Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

Hi all,

 

I am quite good with gumpaste icing and my cakes look nice. Quite a few of my clients dont want gumpaste (we call it plastic icing here), they prefer the taste of butter icing.

 

When I work with butter icing, I usually don't like the cake much. 

Any expert advice on how best to make the butter icing smoother and nicer looking?

 

PS. In South Africa we don't have all the fancy equipment and ingredients US has.

 

Thanks

 

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Wendy, do you actually use gumpaste or fondant?  Fondant tastes a little better especially in the flavors you can get or add to your own if you use marshmallow fondant.  If you are talking about buttercream icing, I use it a lot. Most of my cakes are buttercream as most people like it better.  There are options to make it smoother and you just have to choose the one that works for you.  I sometimes use the paper towel method where you use a paper towel (with no detail on it) and after the icing crusts, you lay the paper towel on the icing then you use a fondant smoother to lightly rub it down until it is as smooth as you can get it.  You have to wait for the icing to crust or it doesn't work so well.  Then there is the paint roller method where you use a paint roller (from the hardware store) instead of the fondant smoother.  That works well too.  There are probably as many way to smooth the icing as there are decorators.  Just check them all out and find one that suites you.  I don't use butter in my buttercream because of the heat and humidity where I live.  I use high ratio shortening that can be bought online here but not sure about there.  I hope I have helped at least some.

I get alot of compliments on my buttercream frosting I am not sure if it is the same as yours but for one two layer 10" round cake

1 stick salted butter

1 cup Crisco Shortening

2 t Vanilla

1/4 cup milk

1- 2lb package of confectioners sugar

 

I freeze my cakes before icing and it helps alot especially in summer.  I use a trowel to smooth the side and the top after icing it makes really sharp edges and that is what makes a cake pop to me.  I have also used the paper towel method and it works but the trowel just makes it look neater to me.

Wendy, if you use a crusting BC try using parchment paper or copy paper to smooth your BC the same way others use Viva paper towels.  

Sheila, I am a newbie and I would like to ask you what is a trowel. 



Sheila Herrington said:

I get alot of compliments on my buttercream frosting I am not sure if it is the same as yours but for one two layer 10" round cake

1 stick salted butter

1 cup Crisco Shortening

2 t Vanilla

1/4 cup milk

1- 2lb package of confectioners sugar

 

I freeze my cakes before icing and it helps alot especially in summer.  I use a trowel to smooth the side and the top after icing it makes really sharp edges and that is what makes a cake pop to me.  I have also used the paper towel method and it works but the trowel just makes it look neater to me.

I like to use a high butter ratio in my recipe.  I ice the cake with a speed-icer, smooth with a metal spatula/ spreader and a plastic spreader/ bowl scraper.  Then refrigerate, then smooth again, once the icing is cold, using the smooth edge of an ateco 1447 like a razor blade to get my cakes smooth and flat.
Maria, a trowel is used to put down glue for carpet or tile by carpenters.  I got mine at the hardware store and it works great because it is exactly squared off.  I can place the edge of the trowel on the board and go around the cake and get it perfectly smooth then do the top from the edges in and it smooths out really well.  But like they said whichever way is comfortable for you.
I think you'd both like the ateco 1447 for this.  It's basically a trowel made for decorating, its a little lighter than the grout version...

Sheila Herrington said:
Maria, a trowel is used to put down glue for carpet or tile by carpenters.  I got mine at the hardware store and it works great because it is exactly squared off.  I can place the edge of the trowel on the board and go around the cake and get it perfectly smooth then do the top from the edges in and it smooths out really well.  But like they said whichever way is comfortable for you.

I forgot that one Meram.  It doesn't take any equipment besides a long angled spatula.  Only I have used a glass of really hot water.  Tap the spatula to shake off water after dipping it in the hot water and run it flat side down across your buttercream.  Smooths nice but be careful not to get lots of water on it because it will make splotches.

 

Sheila, I am going to have to try your Crisco buttercream.  It would sure make it easier and cheaper.  I have been told it is not very good so I'll try it to see.  Hope my family likes it!!

DOES THIS BC CRUST? AND ALSO DOES IT HOLD GOOD ON HOT WEATHER WE ARE HAVING? HOW MUCH DOES IT YIELD?

Sheila Herrington said:

I get alot of compliments on my buttercream frosting I am not sure if it is the same as yours but for one two layer 10" round cake

1 stick salted butter

1 cup Crisco Shortening

2 t Vanilla

1/4 cup milk

1- 2lb package of confectioners sugar

 

I freeze my cakes before icing and it helps alot especially in summer.  I use a trowel to smooth the side and the top after icing it makes really sharp edges and that is what makes a cake pop to me.  I have also used the paper towel method and it works but the trowel just makes it look neater to me.

This is a trowel (very useful for cakes):

http://www.northlandconstruction.com/product/cf226-18-x3-cement-tro...

 

This is the Ateco 1447 (very similar to a trowel but with decorative edging options):

http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Ateco-Aluminum-Decorating-and-...

 

I've also used a joint compound blade.  They all work great as long as they are at least as tall as your cake.  http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?s...

 

Wendy: Even in Africa you have construction workers who have to buy tools.  Go to where they buy tools and pick up either a trowel or a joint compound blade or knife... you will love them!!

 

 

 

Maria Mendoza said:

Sheila, I am a newbie and I would like to ask you what is a trowel. 

I like to use Italian Buttercream myself, but I live in Washington State in the U.S. and it is not nearly as hot as where a lot of you live.  First I do the top of the cake, applying the icing and trying to get if fairly smooth with a spatula.  The I appy icing to the sides and put it on slightly thick and make sure I put it on so it comes up above the top edge.  Then I use this paint edger that I got from Ace Hardware.  It kind of resembles a venitian blind piece, with a handle on it.  Slightly curved like a venitian blind.  Probably made of a light weight aluminum or tin.  I just line it up with the edge of my cardboard round which is a tiny bit larger then my cake, and turn my turn table around.  Then I use a spatula and try to keep it horizonally straight on the top edge, and push in towards the middle and gently sweep kind of a up motion.  It turns out great!  I used to spend hours trying to get my buttercream looking good.  Now it only takes minutes.
I use my bench scraper for everything.  It is Aetco brand and I love it.  I use an all butter buttercream because I do not like shortning.  But I do mostly fondant work.  I always put a layer of buttercream under the fondant for flavor though.

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