For People Who Prefer ONLY Buttercream Icing…

Posted on: April 24th, 2016 by Pretty Cakes | Posted in Pretty Cakes

If there is one thing that I have discovered on this cake journey of mine, it is that the majority of Canadians absolutely detest fondant icing…

Rolled Fondant is a dough-like, dense but flexible icing that is used to give a cake a clean and crisp appearance.  It can be made from an icing sugar, corn syrup and glycerine mixture OR just a simple mixture of icing sugar, marshmallows, water and a bit of shortening (I make the latter).  It resembles Play-Doh in texture (no taste lol). More about fondant and its uses in a future post!  Because of the fact that so many people do not like fondant, I am quite often tasked with using a simple homemade buttercream icing to finish off my Pretty Cakes.

My buttercream icing consists of butter or vegetable shortening (or both), icing sugar, meringue powder for stability, flavourings and water.  It is yummy and creamy!  There are literally dozens of different techniques that can be used to accomplish this and I have had a blast discovering and becoming proficient in them all!  This post will focus on a small variety of techniques that I have used recently.

Cakes that are decorated using a simple star tip…

At the very beginning of my cake decorating training we learned that  a basic star piping tip can be used to create a variety of interesting designs.  Typically I use anywhere from a #13 to a #19 tip to create different effects.

Wilton sells a variety of “Character” baking pans to create beautiful cakes in different designs.  I own about 70 character pans at this point and have had such intense fun making Pretty Cakes with them.  Although the technique is simple, it can be quite time consuming, but the results are often amazing!

I begin by baking a cake using the pan in accordance to the theme of the party.  Next I prepare my buttercream and tint portions in a wide variety of colours.  Then using a tip #2 or #3 I outline the designs in various places.  Finally, using different sizes of star tip I fill in all the areas using different colours to create the amazing picture.  It sounds so simple (and it really is) but at the end of the project you can have a VERY sore hand from the repetitive motion of piping a star at a 90 degree angle to the cake and squeezing the piping bag using the exact same amount of pressure hundreds and hundreds of times!  Rewarding… simple… and fun!

“Cars” Cake for Richard

Start Your Engines

“Mermaid” Cake for Pippa


“Stitch” Cake for Aiden.  Although I did not have a traditional character pan for this one, I simply used 2 10” baked cakes and cut them to fit the design!

Stitch Birthday Cake

Tip 104 (the traditional rose tip)

Tip # 104 is traditionally used for creating beautiful buttercream or Royal Icing roses, but it can also be used for ruffles and a variety of other flowers and borders.

Simply by holding the piping tip directly against the side of the cake at a 45 degree angle (fat end in) and moving your hand up and down while applying even pressure you can create a beautiful ruffle effect to ice the side of a cake… as demonstrated below on a small smash cake that I made for a little princess turning 1.


Also using a tip #104 I created the top and bottom borders for this chocolate birthday cake by simply holding the bag at opposite angles and squeezing the piping bag left and right to create the borders!


Leaf Tip # 352

This is one of my favourite techniques and I use it quite often. Below are two cakes that I adore in particular.

This cake was made for my niece for her birthday.  She wanted multi coloured roses on the top and I used the leaf tip with the same colours to decorate the sides of the cake in a layered design!

multi coloured roses birthday cake

This anniversary cake was iced using the leaf tip to create an ombre effect by adding a bit of white to the icing in order to lighten it as it ascended the cake.  The flowers were made of gum paste but the rest of the cake was completely iced in buttercream!

Gerbera Daisy Anniversary Cake

Tip #47 The Basketweave!

When I graduated the Masters Course at the Wilton School in Chicago, my final cake was decorated using the basketweave design.  It is elegant and timeless.  This design can be used on the simplest of party cakes or a wedding cake for royalty!  The trick is consistent pressure and even lines.
Both of the cakes below were created for birthdays!  Both also feature some Royal Icing flowers that were piped and dried in advance.  I really love this classic technique!

Spring Flowers Birthday Cake
Pansie Cake

Well there you have it…

Pretty Cakes for people who simply LOVE buttercream icing!

And now I have caught up on a few posts!  Ttys

P.S. My philosophy on torting cakes is as follows… each cake is cut at the 1” mark.  Therefore if a cake is 3” tall after baking, it will be iced like this:

buttercream top
buttercream/jam/custard filling
buttercream/jam/custard filling

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