Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How Do I Get My Cakes Smooth? - A Buttercream Tutorial

Since the day I started doing cakes, I have always wanted my cakes to look perfect.  I worked with many different icings and techniques to get them really close, but I always used fondant when I wanted a really smooth finish.  Then I started doing cakes professionally and found out quickly that paying customers don't like the taste or the added expense of fondant.   So I went back to the drawing board and I worked harder and got better with my butter cream skills.  I thought I had finally achieved what everyone else knew.

And then I started blogging and when I began to gain some sort of readership, I started getting comments like "Is that buttercream or fondant?" and "How do you get your buttercream so smooth?".  I was so flattered, and I even promised some of you that I would work on a buttercream tutorial.  And I truly started writing one on several occasions, and it just seemed too hard to capture with words alone.  If only technology provided some way of capturing video and audio in a format that could be played back!

So we cashed in some reward points for a little Sony HandyCam.  And this past week I worked with my husband on my very first video cake tutorial.  It was very scary and while I'm not entirely happy with the results, I do think the results were worthy enough to share with you, my community of cake blogging friends. I would appreciate it if you watched and gave me your feedback.  I would love to know if your cakes get smoother as a result.


This technique works best with an all butter icing.  Feel free to try it with your own recipe, but I am providing my "kids" butter cream recipe if you want to try it.  It's a little on the sweet side, but I find it very workable!

Cup a Dee Cakes Kid's Buttercream Recipe

2 lbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
16 Cups powdered sugar (4 lbs)
1 TBL plus 1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 Cup heavy cream OR light corn syrup (not nearly as good, but works)

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add all butter, salt and vanilla to 5 Quart bowl and blend.  Scrape down bowl.  Add ½ of the powdered sugar in stages (put a clean dish towel over the mixer and bowl to keep sugar dust down).  Add all of the whipping cream and blend.  Scrape down bowl.  Add the rest of the powdered sugar in stages until it is blended in.  Scrape down bowl.  Now whip the fool out of it on super high for about 2-4 minutes depending on the strength of your mixer.  The icing will go much lighter in color, fluffier and a good spreading consistency.  You should notice the icing begin to increase in volume (it will fill the mixer bowl).

Note:  This icing is too thick and heavy to spread until you whip the daylight out of it.  Don’t skimp on the final beating.

You can leave the icing out of the fridge for a few days, it will be fine.  Re-whip it when it’s been sitting for the best results.

Icing will not be a bright white due to the color of the butter.  Your can purchase some white food coloring to add to the final layer of icing if needed.  Most people won’t notice that it’s not white and it will photograph better.

Variations

Peanut Butter: Add one 18 oz jar of reduced fat peanut butter for entire batch of icing
Mocha:  Dilute 2 TBL of instant coffee granules in TBL hot water-then add to 2 lbs of icing
Chocolate:  4-6 oz melted chocolate per lb of icing (will be a light brown).
Strawberry or Raspberry:  Add preserves.

Also, as an extra special bonus, here is the icing recipe that Mike McCarey gave us during his modeling chocolate class!

Mike's Buttercream Recipe

1 lb 4 oz powdered sugar
½ cup pasteurized egg whites
2 TBL vanilla
2 lbs (8 sticks) softened butter (unsalted)

In an electric mixer, combine sugar, egg whites and vanilla.  Mix on low to combine.  Increase speed to high and mix for 10 minutes to build volume.  Reduce speed to medium, slowly add softened butter and beat an additional 10 minutes until full volume is reached.  



 If you've enjoyed the tutorial, consider making your next Amazon purchase using my affiliate link.  That way we BOTH win!

 

117 comments:

  1. Jenniffer - you are awesome on camera! Very calm, very clear - thanks for taking the time to put this together and share this with your readers.

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  2. I love your tutorial! You are brilliant, you come across really well and your instructions are really clear. Great close up at the end, I can't wait to see more of your tutorials, I think you're a natural. x

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  3. Thank you for sharing your technique. I've learned so much from your video.

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  4. Hi Jen, this is kathia from Pink Little Cake, I have to say that you are amazing, I am grateful for this tutorial and I can't thank you enough for this video. Your buttercream work is something that I really wanted to learn. I know you are so busy and making a video takes time, again thank you for providing us with this information and your recipe.

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  5. Thank you! This is very helpful.

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  6. Thanks so much!! Gonna have to try this soon.

    http://agirlinherkitchen.blogspot.com

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  7. You're my new bff... You're a great teacher. Thanks for taking the time to post this tutorial. We all appreciate it very much! Wish I had someone like you close to home that I could learn from. Thanks again!

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  8. You should be on the Food Network! I use a similar procedure on my buttercream, but I have not tried putting it in the fridge between layers - a brilliant idea! I bet I won't have to swear so much anymore - ha ha ha!

    Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Jenniffer ~ Thank you so much for posting that video! You did an excellent job! I have never chilled between coats.....I am going to try that on my next cake! Thanks again!

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  10. Thank you for the amazing video and for the recipes too!

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  11. Such an excellent tutorial, thanks so much for sharing.

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  12. I can't thank you enough for the detailed video. I really appreciate it. I love all the tricks you showed. I learned so much. Can't wait to put what I learned to the test.

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  13. Great tutorial! i always can't never get my buttercream so smooth and now seeing your tutorial, i want to try again! :) You look gorgeous on camera!

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  14. Great tutorial! Love your cakes and your blog. Do you ever have trouble with the all butter recipe during the summer months?

    The problem I sometimes notice is that my scraper gets jostled by the corrugated cardboard that the cake sits on, which makes shallow vertical indentations. Have you ever had that happen? :)

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  15. @Everyone - Thank you all for the wonderful comments! You are all great!!

    @Roxanne - I always recommend fondant for outdoor summer weddings because yes, butter will begin to melt at around 90 degrees. I still use it under the fondant and it is fine. Also, I always cover my cardboard in cake foil, and I don't notice any jostling.

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    1. Can you use a white chocolate and cream cheese frosting safely for this technique ? and do you recommend for a summer wedding if the cake will be indoors?

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    2. Hi anmatogi! Not sure about a white choc frosting, but it won't work with cream cheese frosting... it just never hardens enough. It works well indoors during the summer months. You would not want to use it outdoors during the hot months. Thanks for your comment!

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  16. Such a great tutorial! Thanks for doing this!

    And I LOVE your kitchen!

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  17. @BLP - With a name like BellaLovesPink, you should love it! LOL! Yes, I love my kitchen... it is all pink and has crystal chandeliers! Glad to hear you enjoyed the video.

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  18. ok. number one: YOU ARE THE CUTEST!!! also, the tutorial is great -- very clear. and your kitchen is amazing, as many have already mentioned... lucky gal!!!

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  19. Do you find frosting a square cake more challenging or less with your bench scraper?

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  20. @JC - Square cakes are alwaye more challenging, but I use the same method on square cakes.

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  21. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Today is the first time I've had the opportunity to try your method. I don't have the last coat on yet, but so far my cake is smoother than any cake I have ever done! The all butter really makes a difference. I was using 3:1 butter to high ratio shortening. I like the heavy whipping cream too, it gives the icing a better flavor.

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  22. Thank you Rach! You just made my day!! I'm glad you got some good information from the tutorial!

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  23. I give you and your tutorial (and like the others above, your beautiful pink kitchen!) seven "awesome"s and a squeal. Thanks for the great recipe and video--it is definitely helping my buttercream become lovelier! Here's hoping to see more tutorials on how you rock your stuff!! ;)

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  24. Thanks for this tutorial! Getting a smooth cake is so important and it's something I've struggled with.

    I tried it for the first time yesterday. I was pretty happy with the results. I know it'll still take practice. The icing was delicious too! My cake sat overnight and this morning I noticed what looks like an air bubble on the side of the cake. The icing is bubbled out. Have you ever had this happen?

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  25. @Elle - I have had this happen before, but not a lot. It sounds like your cake settled a little as it sat out. If you get a bubble, use a corsage pin to let the air out. If you're not going to refrigerate the cake, crumb coat it and then let it set out to settle and then ice it. Thanks for your comments!

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  26. So it helps to refrigerate it? If I do, will it settle after I take it out and possibly get a bubble at the event it's for? I hope that makes sense. I love this recipe and now I don't know what to do when people ask for something different! Ha! I made some icing today with crisco and butter. Definitely Not the same I'll take all the advice I can get! :)

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  27. You are a genius, I love the blow torch idea. It makes so much sense. I haven't had much luck with the hot water thing because I'll forget to dry my spatula one time and yuck. Keep making videos, I am about to swear off fondant for covering cakes, nobody likes the taste. Your work is lovely, who wouldn't prefer your buttercream over fondant.

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  28. Jen,

    My apologies up front if this is not the appropriate method to ask you a question . . . I subscribe to your blog and found your "How do I get My Cakes Smooth? - A Buttercream Tutorial". Tonight, I made your buttercream (all butter) recipe - to the letter - and the consistency seems pretty runny compared to what I normally make and what I see you use in the tutorial. I live in Sacramento CA, so it's not humid and I have my house air conditioner set to 73 degrees while I'm working.

    I just crumb coated the cakes and they are in the refrigerator for the night (so the cakes can compress and the butter cream will harden - even though I understand the buttercream doesn't need to sit overnight) . . . would you recommend that I add more powdered sugar to firm up the consistency some more or just go with it. To give you an idea . . . When I was transferring the buttercream to my covered container, it kinda slid / glooped out of the mixing bowl. If I stick a spoon in the buttercream and pull it back quickly, it doesn't hold a "peak" - it kinda slides back onto itself.

    Oh . . .I also whipped the heck out of it at the end - - I've a KitchenAide mixer and mixed on high for 10 minutes after all ingredients had been added and mixed together.

    I'm going to make another batch and will cut back on the heavy whipping cream maybe by half and see what happens unless you think this will be a buttercream disaster ;-)

    Thanks for your tutorial and help!
    Susan

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  29. Hi Susan, thanks for posting. It's SO hard to troubleshoot these issues. Your butter wasn't melted initially, right? And definitely don't whip it that much. Maybe 2-3 minutes max. Try leaving the buttercream overnight (don't refrigerate) and see what it looks like in the morning. If you're still having problems, give me a call (see my website for number). Good luck!!

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  30. Thank you Jen for getting back to me so quickly. As to my butter, it was super soft when I placed it in the mixer to cream it. I left it out on the counter all day. I just place some refrigerated butter on the counter to get it ready to make another batch. Should I go ahead and use it now before it gets too soft? Would that make a difference?

    Thank you again, I'm always amazed when and grateful to get to get advice from an accomplished decorator!
    Susan

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  31. Jennifer, Another question, please. . . Please keep in mind I'm a beginner ;-) . . . Do you have a smaller cake board underneath the cake you are icing in this video? I'm trying to anticipate icing my cake on a larger, foil covered cake "drum" and then needing to transfer the cake to a glass cake plate / stand - logistically speaking - - if you were to now transfer that cake in the video, would you just take your larger bench scraper and slide it underneath the cake and the cake wouldn't be damaged because it's chilled - assuming there is not a smaller cake board under the cake?

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  32. Also, I just wanted to thank you for solving my buttercream problem, above. Just in case anyone else running into the same problem I had, the issue was the 4lb bag (C&H pure cane sugar 4lb bag) did not have a full 16 cups of sugar. As per your instruction, I measured out each cup (instead of relying on the fact that the bag would have the correct amount) and sure enough, it was 2 cups shy of 16 cups of powdered sugar. I made up a 2nd batch and it worked just like you said.

    Thanks!

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  33. Hey Susan! It was nice to talk to you today! Don't worry, we were all beginners once! To answer your question, yes, I will always have a cake board underneath the cake. For example, if I'm doing a 9" cake, it will always be on a 9" cake board, even if I put it on a 12" drum to work on it. If I need to transfer it, I do it while it's cold and just slip a spatula under the board and move it around. Hang in there and keep decorating!!

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  34. Jennifer,

    Thought I would catch you up on my progress and see if you could give me a few more pointers. The cake looked pretty darn good in the refrigerator - not perfect - but a lot better than what I've done in the past. However . . . while the cake was still chilled and the buttercream was hard, I went ahead and stacked the cake (just 2 tiers , 8" and 6") and piped my decorations. As the cake came to room temperature, a quarter sized air bubble developed on the top tier and the longer the cake sat out, the more "droopy" it began to look. The edges did not stay crisp and the whole thing just got kinda droopy as a stick of butter would. Maybe my layers were too thick? Does your cake icing edges become less sharp the closer to room temperature it gets?

    Wish I could send you a picture . . . Oh. . . as the bottom layer started to "droop", it actually pulled away from the top tier about a good 1/4 inch leaving a gap between the tiers. The top tier was sitting on the bubble tea straws that I used as dowels and I had to cover the resulting space with a ribbon.

    Any other suggestions other than suggesting I tap out! :-)

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    1. Did you ever figure out why this happened. I was planning on using this icing and method for a wedding shower cake but after hearing this I am worried something like this might happen to me. I'm doing a 10" round with a 6" square on top. I sure don't want my icing melting and ruining all my hard work. Thanks

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    2. @Anon - I didn't, but I didn't supervise the making of the icing either. I spoke to Susan several times via e-mail and phone trying to assist her. Make the recipe taking care to measure or weigh each ingredient properly and perfectly. I have made 9 batches of this exact recipe this week and it works just like you saw in the video. I don't get "droopage". I have rarely seen the "air bubble" that Susan mentioned. In those cases, I have just used a pin to let the air out (just like with fondant). Take a look at this weeks cake (the copper orchid); it was made using this same recipe and those corners are sharp as a tack. If you read through these comments and the comments on my YouTube channel you'll see that many people have used my recipe and this technique very effectively.

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  35. Hello, Does this buttercream crust?

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  36. @Lizbeth - No, this butter cream won't crust. I don't think any all-butter butter cream will crust.

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  37. Is the secret to make it completely smooth really getting the cake cold? Do you have a preference - the refrigerator or freezer?

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  38. @Georgia - I don't think it's "THE" secret, but it certainly helps. The butter in the icing will solidify in the cooler, and it helps us more easily get and hold the smooth shape we want. I prefer the refrigerator because I really just want the buttercream nice and cold, but if time is tight you could pop it in the freezer for much less time. Thanks for watching, I would love to know how it works if you try my method!

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  39. Hi, occasionally my buttercream seperates ie. it was coming out a bit stringy when I was using the rose swirl nozzle to decorate cupcakes.

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  40. Thank you so much for doing the tutorial video, it REALLY helped a lot! Also thank you for the butter cream icing, I am not a big fan of the shortening butter cream icing, but this one will be delicious! Your cake was so smooth and amazing! THANK YOU!

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  41. Jenniffer, How many cups does this recipe make?

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  42. Oh I just wanna kiss you!! I have been making all butter buttercreams for years and could never get it perfectly smooth. Everyone told me it was because it couldn't be done; I had to add shortening. Well, shortening is terrible and I refuse to use it in my frostings. To me, the frosting makes the cake!! Give me butter or give me death!! As it turns out, I just needed a couple tweaks to my technique and your tutorial helped me create a simply gorgeous cake today! A million thank-you's!! :)

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    1. That's wonderful, I'm SO glad I could help! Shortening IS terrible, and I applaud you for sticking to your guns and keeping it out of your icing! When I first started out I used shortening based icing and the old Viva paper towel method, but the icing was yucky! I knew I had to up my game!!

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  43. Love, love, love the tutorial. I've been doing some a mature cake decorating and I haven't found a buttercream recipe that I like. I can't wait to try yours! One question... If I'm using fondant over the buttercream should I still put the cake in the fridge before I cover the cake with fondant? Will the buttercream get too soft under the fondant if I leave it out of the fridge?

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    1. Thanks for the love; I sure enjoyed making it... look for more to come soon! To answer your questions, yes I would still chill it even if your going to be covering it with fondant. It doesn't have to be super smooth, but the smoother the better. The icing will soften at room temp, but it will hold up just fine underneath the fondant. Good luck!!

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  44. Lovely video! I'm wondering...if you pipe borders and flowers and such with this frosting, will they hold up? I always use half shortening in my buttercream because I'm afraid of my work wilting/drooping.

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    1. @Rebekah - You can totally use this icing to pipe border, flowers, swiss dots, swirls, rosettes, whatever you want. It is, however, still butter and butter will melt if it gets hot enough. For summer outdoor weddings, I recommend fondant icing. In a climate controlled room it will hold up fine. I only use 2 types of butter cream and my kid's recipe is the sturdiest. Any butter cream cake you see on my site was made using one of those 2 icings.

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  45. Great tutorial, thanks! I made the icing recipe tonight for a wedding cake and was distraught over the gloopiness I got, as someone else had mentioned earlier. I followed the recipe to a T, including the beating for 5-10 minutes part. I took the advice to whip it for only 2-3 minutes and it's wonderful! So the recipe should be changed to 2-3 minute beating at the end I guess. Thanks!

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    1. @Anon- Thanks for the info, I will adjust the recipe. When I first developed this recipe I had a crappy (non-Kitchenaid) mixer and it did take longer. I timed a batch last night and I only whipped it for 4 minutes at the end.

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  46. Just a thought - maybe the people who are having trouble with it being runny are using "butter" as in Parkay, Blue Bonnet - ie margarine. Margarine has water whipped into it. Maybe the extra liquid is coming from that.

    This recipe means real butter as in Land of Lakes or generic of real butter.

    Jenniffer - Do you weigh your sugar on a scale or measure it with a measuring cup?

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  47. Do you sift all of your sugar before measuring? I can't wait to try this recipe and technique!

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  48. I don't sift because what I'm using never has lumps. I have bought large 25 and 50 lb bags that got moisture in them and had to be sifted. Thinking in terms of labor cost, I'd rather buy bags that cost a little more than take the time and mess to sift. I use the plastic bags of powdered sugar from Sam's and Costco.

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  49. i was wonderin will the childrens recipe be good over a night or will the heavy cream spoil?

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    1. Michaila - The kid's buttercream recipe will be fine left out overnight. All that sugar prevents bacteria growth. If it worries you, you can replace the heavy cream with corn syrup. It's not as good though... :)

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  50. Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks a lot for sharing the recipe, my icing tasted better and iced a lot smoother than it usually does. I did make only 1/4th the recipe you suggested and got a lot of air in the icing (i beat it on high for 2 mins using a kitchenaid mixer). did i get air in because i made very little icing? result was a lot of pox like marks on the icing. i did use a spatula t get some of the air out so the second layer came out better. thanks

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    1. That's great Anusha! You definitely want some air in there, but with it being a smaller batch you may have over-whipped. Unfortunately, I never make that little icing! :)

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  51. Do you have to use reduced fat Peanut butter for the icing recipe?

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    1. You don't have to, but I have found that it works best! I always encourage experimentation!!

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  52. Hi there,
    Your tutorial is so clear and well done! Thank you! I have always used fondant to get my cakes smooth but I am keen to try your technique.

    What would you recommend for black buttercream? I was thinking I would use the chocolate recipe and add black food colouring to it. Would you agree? Do you think I could add some cocoa with the powdered sugar to bring out more colour?

    Thank you!

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  53. Jennifer, So glad I found your blog!!! You are the first person that clearly explained the perfect corners on a square cake. Can't thank you enough. I have an upcoming 4 tiered square wedding cake and the perfect corners is my biggest challenge! Can't wait to test this out! I was wondering if you had a cream cheese butter based icing that this will work on? Thanks Stephanie

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    1. I do have a yummy cream cheese icing, but sadly, it does not behave well as a finishing coat. I normally offer it as a filling only, but I will use it to ice a cake if it rough textured, rustic cake. The cream cheese just won't harden in the cooler like butter will. Good luck with those corners though; let me know how it comes out!! :)

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  54. Hi Jennifer, I've just finished watching your videos on icing cakes. I've been using IMBC so far. The people in my country do not like sweet stuff, as such my IMBC is not too sweet. The consistency is not as stiff as yours. Do you think I can still apply your icing method in the videos using the IMBC? Thank you so much for answering my query. I've learned much from your videos.

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    1. Hi KWF! Glad to hear you enjoyed the videos! The technique should also work with IMBC. Although I have never tested it with IMBC, my other "go-to" butterceam is a French merinque buttercream, which is similar. I use the same technique with it and it works great!

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  55. Hello. I tried the frosting and it worked beautifully! My only question is, is there a way to make it whiter? Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi dj40! Of course! I have found that the tiniest drop of violet coloring will offset the yellow cast a good bit. If I want it whiter, I add in Americolor White coloring to the icing. Hope that helps!

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  56. Has anyone figured out how many cups this recipe makes?

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    1. BTW I'm just starting to make the leap to bake and decorate cakes professionally (instead of as a hobby) and your videos are a lifesaver, they have def gave me the courage to go all in because I wanted to use an all buttercream and I was scared to death of smoothing techniques...thx again

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    2. I found the answer or your square tutorial...MAGNIFICENT BY THE WAY...

      thx again

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  57. Hi Jennifer, I've made your kid's buttercream MANY times. I really do like the flavor and consistency. I will say, though, that I've not yet had to do any piped flowers. I've got a wedding cake in march that will require some roses and I'm just not sure my petals will stand up with this recipe as is. I'm considering meringue powder - something I've not used before. Can you give me any advice on that or any other ideas to make this frosting more firm. Thanks so much for what you're doing here. You're fantastic!!

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  58. Hi, I just read 16 cups sugar.. Do you literally mean 16 CUPS? I really want to make this, but I'm freaking out its going to be soooooo sweet ? I live in Australia, and don't think there's a different between a cup here and in America.

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    1. Hi Suzan, you read correctly - my recipe calls for 16 cups of confectioner's (powdered) sugar, which is 4 pounds (or convert to kilos). I don't know if a US cup is = to an Aussie cup. This recipe will fill a Kitchenaid mixing bowl, so it makes 5-6 quarts. This icing will be sweeter than an Italian or Swiss Meringue buttercream, but my clients love it. Good luck!

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  59. I would like to thank you first on your attention to detail. I too have an need to have a perfect cake finish. Your cakes are beautifuly smooth and look devine. I do ahve a question about your icing though, does it have to be kept refridgerated? I see that it has cream in it so I would assume so.

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    1. There's so much sugar in it that it won't go bad if you use it within 3-4 days. Longer than that I would recommend refrigerating. If you do, let it come to room temp and rewhip before using. Thanks!!

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  60. Jennifer I was reading another one of your blogs and it says my "house buttercream" is a french buttercream...so when is it that you use the real butter buttercream? On what cakes? One more question which would be better to do stencil work on, on the real buttercream? or french one? Love your videos, thank you for all your great tips.

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    1. Hi Martha, I do use 2 main buttercreams in the shop - the "kids" buttercream discussed here, and my "house" buttercream that is a french buttercream. They are both "all-butter" buttercreams in that neither contain any shortening, and both are non-crusting. The kids is heavier, and sweeter, while the house is lighter and less sweet. The client decides which one I use, but I treat them exactly the same in the way I work with them, so either would be fine for stenciling. Sorry for the long answer!

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  61. Thank you for your quick reply...I will play around with the Kids buttercream and try the chilling than stencil on them. Thanks again for your time.

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  62. Hi, I really want to try the buttercream recipe for my kids birthday cakes but I need it in different colours. Will in still harden if I add food coloring to it and is it better to use gels or the liquids? I love the tutorial, it's been a huge help. Thank you : )

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    1. Hi Angela! I color this buttercream all the time and it works JUST fine. I recommend using gel colors. Glad you enjoyed the tutorial.

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  63. Thank you for the awesome tutorial! I definitely need a better cake spinner! I have a question on the Mike's Buttercream you posted. Do you know if it will pipe well on cupcakes? Also wondering if you know how many cups it provides as it uses quite a bit of butter?

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    1. Hi! A good spinner can make things SO much easier! I provided Mike's recipe as an alternative, but I haven't made or used his recipe in a LONG time. It should pipe just fine. Thanks for reading!!

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  64. Love your blog! You are very generous! In Mikes recipe, does he use it to ice wedding cakes? Does it have to be refrigerated since it contains egg whites? How long can it stay out?

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    1. Hi Bobbie! I'm glad you like the blog! I provided Mike's recipe as a convenience, but I don't use it. So I can't really answer many questions - but in my class with Mike he said it was the icing he used in his shop.

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  65. Do you ever use Swiss Meringue with this technique? I have to make a Pentagon-shaped cake for a family member and the thought of trying to cover it with fondant is making me shudder - the sheer mathematics of that feat are beyond me. If you use Swiss Meringue with this technique, how long do you think it would hold up out of the refrigerator? Thanks!

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    1. Hi JKN1226! I have not used SMBC with this technique but I have used it very successfully with a French Buttercream (and they are very similar) so I assume it would work. Hold time... if you mean room temp it will be OK for a while, but I still like to refrigerate mine. Again, I don't use SMBC, so take that with a grain of sugar!!

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  66. Thanks, Jenniffer. I was wondering about transport time. I have to drive 5 hours to a wedding with this thing, and am trying to figure out the best icing that will hold up for that drive time.

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    1. Even though we have AC in our cars, the transport time still depends on the temperature outside. On a hot summer day with the AC going full blast the car will still get hot, especially the back. Your biggest enemy with that kind of transport time is going to be road conditions. It this is a tiered cake with that kind of drive, I would recommend carrying each tier separately and stacking onsite. Fondant is going to be your safest option.

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  67. Hi Jenniffer! THANK YOU so much! I could not frost a cake to save my life before you! I also had to use fondant to get a smooth cake. I'm starting up my own business and smooth buttercream has gotten me so much futher than fondant ever did. I do have a problem with brightly colored buttercream streaking when I use the hot scraper. Any suggestions?

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    1. Hi Michelle! Thanks for the compliments! I have noticed the streaking you mentioned on colored buttercreams. What I have done to minimize this is to discard the "melted" buttercream I remove from the cake, and to make as few passes (coats) with the buttercream. Hope that helps!

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    2. Great, I'll try it! Thanks again!

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  68. Loved your video. I really love buttercream (and don't like the taste of fondant) so I was really glad to find your tutorial. Thanks so much!

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  69. I think ur amazing!!! Is the kid's butter cream a crusting icing....

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    1. Hi Tonya! Thanks!! The buttercream I use is NOT a crusting buttercream.

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  70. hello again....I was elected to make a cake for my mom's surprise party,I do suffer from Multiple Sclerosis so I'm trying to make it easy as possible,lol...Since your recipe is not a crusting does the icing stay firm...and can I freeze my cakes ahead of time so I do not have so much to do

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    1. Hi again Tonya! The icing will stay firm as long as it is refrigerated. It will be soft at room temp though. You can freeze your cakes with or w/o buttercream on them. You should give them 2-3 hours in the freezer and then double wrap with cling film for extended freezing. Good luck with your cake!

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  71. and after I ice my cake do I need to store them in the fridge

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    1. I do, I find that they travel better when cold, but there is so much sugar in the icing that it acts as a preservative. You could leave it out overnight without problems.

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  72. Hi Jenniffer! Your tut is amazing and has helped so much! i just wanted to double check a few things. I am making a 3 tiered cake, one tier will be a styrofoam dummy, will this technique work on styrofoam, or will it slip off? Also how far in advance can i cover my cakes with buttercream? my cake is due on a saturday, so if i cover them on thursday, will they keep and should i keep them in the fridge or on the bench? and then i'd stack them on saturday before the party
    If you could help me with any of this, you'd be helping me so much, i've only done a few stacked cakes before, but they were covered in fondant

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  73. Hi Jennifer, I have been using your buttercream recipe for a few years now and I have never taken the time to "thank you" for such an awesome video and your recipe so.....a BIG THANK YOU to you!!!

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    1. I have not had the best week in the world, so this great to hear! I am so glad it is working out well for you! I took at look at your blog and your cakes are beautiful!!

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  74. Jennifer - this is wonderful! I have used your round cake tutorial before. I am making a wedding cake and cannot fit the base layer in the freezer of my new fridge. I am getting a separate freezer but will not have it in time. Will placing it in the fridge for about 30-40 minutes have the same effect without drying the cake out?

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    1. Yep, the fridge works just as well as the freezer, it just takes a little longer to cool down. For most of my cakes, I actually use the fridge and not the freezer. Good luck with your cake!!

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    2. Okay - thank you! I've had cakes dry out in the fridge before so I was worried about that. Have you had this happen at all? What I do currently is freeze my vanilla cakes before using them and that seems to help but I was worried about putting them in the fridge.

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    3. I have no problem with cakes in the fridge. I just assume that the layer of buttercream (and possibly fondant) seal in the freshness.

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  75. Jennifer- I'm going to be making your buttercream tomorrow and I need 4 pounds of buttercream to cover and fill the cake (football helmet). How much does this recipe yield? Should I double it? Thank you! Erin

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    1. Hi Erin! I normally don't estimate buttercream by weight because let's say, cream cheese icing will be heavier than swiss meringue icing. With 2 lbs of butter and 4 lbs of powdered sugar, a single batch will definitely yield more than a 4 lb batch of buttercream. Good luck!

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    2. Jennifer
      Wow, thank you for your video tutorial lesson. I have been trying to smooth butter cream on wedding cakes, and the next one I will use your method.
      Marg...candybarpie@yahoo.ca

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  76. I'm sorry if this has been answered before, but would it be okay to replace the vanilla with almond flavoring? I am dying to try this icing but my cake order this week is for almond icing. Thank you so much for your wonderful videos and tips.

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    1. Yep, almond flavoring will work fine, but I would use a little less. Thanks for stopping by!

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  77. I am using this in a few weeks for an outdoor birthday party. I plan to deliver just maybe 20 minutes before they will cut the cake and it will be under a tent out of direct sun - since I do plan to have a good amount of fondant decorations adhered to the side of the cake I was wondering if you thought this might be fine or if they would start to sag/fall off in that time.

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    1. I have used this recipe a ton for indoor stuff! Amazing tutorial also. Love it.

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