Anyone who has attended a baking course in college would know that assembling and frosting a buttercream cake is one of the basic skills a baker is supposed to master. For those who are just learning to use buttercream in their cake recipes, it’s important you do this the right way. There are different varieties of buttercream frosting & buttercream icing such as:

  • Meringue Based Buttercream – Italian Buttercream and Swiss Meringue
  • Yolk Based Buttercream – Also called French buttercream or Pâte á bombe
  • Butter Based Buttercream – This is butter & powdered sugar that could be incorporated with melted chocolate, cream cheese etc
  • Shortening Base Buttercream – This is also referred to as decorator’s buttercream/icing. It’s largely used for the final embellishments such as flowers, edging and piping borders etc

Tips to Getting the Icing Right

Now that we know what the different types of buttercream are, here are some tips to getting your buttercream icing right on a tiered wedding cake.

Supplies you will need

  • Iced cake tiers of buttercream (well chilled)
  • Scissors/dowel cutter
  • Dowels
  • Straight icing spatula
  • Offset spatula
  • Bench scraper
  • Piping bag that’s fitted with a small rounded tip
  • Turntable
  • Extra buttercream

The Process

Step 1

  1. First insert the dowels right into the lowest tier of the cake where the 2nd tier is to be placed
  2. Trim the dowels with the dowel cutter/scissors – they should be levelled with the cake’s surface
  3. Now pipe a few blobs of your buttercream all over the dowel tops
  4. Use the offset spatula to smooth them over

Step 2

  1. With the offset spatula, pick up & steady the uppermost tier of the cake
  2. Now carefully centre the smaller cake properly over the cake below it ( that has been doweled)
  3. Drop the cake gently right into the dowels, even as you pull your spatula & fingers out of the way
  4. Using the offset spatula, move the cake if it needs to centred again

Step 3

  1. Now cut another dowel; this one should be around ½ inch shorter than the height of the entire cake
  2. That dowel should now be pushed down right through the centre of the cake
  3. Tap gently on the dowel – it has to pierce the board that’s supporting the topmost tier, and runs right down into the bottom tier
  4. Continue pushing the dowel till it finally reaches the bottom tier’s base
  5. Pipe a large dollop of buttercream all over the hole the dowel created and use an icing spatula to smooth it

Step 4

  1. Unless you are very practiced in this process, chances are that there will be a few spaces where your fingers will have dinged the buttercream. At times you may find some space where the board that supports the top tier is exposed
  2. You can pipe some buttercream all along the base of that tier, to neaten up the appearance of the cake
  3. Using the bench scraper, smooth the line over and fill in all the spaces and dents

A Matter of Practice

If you follow these steps carefully, you will have a smooth, clean surface to create the stunning designs you want on a tiered wedding cake. Like any other baking process, frosting/icing a cake with buttercream will take a good amount of practice. If you are planning on turning baking into a commercial venture, getting this skill right would be a basic requirement as you may have clients coming in with requests for a buttercream cake.

We at Ganache Patisserie offer a large variety of stunning wedding cakes with buttercream frosting as well as other exotic wedding cakes. If you have any questions about wedding cakes, feel free to call us at (02) 9967 2882 or you may also use this online form.

Thanks for reading,
Ganache Patisserie
(02) 9967 2882