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Help! My buttercream won't stick to the cake

(24 Posts)
UntamedShrew Fri 23-Mar-12 19:08:30

I have made buttercream & dyed it red using a gel colour - ready to make a fire engine for a 3rd birthday party smile

But the icing just rolls over the cake and into a crumby ball sad

I've sort of slapped a coat on and bunged it in the fridge in the hope it'll set enough so I can smooth a 2nd one on top of it, but the texture of the cream just doesn't look like it's ever going to work.

What else should I try? Are electric beaters a good or bad idea?

OP’s posts: |
MrsMagnolia Fri 23-Mar-12 19:13:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mumatron Fri 23-Mar-12 19:19:29

How long did you beat it for? I usually put mine in the food processor for about 10 mins and it comes out soft and lovely to spread.

I usually warm some raspberry jam and brush that on first too.

mamalovesmojitos Fri 23-Mar-12 19:21:19

Yy. And also using a wet knife to spread the icing. The icing doesn't stick to it and come away from the cake. Keep a little cup of water next to you to dip the knife/spatula in.

UntamedShrew Fri 23-Mar-12 19:22:13

I beat it for a few minutes but it looked like it was curdling it so I stopped and stirred it all back together with a wooden spoon.

I am irrationally stressed out by this impending disaster! But hey it's taken my mind off estate agents for a few minutes...

Shall I beat it again for longer do you think?

OP’s posts: |
UntamedShrew Fri 23-Mar-12 19:22:55

Wet knife - of course! <slaps forehead>

Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
mamalovesmojitos Fri 23-Mar-12 19:25:39


Bunbaker Fri 23-Mar-12 19:26:17

Doing two coats is the right thing to do because you will probably get some crumbs in the first coat anyway.

SherlockGnomes Fri 23-Mar-12 19:31:35

May be too late now but: add some milk to make runnier, do thin coating, put in fridge for aslong as you can, take out fridge do thick coat - stops it getting all crumby and horrible by hardening them in first layer of icing smile

UntamedShrew Fri 23-Mar-12 19:33:47

I wondered about milk but feared it might make the curdling problem worse? I think I just about got away with that one so I'm scared any more beating or adding milk would make it go funny again and I'd be in a worse pickle.. Unless you lot say go for it?!

OP’s posts: |
SherlockGnomes Fri 23-Mar-12 19:49:35

It really shouldn't curdle unless you have eggs in it (?) I think what looks like curdling is just the bits of butter, I beat buttercream for quite a long time to get it right..and I beat buttercream every day!! What and how much of it did you make it with and I'll give you my fatties expert opinion!

UntamedShrew Fri 23-Mar-12 19:52:31

Pack and a half of butter, 2/3 box of icing sugar, red gel colouring and a teeny splash of milk.
It just looks.. Not quite right! Not smooth.

OP’s posts: |
SherlockGnomes Fri 23-Mar-12 20:03:28

Defnitely more milk I reckon, add a table spoon and keep beating and watching - the food colouring will have glooped it up too (despite being liquid, sneaky little bastard hmm ). Don't worry I'm here holding your butter creamed hand

Flibbertyjibbet Fri 23-Mar-12 20:04:37

I usually beat it to death with the electric mixer. its like making a sponge cake you have to really cream it. I put a little milk in first then the softened butter.

When I've beaten it enough it just goes on nice and smooth. I can't understand how you think its curdled, just icing sugar and butter, unless you haven't mixed the colour in enough so its looking wierd?

I don't put the colour in till its nearly beaten btw.

doradoo Fri 23-Mar-12 20:05:49

I use a 1:2 /butter:icing sugar ratio for my butter cream - and add about a tablespoon of milk and some colour/few drops of flavouring to the mix - never had a problem with it sticking.

YY to wet knife and lots of beating. Also make sure the cake is cool before you try to ice it.

mumatron Fri 23-Mar-12 20:06:39

I would say beat for long. Are you using a food processor or a hand whisk?

My food processor is rubbish so it takes about 10 mins to get it really smooth. A decent one probably does it quicker though tbh.

How soft is your butter when you start? I find it takes so much longer if the butter is just a little bit cold.

Bunbaker Fri 23-Mar-12 20:24:42

"Pack and a half of butter, 2/3 box of icing sugar"

What does that equate to weightwise? Buttercream is usually twice the weight of icing sugar to butter, plus a splash of milk, so - 4 oz butter and 8 oz icing sugar, plus a drop of milk as required. I have never had buttercream curdle on me. Also, beat with an electric whisk for a few minutes until lighter in colour and creamy.

UntamedShrew Fri 23-Mar-12 20:28:29

Success! Well it's sticking and given a nice smooth finish. Beating to death and wet knife worked wonders.

However. Thanks to all the extra beating.. It's now a pink fire engine grin

My DTs are 3, they won't notice care. I hope!

OP’s posts: |
Bunbaker Fri 23-Mar-12 20:39:39

Well done. Any photos?

mrsv2 Fri 23-Mar-12 20:39:44

For furure reference it also helps putting your cake in the freezer for an hour. it stops the cake from crumbling and showing on your icing. Glad its worked ok in the end

SherlockGnomes Fri 23-Mar-12 21:04:27

yay! Sounds like a job for the red smarties to me wink

doradoo Fri 23-Mar-12 21:09:58

You might also find that the red develops overnight - I made some marshmallow fondant for a little einsteins cake which looked really pink to me - but deepened to a passable red in the fridge overnight.

Will try and post some pics!

NanaFifs Wed 03-Aug-16 15:16:28

Ladies I know this is a really old thread but it has massively helped me out today. Thank you so much xxx

Sonix Tue 12-Nov-19 08:08:26

The room is too cold and the buttercream is clumpy ish also the cake is too wet you may have added simple syrup to it. The buttercream is naturally attracted to the moisture. to fix this thin out the buttercream and add more softened I repeat softened butter to the mix and beat until it is creamy it should make a sound when you hit it with the spatula because of the release of air. make sure the cakes are cool and the buttercream is a little cold 68 degrees or so and then frost the cake. This was my fix.

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