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viva towels on SMBC

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm a complete newbie to cake designing. but I'm so very into it, it's all I think about all day. today I successfully made a batch of SMBC. I have a woman who wants an all BC cake for this summer, and I plan on doing SMBC. the problem I noticed in my batch today ( which was also a good thing at the same time) is that the BC was very light and airy, it was fine for the cupcakes I put it on but I noticed it doesn't smooth very well on cake.. not like ABC. I want so badly for this delicious BC to be smooth able, my questions are is it a good BC to smooth on cakes, is it supposed to crust over so I can do the viva paper towel method?
post #2 of 10
I've recently started finessing my SMBC smoothing skills. I could NEVER get American Buttercream smooth whether I was hot knifing or using Viva towels. I am having some luck with Cup a Dee's method of popping it n and out of the freezer (see http://cupadeecakes.blogspot.com/2012/04/new-tutorial-smooth-square-cakes-with.html?m=1). I am going to try the upside down method this weekend and I have high hopes for success! The paper towel method is usually touted for crusting buttercreams, but it seems like it could help on SMBC popped out of the freezer too... The combination of cold buttercream, heat from your hand and a smooth paper towel seems like a good trifecta. I am preparing an all-buttercream tiered square cake (God help me) for a March wedding so I am right there with you. Good luck!
post #3 of 10

Paper towels won't work on meringue buttercreams.  You just need to practice with a straight edge.  Get yourself a good scraper and practice.  I have been decorating with buttercream for 15 years now and it's all I use.  I think next month will be the first time I am ever covering a cake in fondant.  Yep. 

 

I use the "Bash and Chop" scraper from Bed Bath and Beyond.  It has a nice rolled handle which keeps your hand close to the blade, so you have maximum control as you are moving it around the cake.  Also, you NEED a turntable.  I have a Fat Daddio turntable which is nice.  Good and heavy.

 

Remember that getting a cake smooth has nothing to do with adding and everything to do with subtracting icing.  Put on twice as much as you think you need and then go around the whole cake with the scraper without stopping.  If your recipe is crusting then you can let it crust and smooth out your spatula lift mark with a piece of waxed or parchment paper (I never use Vivas on a cake-the one time I did it left a TON of lint on my buttercream, and it was a new roll fresh out of the packaging).  The American recipe I use doesn't crust but it doesn't need to, as I don't rely on that to get a cake smooth.  A scraper is all you need trust me.  You just have to practice.

 

For the meringue buttercream, and really, for any buttercream, you will get a lot of air incorporated if you beat it too much.  Especially if you use the whisk attachment, you will incorporate too much air.  All you have to do is smash the buttercream against the side of the bowl if it gets too airy, and in the future, don't beat it so much.  If I'm making ABC I add all my powdered sugar at once, followed by some cream, and then I let the mixer run for maybe another 3 minutes.  No more than that.  If I'm making IMBC it's about 5 minutes.

 

To smooth meringue buttercreams, use your scraper and get it as smooth as you can.  Then pop it in the fridge or freezer and let it get good and cold.  Then go back over it with your scraper, shaving off the very top layer. 
 

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieCahill View Post
 Then pop it in the fridge or freezer and let it get good and cold.  Then go back over it with your scraper, shaving off the very top layer. 

 

That's it, right there! It's like a piece of glass when you get done with it. 

Histrionic Personality Disorder; learn the symptoms and get help. The life you save may just be yours.
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Histrionic Personality Disorder; learn the symptoms and get help. The life you save may just be yours.
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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
good luck with your cake Ohio! looks like where on the same boat. so I'm guessing that SMBC isn't a crusting BC then? maybe it's the 10x sugar that makes a BC crust over?
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
thank you Annie your post actually helped a lot. as for the bubbles in my SMBC, I did use a whisk to get the egg whites to a stiff peak, then I switched to a paddle, but it was still airy. I LOVE bed bath and beyond and need to take a trip there to get a scale, so I will most definitely look for the scraper there tomorrow. also, you mentioned over mixing a buttercream, but would under mixing it be worse? again, thank you
post #7 of 10

If it's under-mixed, it won't be properly emulsified and it may end up chunky.  I make IMBC (same taste, just a different method).  I use the whip attachment for the meringue and sugar syrup stage, then I switch to the paddle when I add the butter.

 

To answer one of your previous questions, the crusting has to do with the ratio of fat to sugar.  So not all ABCs crust if the fat content is higher.  The ABC recipe I use doesn't crust.
 

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SPCOhio View Post

I've recently started finessing my SMBC smoothing skills. I could NEVER get American Buttercream smooth whether I was hot knifing or using Viva towels. I am having some luck with Cup a Dee's method of popping it n and out of the freezer (see http://cupadeecakes.blogspot.com/2012/04/new-tutorial-smooth-square-cakes-with.html?m=1). I am going to try the upside down method this weekend and I have high hopes for success! The paper towel method is usually touted for crusting buttercreams, but it seems like it could help on SMBC popped out of the freezer too... The combination of cold buttercream, heat from your hand and a smooth paper towel seems like a good trifecta. I am preparing an all-buttercream tiered square cake (God help me) for a March wedding so I am right there with you. Good luck!

 


Aww!  I'm glad one of my videos has been helping!  Have you also watched my Smooth Buttercream Tutorial?  ( http://tinyurl.com/buttercreamtut ) I have tried the hot knife technique, but I have found that my trusty benchscraper and a blowtorch works SO much better!

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by cupadeecakes View Post



Aww!  I'm glad one of my videos has been helping!  Have you also watched my Smooth Buttercream Tutorial?  ( http://tinyurl.com/buttercreamtut ) I have tried the hot knife technique, but I have found that my trusty benchscraper and a blowtorch works SO much better!

Most definitely. I'm all over your site these days. Love your work, love your delivery style in the videos! I had much better luck smoothing my SMBC after watching your videos. Now it's clear that I'm not incapable of smoothing icing, I just need more practice!
post #10 of 10
Thanks to the OP for starting this thread and thanks for Jenniffer's video links! Very inspiring, especially since I'm about to try an all butter raspberry buttercream now!
Theresa
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