Mastering Buttercream: Can You Cover a Cake in Buttercream Like a Pro?

Are you ready to take your cake decorating skills to the next level? Mastering the art of covering a cake in buttercream can elevate your baked creations to a professional level. With the right techniques and knowledge, you can achieve a flawless finish that will wow your friends, family, and clients.

In this article, we will delve into the world of buttercream cake decorating, exploring the essential tips and tricks that will help you achieve a smooth and polished look. From preparing the buttercream to applying it seamlessly to the cake, we will guide you through the process step by step. Whether you’re a baking enthusiast looking to improve your skills or a professional baker aiming to enhance your repertoire, mastering buttercream is a valuable skill that will set your cakes apart.

Key Takeaways
Yes, you can cover a cake in buttercream. Start by crumb coating the cake with a thin layer of buttercream to seal in the crumbs, then add a thicker layer of buttercream to achieve a smooth finish. Use a spatula or icing smoother to create a clean and even surface. Buttercream can also be used to pipe decorative designs or patterns onto the cake for a professional finish.

Understanding Buttercream Basics

In order to successfully cover a cake with buttercream like a pro, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of buttercream basics. Buttercream is a versatile and popular frosting made primarily from butter and sugar. The different types of buttercream include American buttercream, Swiss meringue buttercream, Italian meringue buttercream, and French buttercream. Each variation has distinct characteristics and is suitable for different types of cake decorating techniques. It is important to choose the right type of buttercream for the desired cake covering effect, as this will significantly impact the texture and appearance of the finished product.

Understanding the fundamental components of buttercream, such as the ratio of butter to sugar and the additional flavorings and colorings, is crucial for achieving a smooth and consistent application. Additionally, being aware of the ideal temperature for buttercream, as well as proper mixing and preparation techniques, will ensure a successful cake covering experience. By mastering these core buttercream basics, aspiring cake decorators can lay the foundation for creating professional-quality, beautifully covered cakes.

Achieving The Right Consistency

Achieving the right consistency of buttercream is crucial for a flawless cake decorating process. To ensure the perfect consistency, start by creaming the butter until it is smooth and fluffy. Then gradually add the powdered sugar and other liquid ingredients, such as milk or heavy cream, while mixing on low speed. The goal is to achieve a smooth, spreadable texture that holds its shape when piped or spread on a cake.

If the buttercream is too stiff, it will be challenging to spread evenly and may tear the cake. On the other hand, if it’s too soft, the decorations won’t hold their shape. To adjust the consistency, add more liquid if it’s too stiff or more powdered sugar if it’s too soft. It’s essential to make small adjustments at a time to avoid overcompensating and ruining the entire batch of buttercream.

By paying close attention to the consistency of your buttercream, you’ll be on your way to mastering the art of cake decorating with buttercream like a pro. Achieving the right consistency will make the process of covering a cake in buttercream much more manageable and ensure a polished final result.

Preparing The Cake For Buttercream

To ensure a smooth finish when covering a cake with buttercream, it is crucial to properly prepare the cake beforehand. The first step in preparing the cake is to ensure that it is completely cooled before applying the buttercream. A warm cake can cause the buttercream to melt and become difficult to work with. To expedite the cooling process, place the cake in the refrigerator for at least an hour before applying the buttercream.

Next, it is important to level the cake layers to create a flat and even surface for the buttercream. To achieve this, use a long, serrated knife or a cake leveler to trim off any domed or uneven portions of the cake. Once the layers are leveled, brush away any excess crumbs to create a clean surface for the buttercream application.

Lastly, it is beneficial to apply a thin layer of simple syrup or sugar water to the cake layers before adding the buttercream. This simple syrup not only adds moisture to the cake but also helps the buttercream adhere better to the surface, resulting in a more professional-looking finish. By taking these steps to prepare the cake for buttercream, you can ensure a flawless and polished final product that will impress even the most discerning cake connoisseurs.

Applying Buttercream To The Cake

When applying buttercream to a cake, start by placing a dollop of buttercream in the center of the cake board to secure the cake in place. Then, using an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of buttercream on top of the cake to create a base coat. This seals in any crumbs and provides a smooth foundation for the final layer of buttercream.

Next, apply a generous amount of buttercream to the top of the cake, spreading it outwards toward the edges using long, smooth strokes. Once the top is fully covered, work on the sides by applying a thicker layer of buttercream and smoothing it out with a bench scraper or offset spatula. Ensure the sides are even and level for a professional finish.

For a flawless final touch, use a bench scraper to smooth the edges and remove any excess buttercream. This will create sharp, clean lines and give the cake a polished appearance. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if your first few attempts are not as smooth as you’d like. With patience and practice, you can master the art of applying buttercream to a cake like a pro.

Smoothing Techniques

In the world of cake decorating, mastering buttercream smoothing techniques is essential for achieving professional-looking results. One popular method is the Viva paper towel technique, where a piece of Viva paper towel is used to smooth out the buttercream. This technique creates a perfectly smooth finish without leaving any texture behind.

Another popular smoothing technique is the hot bench scraper method, where a bench scraper is heated and then used to smooth the buttercream. This technique results in a super smooth surface, and the heat helps to melt any imperfections, giving the cake a flawless appearance.

Finally, the upside-down frosting method involves starting with a crumb-coated cake, then flipping it over so the smooth bottom becomes the top. This technique allows gravity to help smooth out the buttercream, and can result in a beautifully even and seamless finish. Experimenting with different smoothing techniques can help you find the method that works best for you and your decorating style.

Using Different Piping Tips For Decorative Effects

When it comes to decorating cakes with buttercream, the use of different piping tips can create a wide variety of decorative effects. From intricate floral designs to elegant borders and textural elements, the choice of piping tips plays a crucial role in achieving professional-looking results.

For delicate and fine details, small round or writing tips can be used to create intricate patterns, write messages, or add small embellishments to the cake surface. When aiming for a more elaborate and textured finish, a star tip can effortlessly produce rosettes, stars, shells, and zigzag patterns, adding depth and visual interest to the overall design. Additionally, leaf tips can be utilized to craft lifelike foliage and floral elements, further enhancing the visual appeal of the cake.

By selecting the appropriate piping tip and mastering the technique, decorators can elevate the appearance of their buttercream-covered cakes, bringing creativity and artistry to their creations. Experimenting with different piping tips allows for endless opportunities to personalize and embellish cakes, making each one a unique and visually stunning masterpiece.

Troubleshooting Common Buttercream Issues

In the world of buttercream, issues can arise that can throw a wrench in your cake decorating plans. Common buttercream problems include air bubbles trapped in the icing, grainy or curdled texture, and problems with the consistency, such as being too soft or too stiff. To troubleshoot these issues, be sure to fully incorporate the butter into the frosting and use a paddle attachment when mixing to reduce air bubbles. You can also fix a grainy or curdled texture by warming the buttercream slightly and re-mixing it to smooth out the texture.

Another common problem is color bleeding or fading, particularly when using natural food colorings. This issue can be mitigated by using gel food colors and allowing the frosting to rest after coloring to allow the shade to fully develop. Additionally, if your buttercream is too stiff, you can add a small amount of milk or cream to soften it, while a too-soft buttercream can be adjusted by adding more powdered sugar. By recognizing these common issues and implementing quick solutions, you can ensure a smooth buttercream decorating experience.

Storing And Serving Buttercream-Covered Cakes

After creating a beautiful buttercream-covered cake, it’s essential to know how to properly store and serve it. To store a buttercream-covered cake, it’s best to keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. If the cake has any perishable fillings or toppings, it should be refrigerated. However, it’s important to note that refrigeration can lead to condensation on the buttercream, potentially affecting its appearance. To prevent this, place the cake in an airtight container before refrigerating.

When it comes to serving a buttercream-covered cake, it’s best to let it come to room temperature before serving. This allows the buttercream to soften, making it easier to cut and enjoy. Additionally, if the cake has been refrigerated, allowing it to sit at room temperature for a couple of hours will help it regain its optimal texture and flavor. For serving, ensure that you have a sharp knife to cut through the buttercream smoothly and present each slice beautifully.

Properly storing and serving a buttercream-covered cake will ensure that it maintains its taste and appearance, allowing you to impress your guests with a professionally presented dessert.


In mastering the art of covering a cake in buttercream, it’s evident that with the right techniques and practice, anyone can achieve professional-looking results. From understanding the importance of achieving the right consistency to utilizing proper tools and methods, the journey to proficiency with buttercream cake covering is both rewarding and achievable. With the knowledge gained from this article, individuals can confidently approach their cake decorating endeavors, armed with the skills and tips necessary to create beautifully covered buttercream cakes that rival those of professional bakers.

By embracing the techniques and principles outlined in this article, enthusiasts and aspiring bakers have the opportunity to elevate their cake decorating skills, impressing their friends, family, and clients with stunning buttercream-covered creations. With dedication and perseverance, the goal of mastering the art of buttercream cake covering is well within reach, inspiring a newfound confidence and creativity in the world of baking and confectionery.

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