The Ultimate Guide to Decorating Cakes with Buttercream

The Ultimate Guide to Decorating Cakes with Buttercream

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Ahh the blissful world of decorating cakes with buttercream. There are so many colours, finishes and types available, from sharp edges to rustic textures… it’s a cake decorator’s heaven to have such a versatile decorating option, right? Until the bubbles arrive, until the consistency isn’t quite right, until you can’t seem to get those glorious finishes you see, and they end up feeling a lot harder than they look…

Sounds like a good time to get help, right? That’s why you’re reading this ultimate guide to decorating cakes with buttercream, after all.

So what is the secret ingredient to making your cakes buttercream beauties?


Sharp, modern edges, rustic textures, metallic finishes, quirky patterns - check! Here's everything you need to know about decorating cakes with buttercream
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One of the biggest difficulties is knowing which buttercream to use when – and then making sure you get that specific buttercream right. You need the right building blocks to build up that incredible cake, and that all starts with the crumb coat and filling.

The thing I love the most about Erica O’Brien’s Better Buttercream is that it takes you through everything from techniques and what type of cake board to use to making all kinds of buttercreams, colouring and flavouring them, levelling and crumb coating your cake – and that’s before you even get started on the best techniques for decorating cakes with buttercream.

There’s also trouble shooting at every stage so whatever problem you encounter along the way, you can solve it – no frustration here! And we all know that even when you follow recipes, techniques and instructions to the letter, the conditions in your kitchen, the weather, what else you have going on that day, they can all effect the way your cakes and buttercream comes out. Even the best bakers will encounter mishaps, but thanks to these trouble shooting tips, they don’t need to stay that way – Erica personally shows you how to put things not just right, but to make them perfect.

And when your business or special occasion rides on creating spot on cakes, isn’t that exactly the type of help you need? Once you’re done reading this, I’d also recommend checking out these five ways to improve your cake decorating skills to keep improving and build a reputation for being the best!

Decorating cakes with buttercream all starts with a good quality turntable (although I’ll bet you already know that!), but you don’t need to purchase a whole cupboard full of cake decorating tools to achieve the fantastic finishes Erica shows you, just a select few will get you great results – perfect for the budget savvy baker. She even shows you how to add metallic edges to show-stopping buttercream cakes without needing an expensive airbrushing course or equipment – wahoo! And if you’re looking to create a capsule cupboard of the essential cake decorating tools, without spending a fortune on endless items, this list will be your cake decorating best friend!

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, being my first experience of a Craftsy cake decorating class, but I really warmed to Erica’s personal and patient approach. She makes the video tutorials not just helpful but fun to watch, showing you that creating show-stopping cakes with buttercream is actually far simpler than you think.

And don’t for a minute think that you’re about to be given a whole book of rules for buttercream.

That is so not Erica’s style. She simply gives examples and walks you through techniques, but she encourages you to be playful and try out your own approaches and ideas too – I found this very empowering and a lovely change from other cake decorating guides I’ve read.

Even the best bakers will encounter mishaps, but thanks to these trouble shooting tips, they don’t need to stay that way –  in this course virtually every decorating style is covered, from modern, clean lines (and the tools you need to achieve them) to pinstripe effects, rustic textures, metallic finishes and those snazzy vertical stripes.

Even better, Erica taught me everything I needed to know about pairing decorating styles with the occasions you’re baking for (think traditional, informal, rustic, chic evening events etc).

She also solves all those niggling bits that keep cake makers up all night – what to do when your cakes aren’t perfectly straight; not one but two ways to prevent naked cakes from drying out; time saving tips and insider insights into the best tools to get the job done so you don’t run into small problems that have big impacts on the finish of your cake.

You’ll even get her tried and tested tips for travelling with your cakes – was that a sigh of relief I just heard?

So whatever kind of cake you want to decorate,  this could be your buttercream bible because it covers everything. You’ll be able to create so many differently styled cakes, fit for all kinds of occasions, after working through Erica O’Brien’s Better Buttercream.

What are your favourite techniques for decorating cakes with buttercream?

The Ultimate Guide to Decorating Cakes with Buttercream
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