Ever wondered how to get that professional, perfectly smooth, sharp cornered look on your buttercream cakes like the professionals do? Ever had your own icing attempts doomed to frustration, leaving you swearing it’s not possible without photoshop or some form of witchcraft? Fear not, with a few simple tricks you too can achieve the perfectly smooth buttercream finish of your dreams – and I’m going to be telling you exactly how right here!
For those impatient types, watch now:
Otherwise, read on…
Silky smooth buttercream (with no air bubbles!)
Firstly, you really must use the right buttercream. Most cake decorators I know opt for Meringue style buttercreams, Italian or Swiss, with which to ice their cakes. I use my own egg-free Swiss buttercream recipe, which you can find here. There’s a very good reason for this – these beautifully creamy, silky European style buttercreams not only taste phenomenal, but are pretty much the only way to guarantee sharp corners and straight sides even under a coat of fondant. You may get away with using Decorators or American style buttercream on it’s own, but as soon as the weight of the fondant is on top of it, you can kiss those sharp corners goodbye. The reason for this is the high butter content of the classier European style buttercreams which allows them to set completely solid in the fridge, and I mean HARD. As long as your cake is sufficiently chilled, you’ll be able to smooth fondant against it to your heart’s content without it budging a millimetre. Even if you won’t be covering your cake in fondant, American buttercream just doesn’t behave the same way when chilled which makes it that much harder to keep a perfectly straight, sharp edged shape. It’s also a doddle to get rid of those pesky air bubbles from your buttercream before you even begin to coat your cake – simply watch my video to find out how!
Next, for your perfect smooth buttercream, you need everything to be the right temperature. You need to start with a crumb coated and well-chilled (but not frozen!) cake, and soft, slightly warmed (but not runny!) buttercream. I talked about this in my earlier post, “secrets for the perfect semi naked cake”, and the same principles apply here. The key to getting a smooth, even, air-bubble free finish with meringue buttercreams is in their consistency. Simply heating the buttercream very slightly can achieve what I call the perfect “finishing consistency”, essential to getting a smooth finish in a short time. I’ve demonstrated exactly what this consistency looks like and how to achieve it in my video.
The right tools for the job
The last thing you need to get that perfectly smooth buttercream finish is a good quality set of cake decorating tools – a comfortable spatula, a smoothly rotating turntable and a nice sharp edged cake scraper. They don’t have to be expensive, but it’s really worth investing a little here as they’ll make your life so much easier – trust me, take it from someone who struggled for years with poor quality tools and wondered why she couldn’t get the right finish! You can see my recommendations for tools here.
With these three points covered you’re ready to ice the smoothest, most perfect buttercream cake of your life! Watch the whole process in my video here:
Hope you found this useful!