Thursday, October 6, 2011

Basic Buttercream Class

Hello Sugar Friends!

A couple of months ago my BFF, right arm, crazy talented cake artist, and all around superwoman, Wendy, hosted a  basic buttercream class at her shop. It was a wild two days of flying powdered sugar, flinging icing, bench scrapering, smoothing, and all around good clean fun.  I would love to share some photos with you of this rip roaring event!

(You can click on the photos to view them larger)

Here are all the stations set up and the eager students ready to hang on my every word. OK, maybe not that last part, but they were ready to get started.

First we learned how to make smooth as silk and totally airless icing in both the 5 quart and 6 quart mixer.

Here is the mixer beating the 5 quart bowl full of icing into airless submission.

Take a look at THAT! Not. One. Air. Bubble.

Next Wendy showed us how to make a big ole batch in the 6 quart mixer.

Serious students scribing scintillating synopses.

(OK, I admit I had to use the thesaurus for that one.)

Each student then went back to their stations to make their own batch of icing. You have to do it to really get the feel for it.

Then it was time to fill the cakes.

Here is a student's filled cake waiting to be iced. No cake dummies in our classes; always real cake!

Pipe the dam.

Fill 'er up.

Ice that puppy.

Work that top edge.

Students' turn!

Melissa's finished cake. Wowee girl!

Day two. Oh yay, we get to ice square cakes now! And first thing in the morning, too. Whose bright idea was that? Oh yeah, mine.

Ice the sides.

Smooth with bench scraper.

Make those corners so sharp you have to register them as a lethal weapon.

Scrape, scrape, scrape.

Never saw a camera lens I do not like.

My finished demo cake.

Beautiful Donna working her magic.

Bridgette getting her smooth on.

Nikole admiring her kick butt corners.

Deneise is workin' it baby!

Wendy, Melissa, and me.

Wendy, Mimi, and me. No, I am not pregnant despite how this photo looks.

Mitzi in the smoothing zone.

Candi. The most perfectionist student I have ever had. And her work shows it.

Lovely Dee.

Mattie is as sweet as her cakes.

This is Kim. She is my number one student. She has attended every single local class I have given since the beginning of the universe. She is a total sweetie and a fabulous cake artist as well.

Here is me pretending to show the talented Myrtis something important. No really, it was important. Whatever it was.

This is the only picture I have of Heather. Sorry Heather. Heather looks like Leah Remini. Gorgeous.

Leticia making her icing.

This is Lauri. She was at the buttercream class, but I don't have a photo of her. So I used this one from the topsy turvy class instead :)

Oh yeah, we have fun. And lots of it!

Melissa's square cake. Ouch!

As if all of that was not enough, we then did a little lagniappe. (Bonus stuff.) Some good old fashioned piping.

And stenciling on buttercream. Yes, red on white buttercream! Do not fear.

Wait for it.....

Wait for it.......

Ta dah!!

And a few lagniappe things on the round cake as well. Impression mats, some airbrushing and my custom top border.

So that was it! Two jam packed days full of buttercream fun. We were pooped but happy.

And then......

(Cue the Jaws music)

da  nutt 

da nutt

da nutt   da nutt     da nutt



OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The dreaded blow out! Ruined my cake!!

Heck no, I was not going to let a blow out ruin my cake! And this was a great opportunity to show the students how to repair one. The reason why I got this blow out was because I  had iced my cake the day before right after I unwrapped it from plastic wrap. I did not take the time to let the condensation dry off the sides. Moisture is a main factor in the development of blow outs. So let's fix it.

Take your exacto knife or palette knife and surgically remove the blown out icing.

As you start to cut it away, you will be able to see in there where the icing is no longer touching the sides of the cake. Keep carving all of that away until you get the entire area of non adhered icing off the cake. Then let that air dry out for 20-30 minutes in the A/C.

Lawsy that sucker was big!

Then I fill in the opening by piping buttercream in with a large round tip or the open coupler. (not shown).

Then gently smooth that out with a hot palette knife or small spatula.

Let the patch crust well, and then come back with a small piece of smooth food safe paper, and smooth it with your spatula or palette knife over the paper, only over the patch. Do not put pressure on the rest of the impressed pattern. Then let it crust for a while longer before you finish the impression.

It is hard to see in this photo, but I have  a small portion of an impression mat in my hands. (I have an extra mat or two that I cut  up for this purpose.) Match up the pattern and then impress the patch. Just be careful, and you will have a seamless matching of the pattern.

Then I piped  the missing little crosses on the sides.



You can do it!!

And they all lived happily ever after in buttercream land. 

You can learn all of these buttercream smoothing techniques and more in the   Perfecting the Art of Buttercream DVD.

You can learn how to make airlessly smooth 
icing in the Back to Basics DVD.  

Happy caking!


Nikole said...

LOVE IT!! And your classes! Wendy is the best hostess!! Hope to visit you ladies again soon!! <3 Nikole

Melissa Brown said...

Y'all are the best decorators, teachers, and all around ladies I know. I am so lucky to be driving distance of your classes. :-)

Thanks to both of you for helping me better my skills! :-)

Leticia Canizaro said...

Words cannot describe how amazing this class was. Sharon and Wendy are the best instructors!!! I realized I was doing everything the hard way...and I made great cake friends along the way too! Thanks so much! It was a blast!!!

rosebud said...

I live in the Philippines, now. so sad cannot I can not attend these kind of classes. Can anyone share with me some manuals, recipe of buttercream and some techniques?

Rosalie Leavitt

SugarEd Productions said...

Rosebud, you can go to for a lot of instruction. We also have a lot of tutorials on this blog as well.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon. I live in Lake Charles, and would LOVE to attend a class!! When and where is your next class?
Thanks, Jessica

Anonymous said...

Have just read this blog entry. Brought a wide smile to my face. Love your writing ... witty and hilarious! I live in London. Do you think you'll ever come this way and give classes?

Still trying to be more organised and find the time to sit down and order your dvd's. I think you're one great lady!


Angie said...

Do you plan to offer classes this fall/winter? I'm in the DFW area and would love to take one of your classes. I own one of your DVDs too!

Widalys said...

Hi. I love you blog and your DVD's. I just received the Buttercrean, flawless fondant, Succesful Stacking and Boxes and Bows DVD's: they are amazing! Your kitchen is a dream!!!!!!!! I am from Puerto Rico and here we do not fill our cakes very often (don't know why) but I prefer taller cakes. So should I do two layers and fill them up or use 4" pans???? I usually use 4" pans but maybe the other way is easier. Really hoping for your expert opinion :-)

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