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how do i smooth buttercream

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
soo i absolutely hate smoothing buttercream! it never smoothes evenly for me and i ALWAYS get it too thin! and when i add more to thicken it up it pulls off.

what am i doing wrong?

ive been using the wilton buttercream recipe.. ive tried using a spatula to put it on and the icing tip. i have better results with the tip but still have issues. ive smooted with a spatula and now have a scrapper by wilton but i dont like it because of the dumb handle in the middle.. when i worked at the bakery they had a plastic scrapper they used and the buttercream there smoothed sooo nicely idk maybe its my buttercream?!?!

can anyone give me some suggestions?!??

this is a cake i did and well not only did i hve issues with the buttercream but centering it was and issue lol my fault hahah and then the bow was a bit heavier then expected ...

post #2 of 11

It looks like from your pic that you need your b/c a little thinner. That will help. Try some new recipes. Sending you a link from a c/cer. Also, sharon zambito from this site has a great dvd on this subject also. Her site is sharonssugarshack.com. hth

 

http://www.designmeacake.com/tutorials.html

post #3 of 11

I think the cake is cute!!! I have seen a lot worse cakes!! I think you did a good job!!! The bow on the cake is awesome!!!

 

Do you smooth buttercream with viva paper towels once it crusts? Also like the icer101 says you should make icing a little bit thinner for smoothing purposes.The Viva paper towel works wonders. The more you practice the easier it will become.  Hang in there and keep your faith!! Each time you do it it will become easier.
 

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by icer101 View Post

It looks like from your pic that you need your b/c a little thinner. That will help. Try some new recipes. Sending you a link from a c/cer. Also, sharon zambito from this site has a great dvd on this subject also. Her site is sharonssugarshack.com. hth

http://www.designmeacake.com/tutorials.html

when you say thinner u mean add more water/milk to make it thinner? i did thin it pretty good i thought- if it got thinner i think it wouldnt stick to the cake?!?

or do u mean thinner applying to the cake?

i did a crumb coat then iced it with the tip and smoothed it but could still see the edges where the cake is and the filling .. idk what im doing wrong
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by remnant3333 View Post

I think the cake is cute!!! I have seen a lot worse cakes!! I think you did a good job!!! The bow on the cake is awesome!!!

Do you smooth buttercream with viva paper towels once it crusts? Also like the icer101 says you should make icing a little bit thinner for smoothing purposes.The Viva paper towel works wonders. The more you practice the easier it will become.  Hang in there and keep your faith!! Each time you do it it will become easier.

 

i do use the viva paper towel method to smooth but like i said i cant get even amount all around the cake so when i do smooth it it shows theres more in that spot if that makes sense-- u can see it on the top of the pink cake ..

thanks for your kind thoughts! made me feel a little better. i guess its me being a perfectionist??
post #6 of 11

If the weight of the BC is falling off or pulling off as you described, you might need to add just a bit more water or milk to make it a tad thinner, you could start with 1/2 tsp and add more gradually. I remember my Wilton instructor telling us to put a spatula straight down and if it easily 'falls' to the side of the container, it was thin enough.  One thing I often tell newbies is to slather on the BC and then take off the excess. I've seen folks applying BC like they're scared of the cake icon_lol.gifIf you put too little, then you'll face some problems but if you put on more BC than needed and then scrape off the excess you're more likely to cover your cake smoothly the first time. I don't like to crumbcoat, so my first coat is it.

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgcea View Post

One thing I often tell newbies is to slather on the BC and then take off the excess. I've seen folks applying BC like they're scared of the cake icon_lol.gif.


Oh Lord!  Vgcea, this sounds exactly like me 2 years ago!  Even after all this time (3 whopping years), I STILL get stingey with frosting if I don't want to make another batch and think what I have on hand will be "good enough".  I always hate myself afterwards.

 

Mamas07~~No worries.  This is all part of a learning curve with homemade buttercream instead of commercially prepared buttercream that comes in 5 gallon buckets.  Your cake is gorgeous and you WILL get the hang of smoothing buttercream and how heavy fondant things are, and how to get the correct frosting consistency for different techniques, but it will take time and practice!  Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts.

 

Cake decorators are so fortunate to have free forums like CakeCentral to get information and ideas and tips.  I consider the computer my most used cake tool.

 

I suggest that you make 2 or even 3 times as much buttercream as you think you will need.  You can always freeze the leftovers, so it's better to make a ton upfront.  When you get ready to do your cake, have 3 mixing bowls handy so you can thin or thicken the original buttercream recipe to get the consistency you need for each task.

Thin--for the crumbcoat and final coat of the cake.  (If it is too thick it will not "stick" to the side of the cake.)

Super-thick (like Play-Do)-- for your buttercream dam.   I just put some in a bowl and keep adding sifted powdered sugar a 1/4 cup at a time until it is almost impossible to pipe.

Medium for just about everything else.

 

Commercial buttercream like Dawn or Brill is a good gauge of thinnish-to-medium icing consistency.  However, those products have commercial emulsifiers  that permit them to be almost fool-proof. 

 

Here is a fabulous recipe from Bunnywoman on the Wilton.com forum.  It is a combination of Sharon Zambito's recipe with real butter and high ratio shortening.  (Bunnywoman and Sharon Zambito have given permission for this recipe to be given to others.)

 

BUNNYWOMAN'S MOCK SHACK:
http://www.wilton.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=7&threadid=135663&FTVAR_MSGDBTABLE=

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti View Post


Oh Lord!  Vgcea, this sounds exactly like me 2 years ago!  Even after all this time (3 whopping years), I STILL get stingey with frosting if I don't want to make another batch and think what I have on hand will be "good enough".  I always hate myself afterwards.

Mamas07~~No worries.  This is all part of a learning curve with homemade buttercream instead of commercially prepared buttercream that comes in 5 gallon buckets.  Your cake is gorgeous and you WILL get the hang of smoothing buttercream and how heavy fondant things are, and how to get the correct frosting consistency for different techniques, but it will take time and practice!  Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts.

Cake decorators are so fortunate to have free forums like CakeCentral to get information and ideas and tips.  I consider the computer my most used cake tool.

I suggest that you make 2 or even 3 times as much buttercream as you think you will need.  You can always freeze the leftovers, so it's better to make a ton upfront.  When you get ready to do your cake, have 3 mixing bowls handy so you can thin or thicken the original buttercream recipe to get the consistency you need for each task.
Thin--for the crumbcoat and final coat of the cake.  (If it is too thick it will not "stick" to the side of the cake.)
Super-thick (like Play-Do)-- for your buttercream dam.   I just put some in a bowl and keep adding sifted powdered sugar a 1/4 cup at a time until it is almost impossible to pipe.
Medium for just about everything else.

Commercial buttercream like Dawn or Brill is a good gauge of thinnish-to-medium icing consistency.  However, those products have commercial emulsifiers  that permit them to be almost fool-proof. 

Here is a fabulous recipe from Bunnywoman on the Wilton.com forum.  It is a combination of Sharon Zambito's recipe with real butter and high ratio shortening.  (Bunnywoman and Sharon Zambito have given permission for this recipe to be given to others.)

BUNNYWOMAN'S MOCK SHACK:
http://www.wilton.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=7&threadid=135663&FTVAR_MSGDBTABLE=



i am confused. thick buttercream falls off cakes and pulls away from cake?? and thin icing stays??

thanks for the links.. i will have to try them out

i think my biggest problem is the round cakes.. and thats all ive been doing lately lol
post #9 of 11

There are two different ways to use the term thin and thick.  One is how much icing you apply.  You should apply a lot (a thick layer) and remove the extra as you turn the cake while smoothing it.  The other is how stiff the icing is, thin (sift) or thick (stiff).  Definitely confusing.  You want the icing creamy and soft enough that is goes on easily and creamily.  If it is too stiff it will pull and tug at the cake and cause problems.  If it is too soft it will sag, you won't want that either.  Just like Goldilocks you want it just right.   This is my all time favorite video to suggest for smoothing........https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqvL4zhVbE8   She has a bunch of great videos but this has a ton of info for smoothing. 
 

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
she does t
Quote:
Originally Posted by denetteb View Post

There are two different ways to use the term thin and thick.  One is how much icing you apply.  You should apply a lot (a thick layer) and remove the extra as you turn the cake while smoothing it.  The other is how stiff the icing is, thin (sift) or thick (stiff).  Definitely confusing.  You want the icing creamy and soft enough that is goes on easily and creamily.  If it is too stiff it will pull and tug at the cake and cause problems.  If it is too soft it will sag, you won't want that either.  Just like Goldilocks you want it just right.   This is my all time favorite video to suggest for smoothing........https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqvL4zhVbE8   She has a bunch of great videos but this has a ton of info for smoothing. 

 

the link doesnt work
post #11 of 11

Here is the link again:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqvL4zhVbE8

 

Sorry about the earlier confusion in using "cake terminology".  Denetteb is correct.  "Thick" and "thin" should have been Stiff and Less Stiff and Medium Stiff frosting.   (To avoid further confusion, if I say icing or buttercream or frosting I mean the same thing:  Crusting Buttercream.)

 

I had a terrible time learning which icing consistency worked best for which application.  Finally, I made a batch of the Wilton class buttercream and put about 1 cup in 3 separate bowls with lids.  I took all 3 bowls, a small container of sifted powdered sugar, a small container of water, and an electric hand mixer to one of my Wilton classes.  I asked the teacher to SHOW me what "thin consistency", "medium consistency", and "stiff consistency" buttercream should look AND feel like. 

 

All of this comes with trial and error.  All of my early cakes had too little frosting and way too little filling. Here is a very good, basic, tutorial and video by Wilton on Icing Consistency:

http://www.wilton.com/decorating/icing/icing-consistency.cfm

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