In this tutorial, I show you how to get a clean buttercream finish and how to make buttercream flowers. I’ll also include affiliate links for the products I use.
First things first, buttercream.
To make a good buttercream flower cake, you need a good buttercream.
I split my cake with a cake leveller so that I had four even layers and sandwiched them together with buttercream.
Then I added my first crumb coat by spreading buttercream over my cake using a cranked palette knife.
I started on the sides and concentrated on filling any gaps and making a good foundation.
After this, I moved to the top of the cake and covered that in the same way.
There will be excess over the edge of the top of the cake, this can be cleaned by smoothing around the circumference of your cake with a cranked palette knife.
In turn, this will push some buttercream onto the top of the cake. Gently draw this buttercream in towards the centre of the top of the cake to blend it with the rest of the buttercream.
This should leave you with the start of a nice, crisp edge.
At this stage, chill your cake in the freezer for 10-15 minutes until the buttercream has set firm.
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Once your buttercream has chilled and firmed up, you can work on your coat that will be your final finish (unless you think you need another layer in between, in which case repeat the previous steps).
For my buttercream flower cake, I wanted a pastel-like watercolour finish.
You could use this same method to make a marble buttercream cake and an ombré buttercream cake too.
I coloured some of my buttercream a pink colour using Americolor gel and added it to a piping bag.
I also put some plain buttercream in a piping bag.
With my cake on a turntable, I piped lines of buttercream around my cake until it was covered.
I then took my cranked palette knife and began smoothing the buttercream around the sides of the cake.
It’s important here to remove the excess buttercream (I used a spare bowl so I could use it later for the flowers).
You should also keep the palette knife clean by wiping it with some tissue.
Work around the cake until the excess buttercream is gone and the finish is fairly even. You can use a side scraper if you wish to.
If you would like a more marbled finish, don’t wipe the palette knife during the final ‘tidying’.
For mine, I spread some pink into the white and some white into the pink so there were subtle hints of colour coming through.
To get a very smooth-looking buttercream finish, I used Cake Cloths.
They are a new product that I bought out of curiosity, having not really made a huge number of all-buttercream cakes before.
They remind me of kitchen roll but they are definitely more ‘cloth’ like.
You peel a sheet from the roll and press it onto your dried buttercream.
By ‘dried’, I mean left to crust for 10 minutes after it’s been applied. If you don’t wait for this to happen, it will pull at the soft buttercream and leave it looking rough.
If your buttercream has had time to crust, you can press a Cake Cloth onto it and rub over with your fingers to polish out any bumpy sections of buttercream.
When the Cake Cloth is peeled away, the buttercream has a much smoother and more polished finish.
You can work around your cake smoothing over the sides and the top of the cake.
To get the very bottom edge of my cake, I lifted the cake up with one hand and smoothed the Cake Cloth on with the other.
You could also do this by moving your cake so one side of it is hanging slightly over the edge of a work surface. This way you’ll be able to reach right to the base.
To make buttercream flowers, it is a big help to have a flower nail.
You will then need some squares of greaseproof, baking parchment, or wax paper to attach to the flower nail with some blue tack.
For the simple, flat style of flower, you need to hold the nozzle so the narrow end is towards the centre of the flower nail, start piping and move the nozzle in a loop back to the middle.
You then need to repeat this process, whilst spinning the flower nail, until you have reached the start of your flower.
This may be 5 or 6 petals.
For the bigger, more ruffley flowers, I piped a blob of buttercream on my parchment squares and left them in the freezer to solidify.
I then held the nozzle so the wide end was at the base and the narrow end was at the top.
I piped in an upward curve motion across the top of the buttercream blob.
Then I repeated this, overlapping what I’d just piped.
I then did this a third time, overlapping what I’d just piped and the curve I piped first.
This should cover the middle of your starting blob so you can’t see it anymore.
I then worked my way around the centre, repeating the curve piping and getting a little lower for the next layer.
For the third layer, I wanted to open my flower out so I angled my nozzle outwards a bit more.
As I got to the base, I concentrated on how it looked from the top and evened out the shape, piping wherever I felt needed filling out.
Put the flowers in the freezer until they set completely.
Once the flowers had set, I peeled them away from the parchment squares really easily. You could also use a mini palette knife to do this.
Use a blob of buttercream to attach each flower to the cake.
The grooves on the nozzle should be to the side of the nozzle, not up and down.
You can add in leaves to your buttercream flower cake wherever you think they look best.
If you have a go at a buttercream cake, use #yesdarling on Instagram so I can see 🙂