Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Buttercreamy fiasco

I was so determined to try out some techniques I saw online about how to ice a buttercream cake. I even discovered that I was always using too little icing and that maybe, just maybe, if I used twice as much I could get that crumb free smooth finish I longed for. Since the Feast of Pentecost was this weekend I decided that was my good excuse for cake making.

Well. I wish I could say things went well...but they didn't...or at least they didn't end well. How's that for three "wells" in one sentence.

The buttercream process went...well. Okay I need a new word.
Here's the pic:

Not too shabby right? I mean I know it's not perfectly smooth, but for a first try at something this size in white buttercream on a red velvet cake...not bad.
Given it was a feast of the Holy Spirit I opted for fire decorations. Mainly because I didn't think I'd succeed at doing a dove. Next time I think I'll go for the dove.

Here's what I started out with:

Intriguing eh? I thought so. I liked it a lot and was pleased I'd gotten my fondant to be such a deep shade of red. It took the whole rest of my icing color container, but what they hey...it looked great! This is when things got complicated. See I ran out of fondant and although I like what I had completed I didn't think it looked fine the way it was and wanted to connect the fire with the flames. That sounds weird when I say it out loud, but that was the idea I had.

I thought: "WOW! This is a great opportunity to practice with Royal Icing!"

Not so much.

So here's what happened next:


I'd tell you that even now I cringe to look at it, but I don't think that would really give you the full measure of pain I felt when I ended up with this craziness on my beautiful buttercream cake. Sigh. So I cried some pretty fierce tears and then realized it was done. Done and done. Not going to be done again.

The mistake I made (in case you are interested) was in the consistency of my royal icing. AND consistency in general. Meaning I should've just gotten more fondant and stuck with the direction I was going in terms of fire. By using a whole other type of icing the overall look was damaged and then when my royal icing was thinned too much (after being to thick for piping...I tried to thin it) it was saggy and runny and didn't hold the way I thought it would. I piped over the text since it was (at first) too thick and then too runny...lol. SIGH.

What a fiasco eh?

All in all I learned SOOOOOOOOOOO much. So I guess it was worth it. Right?



  1. Practice makes perfect.. right? So your next flame cake will kick a**!

    Raychel : ) MyCreativeWay.blogspot.coM

  2. I feel your pain! Just getting buttercream smooth is an art. I work really hard at it every cake. I can do a bang up job now, but it take a lot of time and when your a perfectionist and doing cakes for a living, it cuts into your profits. I use a french buttercream and it hard/easy to work with. I crumb and chill, add a coat, chill, add a coat, chill and then use a hot spatula (run under hot water or use a blow torch) and wipe it clean with a wet cloth ever time you lift it off the cake. I also really LOVE a metal or plastic scraper for the sides. I have much more control and get it done faster! There are many cakes I look back on a still crindge, but as with you, I learned a lot. Happy decorating!