How to Get Buttercream Wedding Cakes Smooth

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Buttercream should always be applied to wedding cakes in a way that leaves you with a smooth and natural appearance. Get the buttercream on wedding cakes smooth with help from a graduate of the Classic Pastry Arts Program at the French Culinary Institute in New York City in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Wedding Cakes
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Andrea with Andrea Nicholas Cakes here in Portland, Oregon, and I'm going to teach you how to ice a wedding cake. All right so I'm going to use my offset spatula and just take a tiny, tiny dab of my butter cream and I'm just going to put that very, very, very, very thin, thin layer on that board so that when it chills it's going to have something to stick to. Otherwise late into the wedding, that might slide right off that board if the cake is moved around. And now we're going to take one of our tiers, then we're going to stick that right on that board. And I think what we'll do is four layers of cake and three layers of butter cream in between. So I'm putting that on there and I've got my serrated knife. Always use a serrated not a regular. And I want to just kind of eyeball where the center of that tier would be and just slowly turn, turn with the top of your hand on the cake there and this by the way is a chilled, chilled sponge. Don't try to do this with a hot cake, and certainly not right out of the oven. It's just a lot easier to work with when it's nice and chilled. So bake the cake the night before. All right so I'm slowly working that serrated knife around and then I'm cutting that, and I've created another tier here. Don't worry about crumbs at this point, we're going to do a crumb coat. And I'll explain that in just a minute. All right so now we're going to dollop on some butter cream. You want about a quarter inch of butter cream in between each layer of cake. Again I've got my offset. I just dollop that on and just kind of gently what I'm kind of doing is rocking it back and forth and spreading that butter cream really evenly inside that tier. OK. All right, going to go for our next layer of cake. Put that right on there. Center it as best as you can. Go ahead and dollop some more butter cream on. Right in the center. Could be a little bit more. Going to go ahead and spread that out and then do our rocking motion. Spread that around that tier. This is beautiful Swiss butter cream, it's absolutely delicious and really, really easy to work with. And there you go. All right so this is assembled, just take a look at it from different angles, spin it around, make sure it's about as even as you possibly can get it. OK at this point we are going to be using our crumb coat. Now don't be nervous about trying to ice a cake at this point. All you're doing is a crumb coat. If little bits of cake get in there, it's not a big deal. It doesn't need to be straight, as straight as you can make it, we're going to do the clean up later. At this point we just want to get it covered. So what I like to do is just start with the sides and start working big globs of butter cream all up those sides. You just kind of put big amounts, not a big deal if it's creeping out all over the place. At this point I'm not going to put this back in my clean bowl of butter cream unless I know there aren't any crumbs on there. OK. Keep adding butter cream to those sides. So I'm just kind of sweeping up making sure that there's butter cream covering every aspect of that sponge. I'm just going to get a nice thin layer on this top here. Dollop it around and we're going to straighten that out in just a minute. I'm trying to establish a 90 degree angle between the side of the cake and the bottom of the cake stand here. This doesn't have to be exact at this point again, this is just a crumb coat. I'm got a little bit of an angle here. I don't want to put it just right edging against the cake, I want to bend it just a little bit towards me. Towards my body. Then I'm just going to take that around the cake and just get all that excess off, scrape that back into my crumb coat bowl there. And that's it. Don't think too much about this one. OK, we got those sides cleaned up. I get my offset again, and I'm going to take that and just spin, spin, spin this board. I'm just making sure that all this sponge is covered up, there's nothing exposed that might allow crumbs to get in there into my cake. OK one more time on the outside. Get any of that excess off. And that's it, that's just a crumb coat. And we're going to take that and put that into a cold refrigerator for about 15 to 20 minutes. OK so I just pulled our cake out of the cold refrigerator. It's been in there for about 15 minutes just chilling. You just want to make sure that that crumb coat is nice and cold so that you're not going to grab any crumbs now. You don't want to see any crumbs on the outer cake on your final product. OK so again we're going to start dolloping again on this outside portion. Again, don't worry about what it looks like at this point. We just want to get a lot of butter cream on there. You just want to get a good amount. You can always take it off, but it's a lot harder to put on. So ahead, be generous with your butter cream. Just start the bottom and kind of pull on up. All right so now I'm going to use my pastry cutter and at this point, now you're trying to get this exact as possible, so I'm going to get all that excess off. I'm putting this at a 90 degree angle, laying that base right on my cake turn table. But I don't want to hold it straight against the cake or I'm going to get an edge on there and you're going to see that. So I angle it just a bit towards me. And I'm going to slowly go around. And don't keep collecting a big, big chunk of butter cream on there, you want to eliminate. Make sure you're not pushing it up so it's right on the cake. You're not going to get to that crumb coat, you're just taking off that excess that you just added. Get that excess off. See we're starting to get a really nice smooth, smooth edge. Keep looking at it, try looking at it from different angles, get it down low. Make sure you don't have any gaping inconsistencies here. At this point I'm going to put some butter cream on the top. Once again, big dollop. There. OK. Now I'm going to use my large offset, spread that around. Now I'm going to do that rocking motion that I did when I was doing that crumb coat just to spread it all out. I'm getting about a fourth of an inch quarter inch of butter cream on the outside of the cake, just like I did between each layer. OK. All right. Now that I've got that on there, I want to do excess and have it come out on the sides. I'm just going to try to make this, I like to hold my offset pretty close to the edge of it because it gives me more control. And I like to get down close so I am eye level with the cake and can see if it's nice and flat. If you're up here, you don't know if it's level. So go ahead and lay that on there. Not flat, not completely on edge at a 90 degree angle, just with a little bit of the lip up towards you and just turn and turn and turn. See how that's getting nice and flat up there. Looking good, now we've got this excess on the outside. Go ahead and grab your scraper again. We're going to grab that off. And now see that we've created that lip. What we're going to do is use our offset. Again hold it up close and you just kind of reach over and pull it in. So move it around and pull it in. See how that gets that lip off right there? Again, it's not flat on the cake, it's not at a 90 degree angle, it's just the lip of edge of the spatula is turned slightly towards me. And I keep turning that turn table and pulling it in. All right, now you want to take this and put it back in the refrigerator to chill and then once that's nice and cooled, then you can work on any other small small imperfections. But at this point you've got a pretty pretty straight flat smooth butter cream to work with. This can be perfect for covering your cake in fondant.


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