How To Smooth Buttercream Icing

I learned a really great tip this week. I learned how to get my buttercream frosting smooth - so smooth that it gives fondant a run for its money.  Almost. Smile

What is the trick you say?


Yes, you heard me right. Viva – as in the paper towel. It has to be a smooth, pattern-free paper towel like Viva.

Here’s the plan:

1. Give your cake a crumb coat, then a final coat. Smooth the icing as best you can with a knife or spatula.

2. Now leave it alone for 15 minutes. This will give your frosting time to crust. You want crust. Smile You should be able to touch the icing without any coming off on your finger.

3. Take a clean Viva paper towel and place it over the top of your cake.  Now either use a fondant smoother, or the palm of your hand to GENTLY glide over the paper towel – smoothing the surface of the cake. This is the same concept as placing a towel over a delicate garment to iron it. You are basically ironing the wrinkles out of your frostingSmile

Move the paper towel to the sides of the cake, and use the same method to glide over the paper towel and smooth the icing out. You may need to slightly angle your fondant smoother at times, to properly get all the creases out.  Remember to be gentle, you don’t want to move the icing around, just barely smooth the surface.  Work on one small area at a time, smoothing until your surface is perfect – or almost perfect.  I used the method on this birthday cake that I made for a friend this week. I didn’t worry about getting the icing on my cake super perfect, but it’s almost there.

I really like this technique, and I love how I can achieve a smooth, fondant-like surface, while keeping the taste of buttercream.  The best of both worlds!

Here is a great video tutorial to show you the method.

Enjoy, and have a great holiday weekend!




Lora said...

What a great tip. Love this! Thanks.

Valerie (Love through the stomach...) said...

That's a great tip. I like the taste of fondant (or at least, the taste of the specific fondant I use) so I don't mind using fondant, but it's nice to be able to make a change now and again!

Belinda @zomppa said...

Viva this cake!! This is awesome, incredible. You are freakin' talented!

Anonymous said...

this is absolutely super!!! great tip thanks for sharing!

Torviewtoronto said...

very creative and beautifully done your friend must have been very happy
I thought it was fondant thank you for the tip

Haley said...

That's very similar to the why that I do it. I learned from a Wilton instructor to do the same thing but use parchment paper and it works well too!

C&C Cakery said...

I've heard about this before - but never about the part with the pattern-free paper towel. No wonder it never worked out for me! Thank you so much for the directions (and the video!)

Kate@Diethood said...

Oh my goodness, that cake!! I want one!! :-)

Thank you for sharing that tip with us, Amber. Have a great holiday weekend!

Athena said...

I learned this trick several years ago and it works like a charm. It also works with white printer paper, but it doesn't mold as well as the paper towel.

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Amber, your cake is fabulous! You sure know what you're doing :) Thanks for the tips...hope to a fondant topped cake one day~

sara @ CaffeIna said...

This is a great tip, above all for somebody like me who is not really a great cake decorator :)
Oh and the cake is really cute!

Jocie's Mom said...

Excellent info! Thanks so much for sharing :)

Unknown said...

What fantastic timing! Dudette wants a Spiderman cake for her birthday this week so this helps a LOT. Many thanks for the fantastic tip.

(That Cars cake is amazing.)

Sandra said...

Great looking cake, and little one just looking at it and saying woww mom, woww I want that!:))
Great tips, thanks for sharing and have a wonderful weekend!

Betty @ scrambled henfruit said...

Thanks for the tip. :) Your cake is adorable!

All That's Left Are The Crumbs said...

I pretty much have not ironed many things since I moved here. I hope I haven't lost my touch since I can't wait to try our this technique. Thanks!

Becky said...

Thanks for the great tip. I will have to try it. Your Cars cake is amazing! Bet your little one really liked it.

Claire @ Claire K Creations said...

It's so perfect. I can't wait to give it a go on my next cake.

Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie said...

Great tip! I always wondered how to get smooth buttercream icing. And great looking cake by the way!

Char said...

I will take some of that delicious looking cake11

Muriel Miller said...

What a great cake! How cute!!!! Definitely bookmarking this tip!

kita said...

Great tutorial! Thank you for the post.

Kneady Sweetie said...

So cute! What a great cake. That is such a great idea! Thanks for the tip

Carina said...

I am always looking for baking tips - and this one is fantastic!! thanks for sharing - AND your cake looks wonderful!!

Unknown said...

Great tip! I use parchment paper, but I'm so often out that these would be a great substitute! I love your site, absolutely adorable. You have a new follower in me!~Megan

Natalie said...

awesome post--bookmarking this for the next time I make a cake! Thanks!!

The Cilantropist said...

Wow this is totally brilliant! I can't believe I have never heard this before, but you can bet I will be trying this on my next cake!

Anonymous said...

Another trick for smoothing buttercream is parchment paper.

Anonymous said...

The cake looks great, I was wondering what time of buttercream frosting(brand) or is this homemade buttercream frosting? Thanks-Jen K

Unknown said...

Hi! This is a homemade frosting. For this technique to work properly you need to use a crusting buttercream recipe. I've misplaced mine, but if you do a web search for crusting buttercream you should find one that works well. :) Hope this helps. Amber/Sprinkled With Flour

Shelby said...

Can I ask what size cake pans you used and how many people this cake served!? I'm looking to make a cake about this size and I have NO idea what size cake pans to buy! Thanks :)

Shelby said...

Can I ask what size cake pans you used and how many people this cake served!? I'm looking to make a cake about this size and I have NO idea what size cake pans to buy! Thanks :)

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