Hi everyone! I've got another tutorial :) This is another request I've gotten a few times, how do I smooth my buttercream. There are loads of tutorials and instructions for smoothing American Buttercream, with the "Viva Paper Towel" method probably the most common... that's the method I use when I have to use American Buttercream. But, as much as I researched when I started working with Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC), I haven't seen many demonstrations on smoothing it... so I thought I would make a video showing my technique.
One of the most common techniques you will read about is the "Hot Knife" method. The idea is you dip a spatula in hot water and dry it off. The heat from the spatula melts the butter in your buttercream and leaves a smooth surface. It works, that is the technique I used when I started... However, if you are not covering your cake with fondant you will see the discolored streaky-ness this method creates. Which is why, you will also read a lot of complaints about this method.
Another method, that I've found intriguing, but have not tried is called the "Upside Down" method. With this technique you spread an even layer of buttercream on a piece of parchment, then place your cake upside down on the parchment and ice the sides as usual and after you smooth the sides, invert the cake, you are left with sharp corners and a smooth surface.... I just don't have a lot of trouble getting the sharp corners and it seems like a few extra steps...
So, the way I smooth my cakes, is to simply scrape the cold and hardened buttercream with my offset spatula and bench scraper. Kind of just "shaving" off the imperfections, I do not use a hot knife, spatula or bench scraper. By working quickly and keeping the cake cold you can avoid any discoloration! Plus, you get the same, or better, results without the few extra, unnecessary steps. While I am using SMBC, this method should also work with any non-crusting, butter based buttercream, as long as it sets hard in the fridge.
So, here is a demonstration of how I ice and smooth my cakes!
I hope you find it helpful :) You can find the Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe that I use here.
Happy Caking :)