Make Professional Cakes with one Awesome Tip
Do you ever wonder why your cakes may not look the same way professional cakes look? When I first started decorating cakes I would spend hours working with the icing so it would look smooth. No matter what I did it never ended up looking the same as professional cakes. I knew how to make the flowers with royal icing, but the buttercream seemed to look a little lifeless. This was really disappointing!
Then one day I learned the secret and I want to share it with you. Do you want to know how to make your cakes look professional?
The secret is an ingredient that’s in the buttercream frosting.
How to Make Professional Cakes:
Both of the buttercream flowers were made with the same buttercream frosting recipe. There is one difference, I made two different batches using different ingredients. They both were piped with #104 decorating tips and were the same consistency. I wanted you to keep that in mind as we continue to find the tip that will change your cake decorating.
Okay, it’s time to explain why the flowers in the picture above look so different even though the same recipe was used to make both batches of the frosting. Are you ready for the secret on how to make professional cakes at home?
The frosting for both batches was made with shortening instead of butter because sometimes you need a frosting that will withstand a little hot weather if your event is going to be held outside. If your frosting is made with all butter, it won’t hold up as well. I’ll post this recipe soon but for now, we are going to talk about how important the ingredients are. Just keep in mind, the frostings were made with the same recipe but with different ingredients.
The buttercream frosting recipe called for shortening. I used two different kinds of shortening when making the frosting.
- The rose at the top of the picture was made with Crisco shortening.
- The rose at the bottom of the picture was made with a hi-ratio shortening.
Huge difference! The hi-ratio shortening not only makes a smoother less greasy frosting, it is creamier and holds its shape and doesn’t leave your mouth feeling like it is covered in grease. There are different brands you can get like Sweetex, Alpine or Ck and it’s a little more expensive than Crisco but to me, it’s well worth the price.
The flowers made with the Crisco seem to be a bit wilted. After I made the flowers I decided to make another batch of the buttercream using the Crisco shortening. This time I used less milk and a little more confectioners’ sugar. I did get a better result but they still didn’t have the same quality look as the flowers made with the hi-ratio shortening.
A while back Crisco had to change their recipe because the FDA made a decision to ban trans fats. The reason it was banned was that trans fats don’t have any health benefits and it’s hard for your body to break them down.
If you don’t want to use trans fats, don’t. You can make buttercream frosting with an all-butter buttercream recipe, or you can use a Swiss Meringue Buttercream or Italian Meringue Buttercream frosting, but keep in mind that they won’t do as well at an outdoor venue because it can’t take the heat as well as a buttercream made with all shortening.
That is the secret to make your cakes look like they were made from a profession bakery instead of in a home kitchen. Hi-ratio shortening makes all the difference in the world, well at least all the difference in your buttercream frosting.
Want the Recipe so you can make Professional Cakes?
If you want the recipe, you can find it at How to Make Crusting Buttercream that Actually Sets Firm Recipe.
Thank you. I haven’t tried the hi-ratio, because of expense, but I’m having trouble with Crisco. I certainly will give it a try. Thanks again.
Hope you like it Christine! 😉
I have been using Sweetex for about 2 years and it did make all the difference even in my clothespin filling. Thanks for sharing.
It’s amazing isn’t it Shelli! I wish I would have known about it when I first tried buttercream frosting. 🙂
Thank you for this great tip! I’ve used Crisco forever but I will definitely try some high ratio shortening.
Let me know what you think Patty!
Great tip, thank you!
Always wondered how to get that professional look. What a difference!
Isn’t it shocking to know that one little ingredient can make such a difference? WOW!
You do the things I wish I had time to do. Thanks you! Just love getting you tips. Wonderful site.
I am glad the tips help Deb! I hope to do more tips and comparisons so we can test things together. It’s really fun to see how things turn out. 😉
Any idea where to buy hi ratio shortening in Canada??
Does Amazon deliver in Canada? If not, you can look at store brands and look for ones that contain trans fats. I hope you find it because it really does make a difference. 😉
There are online stores in canada that sells the hi-ratio – flour confections, mccalls. Retail Bulk Barn has it too.
Thank you so much for sharing Jojo! You are awesome!
Where can I find hi-ratio shortening? Is there a particular brand you use? Making a huge cake this wk,end and I’d love to give it a try. Living in AZ, most frosting’s don’t stand a chance! Thanks for your help and all your wonderful tips!
You can get hi ratio shortening from Amazon. The brands I know about are Kitchen Krafts, Sweetex, Alpine and CK. I have tried Kitchen Krafts and Sweetex and like them both. If you are trying it for the first time I recommend you try a 3 pound container before you invest in a large container. If you do like it, you can try 50 pounds of Sweetex for $84.05 which breaks down to $1.68 per pound.
Here is the link for the 3 pound Kitchen Krafts: http://amzn.to/1VUHeZu
Here is the link for 50 pounds of Sweetex: http://amzn.to/1VUHnw0
Let me know how you like it!
Awesome! I’m loving your tutorials and your generosity of sharing all you know and recipes! I don’t live in the States and can’t get the same products, so I appreciate that you describe the product. That helps me select as best I can, from what is available locally. It’s just a case of test, test and test again!
Warm hugs from South Africa.
Thank you Moz! I wish we all had access to the same products so it would make things easier but I guess we do like you said and test, test, test.
Hi is there a uk hi ratio shortening that you can recommend,thanks
I shared my crusting buttercream recipe today and you can find links to Sweetex and Kitchen Krafts. You can also get Ck and Alpine but I haven’t tried them yet. You might be able to find hi ratio shortening in your local stores. Just check the label to see if it contains trans fats.
If you order online, I suggest you buy a small container to see if you like it before you buy 50 pounds of it. Here is a link to the recipe with more information about it: http://thebearfootbaker.com/2016/04/crusting-buttercream-frosting/
When I used to make cakes to celebrate everything (now I’m trying my hand at making cookies for celebrations :)), I always turned to Wilton’s “Buttercream” recipe which used all Crisco, and not a smidge of butter. (Makes one wonder how they could call it “buttercream”) Never really liked it because, as you mentioned, Crisco gives a “greasy mouth feel”. But thanks to you, NOW I know why! No trans fats!
Armed with this information, maybe I’ll start making cakes again, and less cookies……………maybe. 🙂
Thanks for sharing the secret!
Crisco used to have trans fats but because of the new ban from the FDA they changed the recipe.
I know the FDA is planning on banning ALL trans fats in less than three years so I am not quite sure what will happen to our buttercream frosting. Hopefully someone smart will make something for bakers who like delicious buttercream frosting that is great for decorating and eating!
I am from South Africa all these brands of shortening and strangers to me. Do you know of any available here?
I don’t know anything about shipping products to South Africa and I’ve searched online and can’t find anything that will help. Amazon stopped to SA so I don’t know you can get this product. How sad is that! I’ve even looked for recipes or way for you to make your own hi ratio shortening and I have fallen short! I really wish I had an answer for you but I don’t. I am so sorry!
Can you buy kind of shortening? If so, see if a store will order some with trans fats and purchase it for you. Other than that, I don’t know what you can do.
Does anyone have any other ideas Maheri can try?
Thanks for sharing this info! It was a GREAT help. But, what do you recommend using when all TRANS FAT is banned? This is coming real soon across the USA. Some states, like California, will not allow it now. I heard Sweetex has been making a Trans Fat Free Shortening for a few years now, but I never read any comments on this. Do you have any information on how this Trans Fat Version stacks up to the “original”?
I LOVE WHEN YOU DO THESE COMPARISONS!! I realize it must take you a lot of time and the ingredients are costly but, just want you to know – Your information is so valuable!!! THANKS, THANKS, THANKS!!!
Karen!! I think I will ball up in the corner and cry when they ban all trans fats!
I have not tried the Sweetex without it, but I have emailed them to see what information they an give me on it. I will let you all know what I found out.
Oh Lisa, thank you so much for this comparison. I have read about the high ratio shortenings making much nicer decorations but have never seen a comparison. I am not ready to make the leap and spend the money (yet) but am so glad to see your work.
It took me a while to try it Erin but once I did I was convinced that is what I need to use to make my cakes and cupcakes look better. I hope you like it as much as I do.
CrownBakerySupply 6066794267 has Hi-Ratio Shortening.
Thanks for the info Carol! 😉
I really look to you first for all my baking blogs. I would like to ask a computer question if you don’t mind. Is there any way you might change your print selection to something that comes up darker. For some reason your blog is a little harder to read and I think it’s because the print color is not the typical darker color. Just my humble opinion. Thanks for considering.
Awe Adelle! Thank you for liking my blog! You just made my day!
I will let you in on a little secret. My blog is being redesigned as we speak! I will talk to the designer and see if she can make the font a little darker so things print better for ya. 😉
Big Thanks Lisa. I’m excited for you to have a new “blog baby”. I’ll be excited for you and all your followers.
I am so excited I can hardly wait! 😉
I don’t know if this is up-to-date knowledge (as I’ve heard it like 12 years ago or so…) but I’ve heard that trans fats are not only hard to break. The thing is they are actually dangerous for your health. Unfortunately it was so long ago that I don’t remember the exact result of using them, I’m sorry :/. I don’t want to scare you or something, just thought you should know :). Have you posted this all-butter buttercream recipe you’ve mentioned. I would feel more on the safe side using this one :).
Anyway, your buttercream flowers are absolutely wonderful!
If you wanted to add shortening to a recipe that uses butter and Italian meringue would you replace some butter with shortening? And what percentage? It has great flavor but always breaks. Thank you for this wonderful article!
What recipe are you making? I think I could give better advice if I could see the recipe. 😉
Hi, just wondering how well these freeze? Have you tried freezing them before it would only be for a week or so.
I have never tried to freeze the buttercream that long. I wish I could be of more help. If you do freeze them for a week or two, will you let us know how they turn out?
I absolutely love your site- your info and tutorials are so helpful and your work is amazing! Thank you!
I’m very new to cookie stuff and have only used royal icing so far. But your buttercream flowers are so beautiful and taste better to me than royal icing when done in these larger flowers designs. My question is about longevity though- can these buttercream flowers be put onto cookies and how long would they last? Can they be made days ahead and packaged in bags like royal icing? Would they have to be refrigerated eventually bc of the buttercream? I’m having trouble finding any info about this online. Maybe this isn’t a thing?? Thanks for any advice you could give!
incas wondering about the taste. icing made with shortening has never tasted good to me.
I really wanna try this recipe but somehow I can’t find it. ?
Can you pls add a link to the buttercream frosting you use?
I live in a hot country and most of the recipies that I tried malted be for the celebration even started ?
I added the link at the bottom of the post. I hope this recipe works for you! 😉
Wow! Beautiful flowers!!! Do you mind sharing the recipe you used please?
I added the recipe at the bottom of the post for you Philip. I hope you enjoy it! 😉
AWESOME!!! Thank you so much!! Can’t wait to try it out!!!
I love your roses…..your videos and your amazing talent. I do have a question tho. The Hi-ratio shortening. I know Sweetex changed their formula, have you found that it causes a lesser quality with your buttercream? I’, leery about buying a 50lb box like I usually do because I’ve heard the quality has greatly diminished. I made Swiss meringue for my most recent cakes because of this, but I want to use American buttercream with the upcoming summer months.
Sweetex still worth it? Yes? No? :/
I haven’t tried it yet. I’ve read the reviews and I’ve heard the same things you have. It’s sad because we had something that worked and now I hear it’s gone. I’m going to order some soon and I’ll share the results. I’m sad it had to change and maybe we will come across a hi-ratio shortening that works the way we want it to work.
I will share the results soon.
Thank you! I will try hi-ratio shortening for my cakes and cupcakes, your comments are very helpful and help increase my confidence in making my new buttercream with hi-ratio shortening. I’ve fail miserably with American buttercream, after I’ve beat the egg white, then slowly add the butter in, it starts to deflate and runny. Does anyone know the reason why and can you help please.
If your buttercream is runny or curdled it is probably due to the temperature. Thomas Joseph has a great video on how to ‘fix it’ here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b0hjOnuWRk.
Hope this helps!
We have been using hi-ratio shortening for years now .. and ever since the banning of trans fat by the meddling government (seriously … there are so many food products that has zero health value … why do they still sell those???) we have been searching for something that works well. Alpine was hard and burned out a mixer… we didn’t care for the end product flavor wise. Our supplier started carrying a Wesson formula … again, very stiff. If you beat the life out of it, it eventually breaks down and makes a decent (if not heavy) butter cream. Our supplier recommended the new Sweetex flex gold product stating that it was the best they carried (also almost twice as expensive as the wesson). Based on that suggestion, we bought 4 boxes. Now we find that it absolutely will not break down … like ever. The frosting tastes great until we are left with unprocessed shortening in the back of our mouths. Scalding hot water won’t even melt it like it will most shortenings. What is this stuff made of???
Anyhow, we’re on the hunt for a new option because given that our customers have voted our frosting the best in town multiple times, we don’t want to supply them with a sub-par product. We are in northwest Ohio and are wondering if any places in Canada sell hi-ration shortening WITH trans fats? my internet search brought up this forum and i was wondering of anyone had any luck with finding decent shortening in Canada? Thanks so much for any help that anyone on here can offer 🙂
If you find something will you let us know? I am determined to find something that works as good as it did.
Hi.. I’m new at making cakes..I was wondering if you have a good newbie cake recipe for scratch white cake and Strawberry filling.. Thanks for any advice in advance
I don’t have a white cake recipe right now. I’ve been sick for a while but I’m better now and working on cookies and a good white cake recipe. I wish I had one for you right now but I don’t. So sorry about that.
Cake Central has a WASC White Cake Recipe here: https://www.cakecentral.com/recipe/7445/the-original-wasc-cake-recipe
WASC stands for “white almond sour cream cake” and the comments on it look good. I haven’t tried it yet but it’s on my to-do list.