Thoughts on Cake Frosting

Hello, and welcome to post centered around one of my favorite topics in the world:


But I think we’ve all experienced a good cake that’s been ruined by bad frosting, namely bad fondant. That’s what today’s post is attempting to find a solution to.

Thoughts on Buttercream Vs. Fondant & Frosting Smooth Cakes by {}

Let me start off by telling you that the cake you see here is my first attempt at this particular cake-frosting technique and is, therefore, not perfect. It was my practice run, but I’m excited to share it with you despite the slight imperfections!

I found this technique at Oh Happy Day, and it’s meant to make your cake look perfectly smooth like fondant, but with buttercream.

Thoughts on Buttercream Vs. Fondant & Frosting Smooth Cakes by {}

So I’ve been getting more requests lately to make cakes for friends and co-workers, and I want my creations to look pretty and professional. While fondant can sure make a cake look beautiful, I have yet to discover good-tasting fondant. If you have a truly delicious and easy-to-work-with recipe, PLEASE share your wealth of knowledge with me! I beg of you.

In the meantime, however, buttercream it shall be. But honestly, who doesn’t love a good buttercream?

Thoughts on Buttercream Vs. Fondant & Frosting Smooth Cakes by {}

This technique really isn’t difficult; it just requires time and patience.

The cake needs to be chilled after baking, then it gets thinly frosted with a “crumb coat,” and it also needs to be chilled between additional each coat of frosting. So really, a lot of the time is inactive. You can have your whole kitchen cleaned before the cake is done! πŸ˜€

You also need patience because you’ll need to go over the cake again and again with your off-set spatula until it is completely smooth. Next time I frost a cake, I think leveling the top will make it look better. I usually do level it, but I just decided to go for more of a dome-top look this time. That was really difficult to make smooth due to the curve, so flat is probably better.

Thoughts on Buttercream Vs. Fondant & Frosting Smooth Cakes by {}

This was a birthday cake for my lovely friend, Amy, and I had fun decorating it. All I did was paint some wooden skewers and cut scrapbook paper into triangles. Then I just used a needle and thread to string a pennant banner and tied the ends to the skewers. That’s it! Super easy.

The M&M cake below is one I made back in high school. I used to make lots of cakes with marshmallow fondant– It’s easy to make, easy to work with, and it doesn’t require any weird ingredients (just marshmallows, powdered sugar, and a bit of water)– but the fondant was usually just peeled off when it came time to eat the cake. It doesn’t taste horrible like most store-bought fondants; it just isn’t a taste you’d desire to eat. You know?

Marshmallow Fondant Cake

So until I find a satisfactory fondant, I will be thoroughly enjoying the delightful taste and perfectly pleasant look of buttercream.

Thoughts on Buttercream Vs. Fondant & Frosting Smooth Cakes by {}

What do you think? I know it’s not perfect, but I’m pretty pleased with it!
And I can’t wait to do another. πŸ™‚

For the complete tutorial on how to frost a perfectly smooth cake, I’m actually going to send you over to Oh Happy Day.
She’ll tell you everything you need to know, and there are lots of helpful photos, too!

For the frosting, I used this buttercream recipe from Cooking Classy. It’s wonderful.

I hope you all enjoy the tutorial, and happy baking!

Do you prefer fondant or buttercream?
Do you have any awesome frosting advice?

Β© Milk & Cereal. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.


20 thoughts on “Thoughts on Cake Frosting

  1. cathy ahearn

    I do a butter cream frosting and I dip the metal spatula in very warm water when I smooth it. Does a great job.

  2. Kari Olson

    I am still dreaming about that red velvet cake- I might have to give the buttercream frosting a whirl! Best cake I’ve ever had.

  3. Krista

    You can also take a spray bottle and lightly spray water over the buttercream and smooth it out. Dipping your offset spatula in water works, too if you don’t have a spray bottle.

  4. Nicole

    I smooth my cakes by using the viva paper towel method πŸ™‚ Seriously, all you do is: Ice your cake…don’t even need to crumb coat (I know, most do in order to keep the cake crumbs from mixing in with the actual frosting..but, if you learn the trick of making sure your spatula never comes in contact with the actual cake, you can skip crumb coating and.. if by chance your spatula does come in contact with the cake and some crumbs..just simply scrap it off into a separate bowl. (It can be used for the next layer if there is one as a crumb coat πŸ™‚ LOL) … anyway. You ice your cake, wait about 10-15 minutes then take your viva paper towel, wrap it around the side of the cake and smooth with your hand. or a fondant smoother. I found that my hands work best as I can manipulate the icing better that way and actually feel if it’s pushing more to one side or not. Then, drape it over the top and do the same. Only Viva paper towels work, due to how smooth and soft they are.. they leave no towel lint behind or markings. I’ve made all my cakes like this and constantly I’m asked if I have a fondant recipe because from the pictures people think it’s fondant.

      1. Lauren

        My cake class taught to use Viva paper towels, too. You can use parchment paper in the same way, but I prefer the paper towels.

  5. lori knapp

    Icing a cake smooth–I have let the icing start to set up on the cake.. ( touch lightly and if your finger doesn’t stick ) then place wax paper on top and sides and smooth out.


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