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Smooth buttercream?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
For some reason when I make my buttercream and spread it on my cakes, I notice that it seems like it "ripped" if that makes sense. When I run my spatula around my cake it leaves like streaks that sort of looks like my cake ripped.. I have to go back in with more buttercream to fill in holes.. but I have watched a lot of videos where the buttercream is really smooth.. My recipe I use is this:

1 c shortening
1 c butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 bag powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp milk

And I am NOT over whipping, I know that some people say you can over mix the buttercream but that is not the case here. I only mix in my kitchen aid until my buttercream has combined and then I will take it with a spatula and mix it a little more until it's smooth.. I have tried doing this with my kitchen aid (mixing it totally together) but it seems to get the ripped look even more when I try to smooth it around my cakes. It almost seems like my buttercream is drying as soon as it hits my cakes....

Check out my photo's and you can sort of see what I mean!

Thanks for any feedback anyone can give me!
post #2 of 14
The best idea I ever got and still use is the Viva paper towel trick. You don't have to ice neatly, just slightly crust and smooth.
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post #3 of 14
I have had the same issue - I just do a crumb coat and that seems to have solved it. I too have often wondered how the "pros" are able to do it without a crumb coat.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by forjenns

I have had the same issue - I just do a crumb coat and that seems to have solved it. I too have often wondered how the "pros" are able to do it without a crumb coat.



I always do a crumb coat on my cakes.... And I still get a ripped spread on the outside of my cake when i'm trying to smooth it out.
post #5 of 14
I have come to the conclusion that it is just an air bubble in the buttercream and as you try to smooth it, it pops. It looks just like the air bubbles in my cake batter that I pop before putting the pans in the oven, so that is how I came to that conclusion. When you whip the heck out of the buttercream it makes sense that air is being beaten into it. So I just go ahead and put more buttercream on and keep on smoothing and eventually it all works out. I still have trouble getting it all as smooth as a lot of decorators are able, but I think with practice, it gets better. (That's why I actually prefer to do fondant cakes! icon_lol.gif )

Whether I'm right or not, that's my opinion... icon_smile.gif
post #6 of 14
use the Sugar Shack method of making buttercream where you have enough buttercream in the bowl to cover the beater creating a seal. (there is a good YouTube on it) You might also want to add more liquid, preferably whole milk or cream if you are using Crisco or 'no-trans fat' shortening. Don't just rely on the recipe; somedays it takes much more liquid. Also, use a Pure Cane powder sugar, not the store brand.

but the biggest factors were once i switched to using hi-ratio (sweetex) shortening and only doing full bowls, my ABC went to the next level.

(and if you want a truly smooth finish, try the meringue butter creams, SMBC or IMBC.)
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by lorieleann

(and if you want a truly smooth finish, try the meringue butter creams, SMBC or IMBC.)



I used Sugarshack's recipe all the time, but just recently started using IMBC and I love it. I do still get the little "bubbles" with it occasionally too, but just put more buttercream and smooth it out. I do still use Sharon's recipe if I'm looking for a sweeter icing, but it really makes a lot and as a hobbyist, I can't use that much buttercream. And I don't like freezing it. So if I'm making a large cake or have a couple of cakes to make, I will use it...and yes, it is very smooth and creamy too! But I have to say IMBC for me is very easy to make and I love working with it. thumbs_up.gif
post #8 of 14
Sounds like you're not using enough moisture. I was taught to divide my buttercream into two bowls. Make one looser than the other. The looser batch is used for the crumb-coat and is applied sparingly.
post #9 of 14
I agree that there's not enough liquids. This is the recipe I use.
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups shortening
1/2 cup salted butter
2 tablespoons clear vanilla
1/3 cup water or non dairy coffee creamer.
post #10 of 14
Rarely do I crumbcoat. It just seemed like one of those unnecessary steps for me. My buttercream is very soft when I put it on the cake. It's like very stiff whipped cream. There should be no strong effort to get it to smooth. If there is, it's too thick. Most of the time the back and forth motion of the spatula is enough to remove any air bubbles if there are any. I microwave my heavy cream; the heat allows longer working time with the softer buttercream but then it firms up after it's been in the fridge.
post #11 of 14
I use a hot spatula to smooth. Works perfectly!
post #12 of 14
.....have come to the conclusion that it is just an air bubble in the buttercream and as you try to smooth it, it pops...
Everybody has their 'favorite; icing. what works for one for some reason won't work for anothericon_smile.gif

....... am NOT over whipping,..... I only mix in my kitchen aid until my buttercream has combined .....
Here is a major reason for your problem! You are NOT mixing it enough!! Turn on that mixer to lowest speed (after all ingredients are added) and *walk out of the room for 10 minutes*!!
Try this recipe: As posted it does NOT crust but a 'fix' is mentioned at the endicon_smile.gif

2 of Everything Icing:
2 cups butter
2 cups shortening (I have always used Crisco)
2 pounds of poudered sugar
2 Tablespoons flavoring

In KA mixer (best) mix together butter and shortening for at least 5 minutes. Add about 1/3 of the sugar; mix another 5-10 minutes; continue adding more sugar, mixing well after each addition until well mixed and smooth; add flavoring with last addition of sugar.

There is NO liquid needed in this recipe.
Flavorings can be *ANY!* combination you want. What I used mostly is: 1 part vanilla; 1/2 butter flavoring and 1/4 part almond. A "Part" can be any measure you want. Do you make many, many cakes? Mix it up by the cupfull; OR if for only one cake/icing use teaspoons as the 'part'/measure.
Don't like almond? Use lemon OR orange OR whatever you want. But, please do try it as stated at least onceicon_smile.gif
I had a friend who didn't like almond but after trying it once just added an additional 1/4 tsp lemon and was happy w/it.
Want this icing to crust? Reduce either the butter OR the shortening by 1 cup OR reduce *both* by 1/2 cup.
post #13 of 14
Oooooh Thanks!
post #14 of 14
Why not try SMBC, like lorieleann said. I used to use ABC and switched to SMBC. However I will say my recipe for ABC included a tbsp of meringue powder per lb of powder sugar. Try that. I always had a smooth ABC
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