Smooth Buttercream Icing Tutorial

Following on from my last post, I thought I’d show you how I get my buttercream icing as smooth as possible. This is good if you want a good finish for a buttercream covered cake, or as a base for under your fondant.  The same technique can also be applied to ganache.

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Again, like my last post, I bake my cake in layers so that I have a nice, straight base. The above cake is a layered chocolate mud and white chocolate mud cake.  The icing I’m using is a white chocolate buttercream.

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Cover the cake thoroughly in buttercream, don’t worry about being fussy 🙂  Do this however you normally do it, I use a Wilton 13″ Spatula

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Now, this is where you do need a specific tool.  This is plastic bench scraper and it’s one of my favourite tools, and just a few dollars!  You need to make sure you have something with stright sides, that’s the most important thing.  The straight sides allow you to hold it straight against the bench or cake board to make sure your sides stay straight.  At the beginning you will need to check yourself and make sure you’re not holding the scraper with the top closer to the cake.

As you’re holding the scraper, spin the cake (moving the cake, holding the scraper still).  If you have a turntable, this is the perfect time to use it; otherwise use a larger cake board underneath the cake board the cake is on, using that to turn the cake.

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Once you’ve smoothed your sides, move onto the top.  Hold the smoother on and angle and move from the outside in.  This is the most tricky bit.  Try to keep the top as level as possible, but don’t worry too much about any lines you may leave.

ImageYou will likely have small gaps in some areas of the sides of the cakes where there wasn’t quite enough icing – again, don’t worry, you will go over these again.  Place the cake in the freezer until the icing is firm.

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Repeat the above process of covering with buttercream, you will only need a thin layer this time.  This is just to fill in the spots you missed the first time.  Try again get it as smooth as possible this time, but again, don’t worry too much about any lines.  Place in the freezer to firm up again.  When it’s firm, smooth it with your spatula that has been dipped in hot water.  This will smooth out any lines of bumps and you will end up with a fantastically smooth cake.

If you are using this as a base for your fondant, be aware that the freezing process will make your fondant sweat.  If you work quickly, you will be able to cover your cake and very quickly smooth your fondant before your fondant gets sticky.  Start from the top and smooth outwards and down to avoid air bubbles.  Then LEAVE IT ALONE until it’s dry (up to an hour).  If you don’t feel confident in this, allow it to thaw before covering.

Happy caking!  I will leave you with my finished cake.

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