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Cake Decorating: Buttercream Basics

Lesson 1 of 6

Buttercream Supplies and Round Cake Technique

Lucinda Larson

Cake Decorating: Buttercream Basics

Lucinda Larson

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Lesson Info

1. Buttercream Supplies and Round Cake Technique

Lesson Info

Buttercream Supplies and Round Cake Technique

The first thing we're going to do is let's get our cakes ready so we can ice them, and I have a nice bowl of voter cream icing here that has been stirred, so one of the tricks is issue. Fill your bowl to the top of your paddle, and then you stir it on a low speed until it's like satin. I wanted to show you guys how to get a decorating big ready, and I don't have one that's already been cut, but I wanted to show you real quick because there is nothing worse in the world than buying this beautiful decorating bag that you can use over and over and then put it in your couple er and cutting it too big and then destroying your big and you can't use it. So the trick is, is that when you get a new bag, get your couple er and take off let's see if I have a couple of year right here, so the first thing is take off the outside nut or screw okay, and then dropped this portion into the base of your bag with them and then push it down as far as you can, and when they're brand new, they're wrote thei...

r kind of stiff, push it down as far as you can and with a pen mark around this top edge, and then take the couple are out and cut straight across, even though your line is going to be a little crescent shape, don't follow the line, just cut straight across from one end of the line to the other end and air on the side of caution, cut a little above if you're not quite sure, and then when you're coupler goes in, it will come down further than where you've cut if it hasn't and you can't get the screw or than back on, you can cut more off it's easier to cut more off than it is to try to put some back, because that does not work. So I always like to kind of explain that to people on the first class for the first time, because otherwise there's nothing worse than running a ten dollars bag and you're like, oh, great, I can't use it, and I've got to go back to the store. You question my question already is I've always had a hard time with this, and, uh, I don't want to ruin my bag when you when you cut the lines going to crescent so it's going to be curved, you kind of split the difference. And just right up the middle or on one side towards the very so if I've got my curve, my line like this head on this side of the line, okay? Because I can always kept more off got you it's yeah, if you cut to show too much and I I've been doing this a long time and I've ruined a few banks and they're there in my mind, there's nothing worse and ruining a brand new big and you're like uh, so a real quick I want to go over our supplies for buttercream, the big supplies for butter cream, a decorating bag decorating tips um, my preference for decorating tips is I prefer to use p m e p m ear out of england and that stands for precision machine engineering, okay, they are an engineering firm cake decorating supplies are just a little part of what they do business in and it's a small part although it's gotten bigger over the years and so you need decorating tips. You need a decorating bag and I also have parchment papers and I put mine down below and your parchment papers are a vegetable based paper, so if they get to dry eso if you're working in an air conditioned area, they get dry and they split really easily so I keep mine in a plastic bag if your parchment papers become too dry don't throw them out you can save them, wrap him in a plastic bag and put him in your refrigerator leading there for a few days and they will revive they just need a little moisture. Okay um I use a lot of spatulas obviously and then also for icing my cakes I have a secret tool. You guys ready for the secret tool? I didn't even put it on your supply list. It's a paint edger works very, very cool. Um if you can find the older ones when they first came out with the paint enters a few years ago we as cake decorators discovered how cool they were to work with they were like those old the nation blinds and they gave them away at the paint store. They no longer make those we can't find him and we now have to buy them and I think I bought this one. I want to say it was two fifty so it's not a big investment but it is a little bit of an investment but what I like about my paint injuries I put it right in the dishwasher so they go right in the dishwasher they do get bent if you're not careful and when it gets to bin you say goodbye to it use it is a pain injury and then throw it away so we've got cake we've got icing we've got a spatula we've got a good spatula for smoothing so the sharper your edge and you notice I'm feeling this the sharper your edge and your spatula the better results you're going to get um if you work in the industry, one of the things that you have to do is hide your spatulas from the donut fry guy because they love using your spatulas to pull out their donut fries and they bend them every time so as kicked a craters, we always are hiding our spatulas from the donut fried guys and we need decorating tips and color and something sharp to cutter are cakes with so our list of supplies for buttercream work is kind of minimal compared to what else we're doing out there so compared to gum paste flowers and fund it where we use a lot of tools and a lot of things this is pretty minimal okay, so already get started yes I'm oh, there it is okay, I was looking for my feeling so the first thing I want to do is I want to get my cake as level is possible and one of the ways that I do that is I bake my cakes at twenty five degrees less than what the formula recipes call for so they bake a little slower and a little longer and that's doing that seems to do the trick and I obviously baked ahead of time if you have and I'm gonna cut this one first if you have this nice little trimming leveling tool that's awesome if you don't let me show you how you're going to do it let's put the move stuff around here let's put this one here I'm just using a nicer rated bread knife make sure it's clean and I'm just going to cut in about one inch and just keep working around this is where your turntable comes in nice turning around turning around then we have the extra this is what you feed your children for lunch yes hi, rachel. Good morning. So you said that you go with the lower temperature so how do you adjust the baking time for the cake? You really only takes maybe maybe five, ten minutes and just watch it um tested and of course with the touch and then the toothpick another indicator that they're done and still start to pull away from the side um and there's nothing horse and under baking a cake because you think it's ready you pull it out the next thing you know you've looked in it's shrunk and you're like were you doing that one because when they shrink okay I do not want to ice the crummy side it's a crummy side we're going toe not ice that we're going to ice the bottom ok and my cardboard that I put this on head airbrushing on it so I've got blue that came off of my cake this would not be a good thing if I were just doing this for a customer this feeling is a peach filling and it's basically a nice gentle soft peach filling which would go nicely with the white cake I will fill the bag again here it isthe knew ahead one I think just imagine I lose my stuff on this much base imagine how you idea a bakery all right I leave rubber spatulas or your best friend's oh so what I wanted to do is I want to show you this I folded down a cuff I put my hand inside I'm going to take my I seen and put in several specialist pool so I have enough to work with this particular bag I'm just using the coupler I'm not putting on any tip the purpose of your couplers it enables me to change decorating tips without having to create a whole new big so that's the advantage of going and this has a little slid on it that so I could put a drop flower tip on the bag and what I'm going to do is I'm just going to pipe a reservoir of icing try to do it even unlike that little if I was make walking a line for a police officer I would have gotten arrested for that one part of it is is my boards not on the thing okay then let's go ahead and put in are filling my filling I do not want to make any higher I want to make it just below that reservoir line because this is what is going to make your cake slip and slide which in the summertime slip and slide is fun but on a cake not so fun now this is just a eight inch cake it's not that big of a deal but if I am doing anything over a twelve inch in addition to my reservoir along the outside I also do uh a line if of the buttercream down the center I have found that I have more trouble with things slipping and sliding or cracking over twelve inches so when I add that line of icing down the middle and then put the filling on either side I have not had the problems with the sliding so that's one of the reasons we do that ok so that's how you would use a knife now if you don't if you have this very krell ever tool and they also it's called a level or they also sell him where they're kind of like a wire in between a little thing I they work their little harder to hold because they have a handle that's with just a wire it's not easy hold what I want to do is adjust my blade they also have some really really high end type of things that have I mean you can literally get to a sixteenth of an inch on your adjustments this one's not so high end but it does the job and as long as it does the job I'm happy and if I'm happy everybody's happy know what I mean? Yeah ok so I've got it so I could just trim off that crown I usually save the cake crumbs one for the ever popular kick balls that we're doing and then also if you have family they can have a taste I didn't say that today I dumped it then I have a piece of cardboard I'm going to set that cake on top remove my wax paper so I can see what I'm doing and you can see now that the surface I'm going to be icing is not crummy crumbs always go down okay and I'm just going to line that up put it on top and we're good to go now then I have some crumbs remember runs and lumps are bad you said they were questioning the audience ok hi I'm wondering if you use the same technique for a larger diameter kicks sliding it up the both of you for all of them yes and you can buy um metal sheet sheets that are made just for doing that so if you're using them like a full sheet cake or something you just get those and I literally vote my full sheet onto it, and because it's metal, I hook it on to one hip, I hold on to it on this side and I just slide it off, so they're always lined up. Thank you. And the crummy side is always down, always down, and then I'm going to use a brush and dirty up the studio floor because they love that. But again, I want the crumbs. I don't want crumbs in my eye, I seen so you want to have no crumbs. Okay, now from my studio, ladies, if you want to go ahead and trim the top off of yours and flip him onto your board so you have a little bit to work with. I always like to place, especially my butter cream. I like to place on a board that's at least two to four inches larger than my cake. It adds value to what I'm doing. It adds impressive nous and it gives me a work space so I can create my borders. And I am known for my book my borders, um, some of the borders that I do know I have these boards that have been around a very, very long time I made them when my children were small, my children are now in their twenties their mid twenties so that gives you an idea of how long these have been around they're made with that a nice and called perma ice it's not edible but they've traveled a long way so you can see what type of borders and they're kind of some step by step things so you can see what what all we can come up with we have all kinds of have tapes sticking out on this one I think that if I had known that these were going to be around for many years as they have been I'm I don't know I might have done something different but they're lightweight they travel well and like I said they probably seen more mileage than most people get teo think they have frequent flyer miles they would be flying first class every time you know business so anyway I can pull those out or we can look at more more of them later ok, so the trick is is let's ice our cake and once do it quickly and easily without stress in ourselves out and making it a whole lot of steps that don't have to happen so let's do it nice and easy so the first thing is is I've got the baked side up I've got it filled it's all ready to go now here's some of the tricks I am going to be very generous with my icing okay, so I'm going to put let's go instead of let's go with three just to prove I want to be oh let's make it for just to prove I want to be generous, okay? Because I don't want you guys to think I'm being cinci I want to start off with a lot of icing so that it's covered I can take it off in the end. The next trick is is that one? I'm spreading it with my spatula, my spatula is going to be at an angle and then I'm going to turn and bring it back. I'm going to push it back and forth when I go to pull my spatula off the surface I'm not going to have it flat and lifted because that's going to just rip off a whole bunch of icing with the cake so it's push, push, push and if I lift off it's going to come off at an angle, okay, I always do the top first that's adding some pressure and you can see I have a little icing bulging out. I'm not stressing about that it's going to be fine so let's start by spreading that icing around, I want it over the edge, I do not want to have edge hanging out and I'm going to quickly smooth that take ofsome excess, noticing my specialist at an angle then very quickly I'm gonna grab the glob of icing and I'm going to push it on to the side, going back and forth with my spatula at an angle and I see a crumb crumbs are bad put the crummy I seen over there, so I don't put it back on and because I went over the edge, I have a little icing to work with that I don't have to pull up every time and you'll notice I'm holding my spatula very straight up and down my arm is up like this, my head is tilted. All of this is how I'm getting that kate flat and straight put on a good layer of icing, make sure I don't have any part showing I want to have the ice and go all the way down to the base so it is sealed in because essentially what you're icing is it's a preservative, so we've baked our cake. We're now using the sugar icing as a preservative, so we don't have any bacteria growing in there and air drying out a spot or any of that kind of stuff. Ok, so I've got a real basic oh code of I seem there everything's good, this is where I come in and get my edger and what this is what I love has got a straight edge. This is square, so I'm going to put that flat onto the surface. I'm going to turn my turntable, which has little ridges on the bottom so that I can use my hands to keep it going nice for a quick couple of quick questions. Thank you. Um michelle b would like to know what's the reason for pushing the icing in so it stays on okay, I don't need falling off. Yeah, yeah, push it on, make it stay great. Can you over mix your icing? Yes, you can turn it into soup. Okay, um in particular, because we use you short mean, or better or both. Um, you conover start very easily and they've changed the, um they've changed the crisco shortening all shortenings have changed they've had to follow the federal laws about multistep poly, saturated fats and all on all that stuff. So all the shortening recipes have changed, and because of that, you could really over store very easily and you need to use a stabiliser in your butter creams. Now, um, a year ago, we didn't have to. I shouldn't say here go two years ago, we didn't have to. Now we have to get so a lot of us are still adjusting our formulas to accommodate the changes in the industry, but we're supposed to be taking better care of ourselves okay, so once I've gone all the way around and I've got it looking kind of nice I'm thinking ok that's good I might spend a few more moments on that if this was a wedding cake probably not though, so come pretty good and I know that anything that's there I can either decorate over put in the back then I'm going to hold my edger and I like to use long, straight even polls okay, how you guys doing over there? Is this making sense to you or my totally freaking out? You might have to stand up. You have crumbs? Yeah. Oh, it's creamy icing and I'm just going to pull in that edge. Can you reiterate what? What that tool is that is the edger it's a pain in july by our first hardware store. Okay. Thank you. Yeah. Um uh trying remember that hardware store that used to have the really good venetian blind ones? Very flimsy. I like this when it's a little sturdier it's got the the handle so I can hang on to it on I wash him right in the dishwasher, so yeah, they're pretty awesome. They have longer ones they have from shorter one zissis assize I prefer but you can use whatever can I come over and help you guys? Yes showing through yet you've got crumbs you made you have crumbs and you you're not gonna want to stand and pick those out but one of my suggestions is going to be on yours is you want to have a little more at the base because you've got it looking it's doing this look yeah ok so if we add a little more here see when you do it it looks perfect I did one of the jobs that I had when I was in my early twenties was iced cakes for three very famous very talented cake decorators all they did was decorate cakes all I did was ice their cakes and trust me you do not get to hand people who are that level of decorators garbage so I want to hold my spatula straight up and down so it's a square is possible I want and I'm doing this by holding my arm up like this I'm leaned over the side looking and I'm going to do we have any gin here I'm gonna try underneath I'm gonna turn keeping it moving a slew smooth as possible so when you start with the icing up here and you're pushing it down so do I want to get the beast covered and then go back and add more you want the top covered you want it hanging over the edge so that you have the edge covered so you're not trying toe pull it over and you don't want to do any of this kind of angle stuff you want everything to be a square is possible so we'll try to keep differently beautiful even with the crumbs and then once we have that then let's pull this in okay let's pull this in and I cheated I have the edger my students do not they have to go out and find their own and do you ever get worried like do you see like when these little kind of pocket the little pockets and bubbles or because you're icing was not stirred okay would have stirred it in the bowl it would've been like satin I would not have those I'm more worried about this string of crumbs that came off the top of the cake but no stress although desert spelled backwards is stress but in a way we're not going to stress we're going to put a flower the core base or yeah we're going to cover that like I said leaves cover a multitude of sins and crumbs on the top of the cake would be that okay cool and I'm gonna put the crumbs back into your bucket thank you that is looking good not the top okay I lost the top to make okay and your special has a little bend in it it probably got tweaked in the dishwasher or we let it don't fry guy touch it that's donor frank guys ok, so you did good on the side it needs to be a little bit higher but let's work it and we're just going to pull from the outside edge in okay and your turntable sticking band okay, so we're just gonna pull it in at an angle try to make it his level is possible and see how much I took off yeah how's that looking alex to be unified now I'm not liking these edges I'd like to have him square and the way to do that is you know you're icing pushing up issues doing this portion okay, but we're not going to stress over one because you're learning and two were going to put borders here so you won't even know but you did good, so we're not the center the cake and make sure that that's what? Yeah, right because you wanted to be flat for a decorated cake if you were decorating if you were making a cake that you're slopping chocolate icing on and it's called comfort food then it's ok but we're decorating an art piece not comfort food centerpiece think of it as a centerpiece that you're creating for the birthday party, the dinner party, the retirement party whatever it is that you're doing it's the centerpiece okay okay, thank you look how good you done that's awesome good girl this is this is our young girl she good ok one thing on your side since you do have you see how you have a little it's a little bit like pompous ok, so let's do this if we hold our spatula straight up and down hold that arm see however my arm yeah this has a lot to do with how you're doing this stuff. Okay cake decorating very physical guys have you noticed? So we've got it a little less caddy mom pus we got a little bit of crumbs showing through but again I am not going to get all wigged out about it then let's go ahead and come in with our edge and see how her edges standing tall which you didn't get on yours and so when she goes to pull it in, that helps make that level and we're take off that excess try toe work with the clean blade and if you have to wipe your spatula down that's okay, a lot of people like to use water tio smooth out there butter cream cakes it's not the water the water is doesn't work it's the heat so if you put a hot wash cloth on your spatula, you're going to get a better finish than if you just squirt water, get it wet or something it's the heat, not the water keep it dry but keep it warm on your special if you'd use that trick have you ever tried that trick? Yeah, yeah all of us have think there you go good job you guys did great. So listen, the acne a c m eighty three would love to know is it all in the wrist when you're icing on cake all in the wrist and on the rift could be yeah, because I want my spatula to be at an angle and if you'll notice when I was doing the side, I've got my arm really up in the air I've got my body doing this I'm trying to keep it a square is possible you'll also notice the difference of my students cakes there I seem was not stirred my bowl of icing was stirred my icing does not have the air bubbles in it it's satin it's like sat in this forest buttercream goes on and that is half the battle right there. Um I talked a little bit about the water a lot of people will use water, they'll have the thing they'll dip their spatula and the water and then, you know, smear water around it's, not the water it's the heat so if you're going to do something, get your washcloth really good and hot and then wipe down your spatula with the heat so it's warm and then try it that will also help you not the water heat okay, yeah for a few more sure got some good stuff in here so this is from our gluten free adventures I am still having difficulty with icing consistency I think I'm under mixing my recipe is spectrum shortening confectioner's sugar and water or rice milk to make my icing they're gluten free can they use real milk? Not sure um if you can use a dairy product and if you're gluten free you may have issues with dairy product also the thing with the dairy products or the dairy products mix better with your fats so you get a better mix whereas if you're using water or, um like a soy product or an almond product, I'm not sure going to get the mixture quite a cz well it's going to get cracking and dry out easily and you want to when you originally mixture buttercream I mix my butter cream in one bowl and I mix a lot of it at a time and then I transferred to another bowl and then I usually do that on mondays and then when I'm icing and decorating on fridays and saturdays I've been taking it out of that bucket or that bowl and putting it into this size of mixer and stirring it and then I stir it until it's like satin I want the bubbles gone when I'm in the mixer to the bucket or the bowl, I don't care if it has bubbles cool, so but you need to mix it until it looks like whipped cream at this stage. Move it to the bucket of the bowl, stir it talks like satin at this stage. Great. Um, so I got another question. Two questions. One is when you're doing and you're mixing in the larger ball and transferring it, we always seem to get a crust on the top of it before we start to you. So were you using milk or water to make milk milk and you're getting a crust? Are you using real butter in your icy yes, and you're still getting across little quest? I can hardly get my butter cream to crust. Okay? I don't get a christmas or better it would, I would say more butter. Yeah, and then the second question is, when you're moving it back, do put just the right amount for the cake, or do you go with extra? I always go with extra. I want my bullets I wanted filled up to the paddle so that when the paddle is stirring, no air bubbles air going into it, and you hand mix that when you're storing it, or do you know, I always put it back on my kitchen aid, and I stirred on a very low speed. Okay and I set it up and I worked in bakeries where the first thing of the decorator does when they come in and say get their bowl going they fill it to the paddle they stirred them and get story and of course working in a bakery situation here always trying to get his much product done ahead of time as possible so you feel that bulls foolish you could get it and it's not uncommon to see while that bulls being stirred because there's so much product in the bowl they've got it so full that it will over the edge you know you see the decorator come by and back and you know um so you want it really full in my particular instance I rarely feel mind to the point where they're flopping over because I just don't that's just not how I I don't like the four run around ok ok so scrap shoot was taught to dirty ice first and then the final icing you want to talk to that description you just gotten if ok let's talk dirty ice we're dealing with food that is um who is it duffs that's depths word we crumb coat this is food so all of my culinary students that said dirty I say always gotten if sorry not for the whole quarter but for the day they got so we don't dirty ice we crumb coat we're dealing with food I don't crumb coat okay, it's extra time I don't normally have to. Every once in a while, you'll get something that's not cooperating and you'll end up with a bunch of crumbs. So, like in a couple of cases over here, you could've crumb coat and the crumb code is basically a very thin layer by scene, you let it kind of get itself together and then put on another layer of icing without crumbs. Um, some people just have to really, really work at that to get it right once you start doing this, and like I said, I had a job where I worked forty to sixty hours a week, and all I did was voter cream, ice cake after cake after cake after cake so that it could go over to three very high end decorators and they could decorate. Um, so I've got it pretty well. May I practiced a lot, but getting to that practice point if you're not quite there yet, that's okay, go ahead and add that layer of crumb coating and, you know, try to do it without the layer of crumb coating. It'll save you several steps and time and money, but if you can't that's ok, keep working at it.

Class Description

Buttercream is the baker’s best friend, but it can be fussy in both pastry bags and bad weather. Learn buttercream basics from the Buttercream Queen, Lucinda Larson and keep things friendly in the kitchen.

In this course Lucinda will take you through the steps of frosting a cake with buttercream so it is primed for decoration. She’ll offer tried and true troubleshooting tips for working with temperature changes and uncooperative climates and help you keep the cake and all of its embellishments together. You’ll also learn how to prep and use pastry bags using a variety of different tips. Lucinda will teach you techniques for writing, creating borders, adding drop flowers, and shaping leaves.

If you want to add a professional touch to the cakes you bake for your family and friends, join CreativeLive and Lucinda Larson and learn buttercream basics.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Lucinda Larson - Buttercream Recipes.pdf

bonus material with enrollment

Lucinda Larson - Buttercream Supplies List.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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a Creativelive Student

I enjoyed the classes themselves, but the lack of close ups of what Lucinda was doing so I could actually see what she was doing or the differences between the before & afters deters me from spending money on the videos. Thanks for the many hours of fun, Lucinda!


Yes, I did like it. Is simple and short. straight forward. Will try it. thanks.