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Cakes with sharp edges have been in style for a very long time. When I first started out making cakes, I used to wonder how people managed to work with buttercream and made it look very neat.
I just knew that it had to be very difficult to deal with considering the fact that buttercream is very soft and easy to mess up. But I soon learned over time that there’s certain tricks to making buttercream look neat.
I’m not saying that covering a cake in buttercream is very easy to do, but if you’ll consider trying these tips you’ll find that it is possible to achieve sharp edges with buttercream.
Tip 1: Using Firm Buttercream
Using firm buttercream is a must when it comes to getting sharp edges with buttercream. If the texture of the buttercream is too loose, it will not hold up for a second and third layer of buttercream, depending on which technique you use for covering the cake in buttercream.
Please feel free to check out my post on How to Make Firm Buttercream without the Excessive Sweetness. This recipe will help you to make firm buttercream while at the same time giving you that creamy and buttery taste. I’ve been using that recipe for a years and it has always given me so much so success in creating beautiful cakes with sharp and clean edges.
Tip 2: Using a scraper
Icing Technique 1:
When it comes to icing a cake, the cake scraper is actually my best friend. This tool will help you achieve those sharp edges that you’re going for. It’s best to make sure to fill in any air pockets along the way as you’re icing the cake. After you’ve fully covered the cake in buttercream, you’ll then use the cake scraper and begin scraping off the excess buttercream. It’s best to not push into the cake as you’re scraping the off the excess buttercream.
That can cause your cake to have visible lines on the sides and that’s a no no! I will usually make sure that the sides of the cake are fully smoothed out before smoothing out the top of the cake. Once I smooth out the top of the cake I will then go back over the sides so that I can scrape off the buttercream from the top edges of the cake. This always helps me to get sharp edges on my cakes.
Icing Technique 2:
Another great technique, would be to use a cake board that’s slightly larger in diameter and place it on top of the cake. Before placing the cake board on top of the cake, cover the top of the cake in buttercream so that board will stay in place. After the board is in place, begin covering the sides of the cake in buttercream.
You will basically be using the top cake board to gauge how much butter cream you will need to put on the sides cake so that the outside layer is not too thick. After you have evenly coated the cake in buttercream, you will then use the scrapper to scrape off any excess buttercream.
Make sure to line up the scraper with the top cake board so that the cake will be even coated. If there are any air pockets, fill them in with buttercream and continue to scrape off the excess buttercream. In the end you should have a smooth surface all around the sides of the cake.
After I have fully smoothed out the sides of the cake, I will then place it into the freezer for 30 minutes so that it will be easy to remove the cake board that’s on top of the cake. Now you can slowly remove the cake board from the top of the cake. At this point you can add a little bit of buttercream to fully cover the top of the cake.
Icing Technique 3:
As the third technique for covering a cake in buttercream and getting those edges sharp, you can fill up a 12 inch large piping bag with buttercream and using a jumbo piping tip, and begin piping lines around the cake. After piping lines around the sides of the cake, you’ll them pipe them around top of the cake as well.
Once you’ve piped all around the sides and on top of the cake, take the cake scrapper and begin smoothing out the buttercream. It’s best to smooth out the buttercream so that you cannot see any lines left on the cake. As stated earlier, smooth out the sides and then the top of the cake.
Then go back over the side with the cake scraper, finishing off the top of the cake by pulling the butter cream from the edges into the center, which will create sharp edges on the cake.
Tip 3: Room Temperature
It’s best to make sure that the temperature of the area that the cake will made in is not hot and humid. I can remember when I first started out making cakes and it was actually in the summer. The temperature in my home was not very cool and the cake that I made was not holding together.
The icing kept melting off of the cake. I was very disappointed and sad as well, to the point where I almost cried. But as time went on I realized that it was the temperature of my home that was affecting the cakes. It’s always best to be aware of this because it can save you a lot of time and a headache.
Tip 4: Patience
Decorating cakes in itself requires a lot of patience. I can name several recipes that require you to first prep it and then let it set for any given time. This can cause some people to stray away from baking, but I believe it’s what brings out the best in most desserts.
When it comes to covering a cake in buttercream, you will definitely have to be patient. It takes time to get the cake exactly they way that you want it. Buttercream can be a little tricky to work with, but if you keep working with it, you’ll soon understand and know how to do certain things in order to get it looking the way you want it.
Try These Tips!
It’s always best to understand that it will take time to become a pro in the world of cake decorating. Trust me, when I first started out I was intimidated by buttercream and very nervous about making cakes that were fully covered in buttercream.
As time went on, I began to get used to working with buttercream and knew what things to do and not do using it. With that being said, If you’ll try these tips and continue to practice, you’ll be icing cakes and getting sharp edges like a pro in no time.