The ONE Thing No Cake Decorator Can Live Without

There are two things a cake decorator must have to succeed. A perfect buttercream recipe and the most important of all tools.

An Icing Smoother.

Not just any icing smoother, but one that is guaranteed to be an asset and not a hinderance. An icing smoother can make or break you when it comes to finishing a cake. Without the right one, you will waste countless hours trying to get perfectly smooth buttercream.

The Ateco Decorating Comb & Icing Smoother

With the right icing smoother, it will take a fraction of time to get the perfect finish and move on to the other elements of decorating your masterpiece. 

I have used several different smoothers over the years, but there is only one that I recommend, and that is the Ateco Icing Smoother. I’ve used bench scrapers, icing spatulas, and plastic smoothers. I have also used time consuming methods that have issues of their own, such as the Viva method and the (clean, never used) paint roller method.  Both of these methods only work with a crusting buttercream, which I would greatly suggest you stop using this type of icing altogether, and never use these methods ever again. I will go into why in another post, but for now, I’ll say that even though I no longer use a crusting buttercream, the icing smoother I recommend will smooth that type of buttercream with no problem.

What’s so special about this particular icing smoother? 

A few things.

1. It’s very thin.

Thin smoothers work beautifully when gliding across buttercream.  It doesn’t catch or pull, it just glides right across leaving you with a perfect clean finish.

2. It’s metal.

I have found that metal works considerably better than plastic.  Being metal is what allows it to be so thin. I have yet to find a plastic smoother that is as thin or can give as smooth a finish. 

What you should know…

There are a few downsides, but they’re easily remedied.

The edges do tend to nick after quite a bit of use and they can also bend out of shape.  

The solution?

Replace them!

They’re inexpensive enough to buy several at a time, or simply replace them once you see signs of wear and tear. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial and save even more money on shipping!

Once I changed to these icing smoothers the amount of time I spent on decorating a cake nearly cut in half! It now only takes a couple swipes around the cake to have a perfect finish rather than hours and hours.

“The Proof is in the Pudding!”

I really debated if I should show you some of my (embarrassing) work before I began using these smoothers. But I thought it most likely necessary to get the point across, so I’ll be a big girl and take one for the team! (Please be kind, and remember, I never claimed to be the world’s best decorator!) 

Now that I look these over, I’m not sure which was worse, the rounded edges or the photography! 

So here’s before the Ateco Smoother, using crusting buttercream, bench scraper, and the paint roller method I mentioned above:

Note how gritty the buttercream looks? And how rounded my top edges are? (cringe)


And here’s after the Ateco Smother using a meringue based buttercream:

Notice how sharp my top edges have gotten? And how smooth my icing now looks?


Ok, so that was embarrassing! :-p  

Hopefully you can see that just changing a few things can really make a difference in your decorating abilities! If so, it was so worth showing you my old work! 

Now, how about you? What kind of smoothing technique do you use? Tell me about it in the comments!

Don’t forget to Pin! 

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2 thoughts on “The ONE Thing No Cake Decorator Can Live Without”

  1. Thank u Tina I really have a problem with smoothing my buttercream and because of that i don’t get a smooth finish when i cover it with fondant.

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