Do you ever wonder how people achieve those super crisp edges on a buttercream cake? Or how to get the perfect crumb coat base for your fondant covering? Well may I introduce you to one of my favourite cake decorating tricks … ‘The Upside-down method’! This incredibly simple, fast and foolproof method will allow you to reach perfection with little effort and no stress! I stumbled across this about a year ago and have used it for every single cake since.
You will need:
- Cake sponges of your choice
- Two boards – I use cake boards as I have a huge selection
- Greaseproof paper – enough to cover your board
- Side scraper – I prefer stainless steel as you can warm it up
- Palette knife
- Spirit level
Now you’ve got all your bits, here’s how to create your masterpiece:
Start by filling and stacking your cake on one of your boards. I used jam and buttercream for this sponge. Gently press down once you’ve filled the whole cake to minimise air bubble she inside
Apply a thin layer of buttercream to the top and sides of your stacked cake, this is known as the crumb coat. Use your palette knife to push the icing into any gaps, once it is all covered remove the excess with the scraper. This needs to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Once it’s cold and firm put another layer of buttercream on the top of the cake, approx 1cm if you’ll be covering with fondant, a little more if it’s a buttercream cake.
Now place your square of greaseproof paper over the top of your cake followed by the second board – I tend to smear a thin layer of buttercream on the board first so it sticks to the paper. Then flip the whole pile upside down! Use your spirit level to gently push down until the cake is level on all angles, remove the board on top.
Apply a liberal layer of buttercream all around the cake sides, at this point you would add more or less depending whether you’re going to be covering with fondant or not, this photo was a cake prepped for fondant. Place your cake onto the turntable. Now take your side scraper and hold the base flat to your board so the side is at a right angle to the cake, carefully turn the cake whilst keeping the scraper still to gradually remove and smooth the buttercream. You’ll need to do this for a little while, keep scraping the excess off your scraper onto the side of a bowl or similar, fill any gaps that appear on the cake and keep smoothing until you’re happy with the finish. Now pop it back in the fridge for 20 minutes.
At this point if I were leaving as buttercream I would do one final thin layer to ensure it was perfectly smooth. If you use a stainless steel scraper run it under warm water, dry with a paper towel and watch the magic as it creates the smoothest buttercream you’ve ever seen!
Now I want you to turn your cake back over onto the second board, peel off the greaseproof paper and wipe that Cheshire grin off your face! I know it looks fabulous but you’re not quite done yet! Using your palette knife or scraper you will need to apply a final thin layer of buttercream to the top of the cake to get rid of any gaps. If any goes over your sharp edges don’t panic, warm up the scraper and gently redefine the corner from the sides and on top. If there are any gaps where the cake meets the board you can apply some buttercream there too to fill those in.
Allow the cake another 20 minutes to chill before moving to a board.
There you have it! A gloriously perfect buttercream finish 😁