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Cake Decorating: Buttercream Basics

Lesson 4 of 6

Creating Drop Flowers and Borders

Lucinda Larson

Cake Decorating: Buttercream Basics

Lucinda Larson

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Lesson Info

4. Creating Drop Flowers and Borders

Lesson Info

Creating Drop Flowers and Borders

You can create an entire wedding cake with nothing but drop flowers so some people think oh drop flowers not that great we're doing them in butter cream so we're going to do them directly onto the cake but if you wanted to you can also do your drop flowers in royal icing and you khun pipe them onto wax paper let them dry and then you can have a lot of creative fund with a flower that set up in these air things that you can put on cup cakes or cookies or whatever okay excuse me s o the first one we're going to start with is r two d and this is a fairly large drop flower tip we can also turn it into like a daisy or something like that um and it does not fit onto a couple or so I'd said earlier about the couple's so we can change tips and that sort of thing but this one does not fit into a couple of so you have to put it into a bag without a couple just like we did our other ones so I'm just dropping it into the bag and then I'm going to go ahead and put a flower color in it so let's go a...

head and use an orange you can use any color you want but I'm choosing orange and let's add a little pink on the side remember I talked about striping her bags were going do that a little bit with the flowers mix it up a little bit so it doesn't have literally a stripe that's why it's called striping the bag I'm trying not to have it outside of the edge there that makes it messy and let's go ahead and add a little more orange because I know that's not gonna be enough and you'll notice excuse me you'll notice that I have not stirred these colors so that everything is perfect there's a little bit of white still showing and that just adds to the interest of the buttercream so it's not flatten solid looking and yet there may be times you want to make sure it is now at this point might tip is right here and it goes back to here and again I want to cut about a a third of the way back I want to be ableto have all my point showing from the tip, but I want to have it still strong enough that it stays in the bag and doesn't bust out, so I've cut that squeeze it out I always like to clean that portion up with the wipe of my finger now and bring my washcloth over and wife data okay now here's how drop flowers work we hold our bags straight up and down you wanted to touch the surface and as I touched the surface I'm applying pressure stop pressure lift off okay and I just pressure stop pressure lift off there's some of that pink now here's a twist literally here's a twist so as I twist my hand I'm still holding that beg straight up and down I mean twist my hand and it's I apply pressure I untwist it so that opens the petals on the flower see how I do that okay, now this is a filler flower can also be the main flower come on just kind of fill in some flowers here I'm gonna cover my holy over here and I'm just going to kind of call that good I think that's kind of good I might come back and add some or how you guys doing over there we're having some issues with this particular tip and the icing coming through like it's not is your tip open? I think after my deal when they walk over and take a look I'm just going to redo mine because I mean I like this I like it like you've almost got some struggling european yeah, it should work okay trying to get you're gonna need more icing on that pressure's coming okay yours just not kept rolling see how its papers coming out here and covered some of the points so that's you should back in there's a washcloth found one and let's cut it straight across here way still have part of that not showing see how it's now all your tip is showing ok now then when you go to pipe it you're a long hold it straight up and down apply pressure stop pressure lift up okay and you want your chip to touch the surface a little bit because that's going to give you a center ok there you go that looks good how are you doing that looks good that's pretty like that color so when you go to apply pressure and hold it straight up and down put it right onto the surface you can't push down because your surfaces soft but hold it touch the surface apply pressure stop pressure and then lift up so pressure stop pressure lift up okay said help awesome okay and I left one of my spatulas over there. Oh, well, I know where to go. Teo okay, so at this point let's add I'm going to use to have you guys get a number sixteen or seventeen started yes. Yeah, ok, an eighteen whatever one of your star tips. So this is a star tip this particular p emmys numbers are different than the rest of the world's numbers and I want to say and they're harder to read this is a seven so it's more like a seventeen eighteen size star gonna put that in and I'm going to put it in with the yellow and I'm going to turn my star tip into a flower so what I'm going to do is I'm going to take this star and I'm just going to pipe little bunches of stars and again that it's just straight up and down steady pressure stop pressure pull up so it's pressure stop pressure pull up pressure stop pressure pull up if I pull up well I'm still having pressure you get that look that's not the look we're going for just making it appear to have some this is a really good way to add color that's dark and vibrant so say if I needed to have some royal blue and something this is a good way to add royal blue deep breads without it being too overwhelming well, let's see, I need some yellow down here okay? I'm gonna call that good I can also come in with the bag and I'm going to add some yellow to my yellow kick it up a notch and my bucket so I've added more yellow in one section I'm just going to stir it in right here not gonna stirred into the whole container so I've got this a little hotter, more vibrant then I'm going to put it into my bag, put that color and first and then fill it in the back with a little of the softer pillar just so I have enough icing to squeeze out and I have a fairly large hands, so for me, I often have to use more icing again. Somebody with the smaller hand has to do because I just need more icing to squeeze and what I'm going to do now let me see if I can't I'm going to hold the bag in my hand like this, and I know it looks disgusting, but this is the best way to do it, and then I'm going to hold my scissors and cut straight across a little tiny hole. So basically, I've just made myself my own decorating tip without having to do another tip, and what I'm going to do with that nice, bright yellow then is I'm going to pipe a little center in my flowers, catch him all here we can, okay? And at this point, I mean, we can call that good other than this one thing here, this bugging me, I'm gonna make that go down, curl it, and, um, this is good. So at this point I can I'm ready to write on this cake, and I'm ready to add the borders now. There's an order to doing a butter cream cake or any cake for that matter, and usually what you do your floral arrangements first, and then you do your borders, and then you do your writing last. Some people have a real hard time with doing the writing last they want to do the writing first and work everything else around the writing. Um, I've just always been trained and taught that you do the writing last, so I always leave a space for it. I'm always prepared for it, and the most common thing that we write is happy birthday, right occasionally get to do something else, but usually it's happy birthday, so and so? So you just prepare ahead of time, that that's where it's going to go? And I've made this space ready for that. So I'm going to go ahead and add my borders, and this is where I'm going to go back to my decorating bag, and if you'll remember, I have one that has a tip on it and a couple er, and I'm going to take the tip off. Perhaps so in there, pretty good. This is why we use couplers, and I'm going to use in a star tip, say, a sixteen or seventeen the star tip size that you use is directly proportionate to the size of your cake, so a good example of this is if I'm doing a wedding cake if I'm doing a wedding cake and I'm doing all the shoes example a shell border I'm going to use like a twenty one or twenty two star tip on the bottom tier of the cake because its largest as I go up each tear, I'm going to make my star tips smaller and smaller. One of the biggest indicators that you're an amateur when you're decorating with butter cream are just about any cake is that your border does not fit your cake. You've made the the tip either too small for the cake or you've made it too large for the cake. You see this a lot in store bakeries, they've used a very large tip because it's not because they're amateurs it's because you're trying to fill up a lot of space really fast and they're just they're using a huge tip on a lot of icing it's quicker I see laughter we had a question okay, if you don't mind so this is from the chef's mama and that's where I was I was giggling because we begin a lot of great questions from her is that is that wilton or the other brand? My tips? Yes, my chips have got a different number, so the will number that you'd be looking at would be like a sixteen or seventeen okay yeah, sure and I'd would be I'd be going more towards the seventeen as opposed to the sixteen. The sixteen is going to be too small again my icing a soft and I have a strong hand so I can apply more pressure and get a bigger border with the seventeen star tip than most people so you might even want to be looking at a seventeen eighteen great thank you okay and I'm using wilton's numbers because they're more standard then the p m e numbers yeah pm he's got their own numbering system that's a little wacky ok, so because this is a rectangle or square I'm going to start with the corners and the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to hold my big straight up and down and I'm here in a good spot okay my big's going to be held straight up and down I'm going to apply pressure buildup pressure and then bring it up decide so I cover that edge so even if you messed up on ice in your your cake you khun still cover that, then I'm going to add the shell border which is I'm going to hold my bag at a forty five degree angle from the surface I'm going to apply pressure, apply pressure, apply pressure, bring it down and out as I stopped pressure to create a show, okay then I'm going to come so you've got pressure, pressure pressure come down and out stop pressure your tail should end right in here someplace but you've drug your bag out I'm going to come back just behind that shell apply pressure, apply pressure applied pressure, bring it down and out and pull out pressure so when you're piping, you get this kind of look that it's going like this but your pressure stop pressure, pressure stop pressure, pressure stop pressure. I'm not doing pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure pressure that gives you a weird look. Let me show you what I mean by a weird look had this nice green board that I can show you put my non skid back. Okay, so a shell done properly looks like this pressure. Build it up, pull it down, build it up to pull it down and notice how I start behind that little tale and I'm just barely covering it and it's puffy and full. Okay, now, if we do it incorrectly and we're just doing pressure, we get this look, which doesn't cover much it's kind of floppy and it's not very pretty. Can you guys see the difference? Okay, so too do a shell if we do it right, it can be gorgeous, and then we can really have some fun with because that would take you to perfect those while I practiced you know I've been doing this for so long that when you say how long that I do it I'm like a long time ago yeah and do you sometimes just can you practice on boards and non cakes and then scrape it all up and we use it you can practice on your countertop and you're bench and then scrape it up and do it again okay yeah and practice around a foil covered board or yeah cool and if you've already had a cake decorating class through wilton they gave you a practice border they didn't give it to you bought one yeah those air good don't throw away you can still practice on great thank you ok so let's go ahead and had a shell border my turntable turned so well that I applied pressure and it started to move away from me I got this corner I seen that clean that up pressure bring it up pressure stop pressure pressure stop pressure my theory about borders is is that you learned something learn it well and then do that and then learn to be creative with it so if your specialty is doing stars do it as long as they're all the same there even uniform that's fine but dress it up so it looks nice okay I'm running out of I c now whenever you refill your bag I folded my cuff down refilling it stuff in it full and you'll notice that when I'm holding the decorating I got a I cannot get this tip okay? We'll work with that one I'm gonna pipe back into the big until it burps air bubbles out okay, so now for the top border let's do an e motion border and I'm not talking emotion I'm talking the letter e in the motion okay? And we're talking when we say the letter we were kind of referring to it in cursive writing so if I do e three times and then I pull it out and then I do three upside down ease and pull it out. Three right side, he's pull it out. Three upside down ease! Pull it out! What do you guys think about that? Only did two on that one. Oh, well, I guess I can't talk and pipe at the same time. One, two, three pull it out! One, two, three! Pull it out! Pressure pressure! Pull it out! Stop pressure! Pressure, pressure, pressure! Pull it out! Stop pressure upside down, right side up! If you guys are watching real close, you're seeing my mistakes or you see my mistakes from watching close, then I'm not point him out to you, kate so how's that look who would be my charity, my guests well, the advantage to using a couple of your supposed able to change your tips but I couldn't get my mind off how I got it ok, what I want to do now is I want to add a number to tip head we'll try to get it on better this time so I could take it off and what I'm going to do is I'm going to take there's a reason I had this huge board it's not so I could just have this little cake sitting in the middle of a huge board so what I'm going to do is I'm going to take my number to tip I'm gonna hold it at about a forty five degree angle and I'm going to go zigs egg is glub glub glub and then pull it in so it's quiver quiver quiver, quiver, quiver and then pull it in or zigzag quiver quiver quiver quiver I guess this is where your coffee drinking comes in well quiver and shake is everybody really so quiet that they've fallen asleep working hard, working hard? Ok, so we have a question while you're working away there okay? This is from one of our viewers meg does using a fabric bag versus a plastic disposable bag make a big difference with the flow of the butter cream? Um you have more control with the fabric or the parchment paper you have very little control pressure wise with the disposable bags they have a tendency to stretch and I'm a notorious for whenever I have students and I go over pick up their disposable big and I squeeze that I almost always blow out a bubble on the side they just don't have the same pressure. I, um really prefer wilton featherweight disposable bags or night they're lightweight they're nice they do transmit heat a little mohr than a parchment paper does so if you have really warm hands, you probably want to think about parchment papers um but they just have a better feel to them I there's some other bags that when you're using the buttercream like fat oozes out of them, they get greasy and icky feeling and I don't like them um and I hate to say it and I'll say it out loud that daddy, o's biggs or one of those that do that because I just bought a fat daddy o big thinking who knew bag and who it's awful that daddy o has some other great products, but they're decorating biggs or not one of them, which is hard for me to say because that daddy o is out of washington state they're a local company but and I just had a lump what did I tell you? Lumps or bad? Very bad, so quiver quiver pull it in, ok then at this point, I can call that good, but I want you to see how I can build out that border and make it look larger and more impressive and with the green or the dark colored foil that I had, then you can even see it better if I add a little curbed shell took that in. I have to tell you, um, I started creating really more advanced beautiful borders when I started doing the lace pieces in fondant because we'd create these beautiful cakes with all the lacework on him, and then we're putting on these stupid shell borders, and so I started lacing up my borders in order to go with the lace funding that we were putting on him, and at the same time I broken ankle and so standing on my feet all day was really hard with a broken ankle, so I had a stool that I would sit on and do my borders, so I started playing and sitting longer it's kind of funny what is handed to us and what we do with it and then to complete this because it has to be completed see how pretty that is with that little lacy really look, then let's come in and I'm gonna add a dot we're all those connect just to make it finished and clean and a dog is just like a star pressure, stop pressure, pull it off, pressure, stop pressure, pull it off. If you're applying pressure while you're pulling it off, you're going to get that hershey kiss, little points on it, nothing like a cake, with the points all over little dots, little pearls were prettier. See, if I had my decorating big yesterday, I could have pipe down a little pearl necklace on our hippo that would've been good, fast and easy, although my guess his buttercream witness stuck too well, do that chocolate. It probably would have fallen off.

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

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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.