Hi everyone! It's been a while. Today, I'm going to halt on talking about the business side and actually give some tips for cake decorating - specifically on how I get a smooth buttercream cake. I struggled with getting a smooth cake for a long time. My cakes were super inconsistent in terms of the buttercream finish, and I do not do fondant covered cakes, so there was no where to hide haha! Throughout my years of decorating cakes at home and in a professional kitchen, this is what I have compiled.
Tip 1: Type of Buttercream
I swear by Swiss meringue buttercream. I have tried American buttercream before as well as Italian meringue buttercream, and I have just gotten the best results with Swiss meringue buttercream. A plus is that it's not a super sweet buttercream either, hence my nickname "Queen of not-too-sweet". It's super easy to make and uses minimal dishes in my opinion, so give it a try!
Tip 2: Freshly Whipped
It's always best to use buttercream when its freshly whipped. If your buttercream has been sitting in the bowl for a while, give it a quick whip to vamp it up again. I find that this decreases the air bubbles when using the scraper along the cake. Now, as for the discussion between paddle or whisk attachment... I always use the whisk attachment. I don't find much of a difference between the attachments, so I just stick with the whisk. It works with Swiss meringue buttercream fine - no need to switch it up and use more dishes, haha.
Tip 3: Temperature
This is by far the most important tip and the one that made the most difference for me. Temperature matters! It is super cold here in Canada, so during the winter, I find there are a lot more air bubbles in my buttercream. I used to frost my cakes for hours trying to get it right in the winter. Now I know to just turn up the temperature. I like to keep my apartment at a nice 23 degrees Celsius. I find this is perfect for frosting cakes and is bearable to live in. If you find that it's too cold wherever you're frosting a cake, and the room will not warm up in time, you can re-whip your buttercream while using a torch to warm up the bowl. This will warm up your buttercream and allow it to frost easier, but do it quickly or else it might get cold again. Another thing you can do is warm your scraper (preferably metal) under hot water for a bit, dry it, and use that to smooth out your cake. Sometimes, even though it's hot outside, I do the hot water method just to get a super duper smooth cake.
Other than that, it's simply technique. Make sure to scrape and turn your turntable super slowly on the last few rounds. Check the sides if it's even constantly. And one last thing, make sure to have fun and don't beat yourself up if it's not perfect. Nobody is perfect! Just keep practicing :)