best is the Viva paper towel. You have to make sure you let it set, not too long though or you will get cracks in your cake but not too soon or the paper towel might stick. About about five minutes works for me (give or take a couple of minutes depending on your climate) And don't be afraid to use a little pressure as you are smoothing. (not so hard that you smash your cake though!!! icon_lol.gif ) Also!! you have to make sure you use the correct side of the paper towel. Some of the packages I buy one side works better then the other. I'm not sure why but that is what I have found anyway.

Good luck and don't give up. Also, as was said already, I use the 100 % crisco icing.

Charlotte
Have a great day.... and pass it on!!~~Charlotte
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Have a great day.... and pass it on!!~~Charlotte
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post #7 of 15
I would suggest that you use a spray bottle and lightly mist your surface with water and then try to smooth it with a bowl scraper or long, straight spatula. As for the crusting.... you need some meringue powder in it (about 1-2 Tbsp. for one batch). The egg whites are what cause it to crust.
post #8 of 15
hang in there. It's an on going struggle trying to get the icing smooth, but once you do, you be good to go. In the meantime, try different things borders, writing, etc anything to disguise it while you are perfecting the smoothing technique. Don't worry about it and hang in there. thumbs_up.gif
post #9 of 15
Hang in there! I always use the Wilton Class recepie because I cant find anything else that crusts the way that it does. I always let my cakes fully crust, then I use parchment paper over the surface and I smooth it with my hand. Some people use spatulas, but I always make gouges in my cakes when I do that. Hang in there, and when you find what works for you it will be great!
post #10 of 15
Try using a spray bottle with warm water. Just mist the cake and then smooth. It works like a charm!!! I also use the all crisco recipe. I just figured out how to do this and I am giddy as a school girl!
post #11 of 15
The 100% crisco icing is very easy to work with. Why not practice with it a bit?

I also a newbie and I almost gave up because I thought the crisco frosting was so terrible. I didn't see the point of learning how to decorate if I couldn't even eat the frosting. Now, I am experimenting with frosting recipes and having a grand ole time. Be patient and keep practiing.
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Sleep deprived
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post #12 of 15
I too have a time at it getting the icing smoothe... but I'm going to hang in there til I master it...Well, hope to master it anyway....
So...don't give up....keep practicing..
happy icing,
cakegal icon_biggrin.gif
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post #13 of 15
I am also new to decorating, and at times got very frustrated with smoothing my cakes. I use the 1/2 butter 1/2 crisco recipe and I find that if I put the cake in the fridge for 15 minutes after the crumb coat and also after the final frost it smooths alot easier for me. I use the viva paper towels and if you keep at it , each time your cakes will get smoother and smoother. It is all practice and keep practicing. I did an anniversary cake yesterday and I was like a little kid soooo excited I finally got my sides smooth icon_smile.gif
Happy Baking
Denise
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by bubblezmom

The 100% crisco icing is very easy to work with. Why not practice with it a bit?

I also a newbie and I almost gave up because I thought the crisco frosting was so terrible. I didn't see the point of learning how to decorate if I couldn't even eat the frosting. Now, I am experimenting with frosting recipes and having a grand ole time. Be patient and keep practiing.



Yup, I agree here with Bubble. Practice with this until you get more comfortable, and then move on to frostings that taste good.
post #15 of 15
If you do decide to go with the all shortening recipe, I suggest using some clear butter flavoring to add that buttery goodness. Mmmmmmmm.... butter...... I even add it to my 1/2 butter, 1/2 shortening recipe.
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