Articles & Recipes

Buttercream Decorating

May 29, 2017

Few foods are more exquisite than a magnificently decorated cake, and few cakes taste more divine than those swathed in buttercream. Sensational Buttercream Decorating will help you create stunning cakes you can be proud of, with expert advice on everything you need to know along the way. This comprehensive guide offers equipment information, delicious cake and icing recipes, invaluable instructions on cake decorating fundamentals and techniques, hundreds of step-by-step photographs and 50 fabulous projects to choose from. And because everyone deserves to have their cake and eat it too, regardless of dietary restrictions, there are even gluten-free and vegan options!

 Making a cake from scratch is an act of love, whether it’s a stolid English fruitcake, an instant cake from a box or an elaborate tiered cake. Decorations transform a cake into a blank canvas on which the decorator can express creativity and personalize a cake in honor of a loved one or a significant event. In an increasingly fast-paced society where convenience and speed reign supreme, a lovingly baked and decorated cake is a throwback to a slower time when connections and relationships were nurtured and rituals celebrated. Regardless of the results — flawless and intricate, or lopsided and well intentioned — a decorated cake’s loving message remains a constant.

 Although there are many mediums suitable for cake decoration, buttercream icing is indisputably the most delicious. Decorations are often considered extraneous: pretty to look at but not all that tasty. When made with buttercream, though, even the most elaborate decorations are creamy, fluffy and full of flavor. Buttercream icing is real food, invented for the sole purpose of being devoured and only later developed into a decorating medium. Sensational Buttercream Decorating takes buttercream in an entirely new and exciting direction, applying contemporary design and innovative techniques to a traditional decorating medium.

Buttercream’s popularity can be attributed to its simple sweetness, versatility, resiliency and ease. Essentially, in its simplest form, buttercream icing is made by creaming butter and powdered sugar. This traditional American style of buttercream is fluffy and very sweet, since its structure is derived from sugar. This book uses the Swiss meringue style of buttercream. Because Swiss buttercream is satiny and smooth, and its sweetness is subtle and well balanced, it is the perfect medium for decorating cakes. In addition to sugar and butter, Swiss buttercream relies on whipped egg whites for texture and structure. Nothing compares to the flavor and satiny smooth quality of Swiss buttercream — though I think I’ve come close with my vegan version, developed specially for those who avoid all animal products.

 If you love food as much as I do, and have a special appreciation for baked goods, buttercream decorating is the perfect channel for your creativity and self-expression. As with learning any new skill, decorating with buttercream requires time and practice. Be patient with yourself as you develop your coordination and muscle memory. Start by making some of the less complicated cakes featured in this book, then work up to the more intricate projects. When you start to feel confident about your cake decorating abilities, use the techniques you have learned here to create your own sensational designs.

 Most importantly, have fun — it’s only cake, after all. If your creation doesn’t live up to your high expectations, there’s always consolation to be found in consumption!


~  Carey Madden, author of Sensational Buttercream Decorating



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Amazing, melt in your mouth Swiss-style buttercream is the perfect decorating tool.

Swiss-style buttercream is the lightest, fluffiest icing, and is the icing of choice for professional and...

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