How to Smooth a Firm Buttercream Cake


Need help smoothing a buttercream cake? Start with a chilled cake that is already covered in buttercream, smooth-ish is fine, not perfect. Then use your room temperature frosting to fill in mistakes. Pass over the mistakes, scrape it smooth, and finish touch ups. Because the cake is firm you can apply decent pressure and scrape and fill with ease.

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A little extra detail from my baking group


Day 1 (Saturday): fondant with tylose for all decor. Left to set for 4 days.

Day 2 (Sunday): I don't work Sundays

Day 3 (Monday): baked cakes, cooled, frosted. All was done after my day job and was up until 11 pm and walked away when I was dissatisfied (because at that point there was no improving with a very tired brain).

Day 4 (Tuesday): fixed the buttercream/decor. Took photos. Triaged the pretzel, then delivered.

3 Tips to Save on Baking Supplies


Who is stocking up? Here are 3 tips for your shopping trip!

Buying a lot of supplies can save money, but if you don't use it quickly it can go bad (yes even pantry items). Check you expiration dates! Buying a ton just to have it go bad is a bummer.

Similarly, best-by dates can be tricky as well, especially with leavening agents (yeast, baking powder, baking soda) and anything with oil (shortening, baking chips, etc). The taste and effectiveness can decrease over time and those items from last Christmas' stock up are *likely* bad now.

Check your unit prices! Sometimes buying a 20lb bag or grabbing a "special" can cost more per unit (ounce, gram, etc) than a smaller size or competing brand from the advertised special. Where I live it was cheaper to buy powdered sugar in 1 lb boxes instead of 2 lb bags. Check to see if the bulk or special pricing really is the best deal.

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How to Make White Buttercream


Whip your butter to make it pale, JUST the butter. Slowly add in your powdered sugar and liquid as needed. Use the smallest dab of PURPLE dye to balance the yellow, mix, then reevaluate if more is needed. Start with very little purple, you can always add more. But too much purple being added can't be saved. You can use shortening but these tips are for making white BUTTERcream #teambutter

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How to Deal with Negative Feedback at Your Bakery


How do we deal with it? If you need specific advice, email us. But here are some tips

Don't react right away. Cool off, process the information factually, then respond.

Understand you cannot please everyone, we are all unique and have our personal tastes and preferences.

Do NOT have friends/strangers come flood your business pages with positive recommendations if they've never had anything from you. Loads of 5 reviews with no content to support it is a red flag to potential customers. You'd rather show how positively you handled a negative review/feedback than empty 5 star review. THIS IS TOUGH

Use it as a chance to learn and grow. Was there anything to the feedback that could help you improve? Troubleshoot or ask for help so that it won't happen again (customer said the cake below was dry, I used it to improve my recipe and watch my bake times as I thought I might have overbaked it then left it instead of using simple syrup to save it).

It is hard to be yelled at, told something sucks or was disappointing, receive negative/low reviews, watch something collapse/melt or otherwise "fail". Don't let it break you, let it help make you better and prove the "haters" wrong by making items so outstanding that they'll want to come back and try again. Even if it is your 6 year old.

Tips for Perfect American Buttercream Consistency


The butter:sugar ratio is 1:2 in WEIGHT not volume. This is the only thing that I use weight over volume as an American imperial baker. 2 sticks is 1/2 lb; 4 sticks is 1 lb, powdered sugar comes in 1 and 2 lb packages so that part is fairly easy. If you're already a metric baker this part is easy for you.

Liquid is as needed in order of extract then your milk/cream/water. I prefer water. It is as needed and can change from day to day and design. Start with a little, mix, assess, repeat if needed.

I never have 1 batch that is all the same consistency as I want it thinner (not tub soft though) to fill and crumb coat and decor/piping to be medium or stiff depending on what it is.

Another major common error is people say to add more powdered sugar when it's too thin. No. Prevent "too thin" with less liquid to begin with otherwise your frosting gets too sweet by adding more sugar.

What about keeping it SMOOTH? You can sift your powdered sugar if needed, especially if it is humid. Mixing it on high (i.e. whipping) or for too long causes air bubbles, this causes it to become rough. Mix on low until smooth, no need to mix on high or do the "walk away".

How to save over-mixed frosting: use a rubber spatula to work out the excess air.

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3 Tips for Smooth Buttercream Cakes

One of the MOST COMMON questions and requests I see is how to get smooth buttercream on a cake.

I have a video going over three methods of smoothing, linked here, but it essentially comes down to the first 2 tips on getting it smooth and the 3rd for small areas and touch up.

How long is "too long" for American Buttercream or other powdered sugar frostings? After loosening my butter I slowly add in my powdered sugar and gently pulse it until combined, adding in my extract and any needed liquid between additions. So, let's say 5 minutes total of actual mixing, max.

>>We've talked a lot about whipping, it's place/purpose, and how to use that technique so for the purpose of *smooth* buttercream for a cake, I'll just add that this isn't the place for whipping it to death, doing the "walk away" or whipping to end up smoothing it takes a lot more time than preventing the air in the first place.

Ok, yes, just a metal bench scraper or offset spatula can get you far. Learning to use these and mastering the single turn with your turntable is a very valuable skill and the other methods are secondary. The hot scraper method and paper towel method also work, again if you can master the skill you don't need the other methods or you can at least use them as needed.

Icing already frosted and chilled cakes is not something we have talked about in depth, but essentially when your buttercream is firm and maybe you have a bubble to fill or edge to sharpen, using fresh buttercream over the firm buttercream, then scraping it, allows the base frosting to maintain its shape while just holding on to the areas that were fixed.

I will have another post for cupcakes, but for now, happy baking! Questions? Email us at

How to Freeze Baked Goods


Does anyone here freeze their baked goods prior to delivery?

Freezing, when done properly, can actually IMPROVE the texture and moisture of a baked good.

If you need to freeze, cool then wrap your item so that it is airtight, but also thaw it wrapped as well (freezer to fridge to room temp) as pictured on the left.

I pulled this box out of the freezer today, let all of the condensation collect on the outside, once dry I unwrapped and had a perfectly dry box and delicious cupcakes!

TIPS: I personally like to keep everything unfrosted, even if boxed, and do decor once it thaws. Keep it in a freezer that won't be opened/closed a lot, even well wrapped it can cause freezer burn, especially if boxed (like this) where air still exists internally versus the wrap against the actual surface of the baked good. This is truest for longterm (weeks) vs short term (days). If the items are unfrosted and the wrap is against the surface, it will better preserve the flavor and integrity of the item.

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Hot Scraper Method for Smoothing Buttercream


Sounds fool-proof, right?

Can it help? Yes

Can it make things worse? YES

The hot scraper is really good in 2 conditions, first being an uncolored buttercream or in an experienced hand that can do one single, even, smoothing pass.

Here's what happens...the heat will intensify the dye in spots and you will end up with a splotchy colored cake which is a new problem to solve with smoothing.

If you currently cannot do a single pass with your scraper to get smooth edges, I would recommend practicing on a non-customer cake to get a handle on the single pass and then heat aspect.

If you haven't seen the smoothing demo posted here, watch it. Yes, it's long. But it is 100% real time and THREE different ways to smooth a cake, because #REALLIFE. I also show the color distortion if it is done unevenly or in sections. The heat will melt areas, darken areas, all while "smoothing".

Practice without heat, then add heat when comfortable because it is still a great way to get smooth sides, just don't feel like it's the only way. Questions? Email us at

Best Cookie Tools for Beginners

Our beginner cookie tool list!! As beginner's we don't need 900 tools to start. It's easy to grab 200 piece kits then feel overwhelmed by it all. As we advance we learn a lot about what we really need and love but to start, here is what we have come up with for beginners and cookie making

Good sheet pans! You want them sturdy and light metal, not coated or dark. Grab the proper size and giddy up! (these are the kind I love)

Silicone baking mats are a life saver, they buffer the heat for a more even bake job, prevent burning, and are non-stick.

Doing drop cookies? A scoop is your best friend for even sized cookies. If you don't want/need different sizes, pick the one you'll use the most. I typically have 2 sizes on hand.

Doing rolled cookies? While I prefer metal vs wood, this is a good one if you're new to getting even thickness when rolling. There are other options, they just come with a ton of extra "stuff" that isn't essential

Macarons? I am that sucker that can't get even sizes without a guide, hats off to everyone that can. This first option is just a marked set and this option is actually with a lip so they can't over fill

Another favorite for royal icing, this mix is the best I I even have my mom ship it to me from the States, that's how awesome it is.

The perfect cooling racks, trust me you'll want the stackable set to save space and cool a lot at once, I have been using these for years.

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Best Cupcake Tools for Beginners

Oooh cupcakes. Again these are beginner tools you will >actually< use. While there are Amazon links, you can screenshot the list and head to your local supply shop and find these items as well (if you click on the #bakingtools at the bottom of the post you can see all of our tool lists)

Cupcake Pans: 1 is crucial, 2 is convenient. I prefer lighter metal if you can find it.

Batter scoop: perfect size every time, no more wonky cupcakes or overflowing messes. This is a 3pk that will work for cookies as well, I use the medium for cupcakes (granted mine was from Restaurant Depot, another great place for supplies).

My favorite liners, pros: cupcakes don't stick to them, eco-conscious, chemical free. Cons: they're brown

Large piping tips: they provide the right proportions vs smaller tips and are what you classically see on cupcakes. These 4 tips will get you very far (plus they come with Wilton piping bags which are great)

Piping bags: I buy Ateco bags because 1. they're great quality and 2. I can get them in bulk at an awesome price. Wilton and Hobby Lobby brand (Sunshine Bakery) also are great piping bags. No bursting and come in a lot of sizes, 99% of the time I use 12" bags.

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Mother Batter FAQ's

Remember here ( where we talked about mother batters? My newest video (fb business page or IG reel) shows dividing and flavoring from the same batch.

Can you divide >any< mother batter, flavor halves, and have success? Almost! Again, finicky desserts cannot always be divided and mixed separately without risking over mixing (macarons for example which relies on a very delicate ingredient mixture combination). For a delicate dessert you can still use your mother batter but may not be able to divide and split flavors, you may need multiple batches. Test it out, lemme know how it goes for you. My success in that arena has been hit or miss, especially with macarons.

Can muffins, cakes, cupcakes, cookie doughs, or brownies be done? YES! These are some of the easiest to do!

How? Get to your final step of combining ingredients; once combined divide and add in your flavor additions or dyes. The video shows from this step onward.

This dough was divided in to lemon white chocolate chunk and double chocolate chip

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Best Cake Tools for Beginners

Team Simple over here to highlight how much you DON'T need for successful baking.

While gadgets can be fun or helpful, many are superfluous, take up space, never get used, are bandaids for baking technique issues, or are a waste of money. absolute bare minimum list of items you will USE and NEED for baking cakes. Useful items I use every time I bake a cake.

I will make a post of fun-to-have items, tools for more advanced work, etc soon

Turntable set (I have this exact set, the table is a dream and the scrapers are awesome)

Offset spatula

Piping Set (these tips you will use. Don't waste money on massive sets because you need a portion of them)

Cake boards (use a board the next size up for your base, if going 2 tiers use a cake drum)

Cake pans (start with a couple of sizes that you know you'll use, like 6" and 8" round pans and a sheet cake pan; starting out it is unlikely you'll need more sizes to begin with)

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How to Create Stable Buttercream in Heat and Humidity

Here is an older video of mine, but let's talk about heat/humidity and frosting.

Can 100% butter buttercream survive heat? Yes!

Can it survive for a 3 hour event in 95 degree weather and/or at 100% humidity with no support? No!

If you want it to survive, and you have the ability to do the following, then you can use all butter and skip the shortening #teambutter.

In the video I outline (and want to expand on here)

Use LESS to NO liquid in your frosting, i.e. water, milk, cream, etc. The added heat is already loosening the butter and the humidity could be adding small amounts of moisture. You want stability and added liquid can ruin that.

Keep whatever you're serving in the fridge (and completely chilled for at least 2 hours) prior to service. This gives you more time on the outdoor clock as it is chilled and will take longer to warm up. As soon as it is brought out, 60 minutes is your deadline to service. For clients, advise/warn about this. If something goes wrong and you never warned them, it's on you. If they ignored your directions, it's on them (also contracts but that is a separate story).

Structure!!! If you have a cake outside in the heat/humidity it needs proper support. This is what helps *prevent not avoid* total collapse from the heat. If it is balanced, stable, and supported the weight should fall exactly down (gravity) and not to a side and your supports hold it in place. At some point ANY frosting will melt and it will no longer be beautiful but it will still be standing.

I did a 2 tier lopsided (or like wonky?) cake, proper support, in 90+ degree heat for an hour, all butter, no collapse/melting/issues because of the 3 tips above.

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Mother Batters and Baking

Let's talk baking and simplicity, not an oxymoron, I promise.

I am VERY much #teamsimple and this evolves per project but saves me a lot of time and resources.

Here is a HUGE trick that will make things simple on us as bakers. You do NOT need a different recipe for every flavor of what you want to bake. This is a giant lie that leads to mess ups, constant recipe searching, a million recipes and ingredients to juggle, and a LOT of overwhelm.

So, what do we do? MOTHER BATTERS MY FRIENDS. A mother batter will save you and is used so much. If you have an amazing vanilla/plain batter recipe, it is easier to manipulate and add to it than find 20 different recipes.

Example: in my cookbook I have a cookie dough mother batter that can be chocolate chip cookies, add nuts and caramel for Turtle cookies, take it all out and add white chocolate and lemon extract for lemon drop cookies...want Andes mints in them? Go for it!

A simple change (or addition) in extract is the first step. Then change the mix-ins.

Moment of truth: my cookbook only has 4 original cake recipes, the rest are all manipulated and changed from a mother batter.

Caution: there are some finicky recipes that struggle with being split and modified (which is a little bit different than a simple manipulation but I wanted to address it here first). Think macarons. It IS possible but has to be done so gently if you want to divide and reflavor within a same batch for multiple flavors as I will share later.

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