Originally Posted by vgcea
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 .
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: