There’s more to Buttercream than meets the eye.
Did you know you can texture buttercream with an impression mat, just like fondant? Well you can! You can also mix your media, and add fondant, modelling chocolate, wafer paper, and a host of other edible mediums to your cake, to not just make a pretty cake, but to also tell a story.
This week I released my “Happily Ever After” cake, and it has not only been wildly popular, but it has people asking, “just what is possible with Buttercream??” Lots! Have a seat and let’s begin.. Once upon a time…
If you have worked with fondant, or spent too long in a Cake supply store (guilty!), you will probably have seen a texture or impression mat. They are often plastic or silicone, and either have a raised or recessed pattern. The idea is to apply them to the fondant or modelling chocolate (or Buttercream!), apply gentle even pressure, and remove, to leave behind the desired pattern.
The very same techniques are used to create these patterns on Buttercream. It can be tricky to get the hang of, but if you follow a few tips, you’ll leave a good impression (see what I did there..)
- Always use impression mats on a CHILLED cake. Not only is the surface firmer, and better able to take the impression, but the force of making the impression won’t push your cake out of whack. You know it’s ready to impress if you can press gently, leaving a dent, but not bringing any icing with you. If it’s too firm, leave it out of the fridge for a few minutes soften. It should be noted that you may need to put your cake in and out of the fridge a few times to do a whole cake.
- I recommend very lightly spraying your impression mat with non stick spray, so as to stop your icing from coming away from the cake. This won’t affect the flavour of your cake. Brushing on shortening is not recommended, as it may fill some of the gaps of your impression, and give you an incomplete pattern.
The Little Things
Loving Buttercream doesn’t mean refusing to use other mediums too. Fondant and modelling chocolate, as well as other increasingly popular edible decorating mediums, can all work together on a cake as needed.
On “Happily Ever After”, I used solid modelling chocolate for the Castle Door, in much the same manner as impressing on the cake, although chocolate is generally less sticky than fondant or buttercream, so I was able to just press the pattern onto the chocolate, using a strictly for food use Scrapbooking Stamp.
You can absolutely use stamps and impression makers from other crafts, but it should only be used for food, and never be used on anything that isn’t safe to consume (like glue, Fimo, clays etc.)
That being said, if the tool you are using, (such as some form of metallic food paint or impression tool) is NOT FOOD SAFE, it should not touch something that people are expected to eat. The modelling chocolate door can easily be removed before the cake is served, so it is fine to use a non food safe impression item.
If are not sure if your tool is food safe, ask someone from the cake store you are buying from, and if it’s not from a cake store, there’s a pretty good bet it’s not food safe.
Well of course there are Roses!! This is me we’re talking about!
For this cake, I used darker Roses at the base, and gradually lightened the colours as I got close to the top of the cake, or to ‘Happily Ever After’. This subtle technique tells the story of the cake, from darkness to happiness, from despair to hope, from struggle to ‘happily ever after’. Not every cake has to ‘have a story’, but what’s better than a book you can eat?!
There are so many techniques and mediums available to Cake Artists today, and more and more being pioneered all the time. Buttercream is now and will always be eminently versatile, delicious and beautiful. Try these techniques for yourself, maybe even come up with some new ones!
Viva La Buttercream xx