Lovely Buttercream Embroidery Basics | Amy Kimmel | Skillshare

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Lovely Buttercream Embroidery Basics

teacher avatar Amy Kimmel, Baking and Pastry Arts Instructor

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Stacking Cake


    • 3.

      Crumb Coat


    • 4.

      Smooth Final Coat


    • 5.

      Practice Embroidery


    • 6.



    • 7.

      Transfer Design


    • 8.

      Piping on the Cake


    • 9.

      Finishing Embroidery


    • 10.



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About This Class

Level: Intermediate

Prerequisites: Basic buttercream decorating skills.  Some decorating equipment is required (list included on the project page).

Buttercream Embroidery is a classic technique that continues to impress in cake shops all over the world.  You can create gorgeous lace patterns and vintage designs that are entirely edible.  Using Swiss Meringue Buttercream, you will be able to replicate the cake in this course.

In this course, you will discover...

  1. How to build and frost a rectangular cake.
  2. How to pipe the embroidery.
  3. How to use a brush to finish the look.

This technique is stunning in any color or white on white for fantastic wedding cake designs.  By the end of the course, you will be able to take any template and turn it into brush embroidery.  The pattern for this cake is included with the course on the project page.  Just scale it to the size you need for your cake and print!  Also, you will find a recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream and a supply list available for download.

If you are new to cakes, I recommend taking some of my beginner level courses first...

Cake Baking:

Explore Cake Baking with Oils

A Beginner's Guide to Baking Butter Cakes

Get Started Baking Sponge Cakes


Master Buttercream Frostings


Working with Buttercream: Simple and Stunning Spatula Techniques

Blooming Buttercream: Elegant Cake Design

Learn to Pipe: Beautiful Buttercream Blooms

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Amy Kimmel

Baking and Pastry Arts Instructor


I’m Amy. I’m originally from Pennsylvania and grew up on stick-to-your-ribs desserts. Think pecan sticky buns and fresh made fruit pies…straight from my grandma’s house!

I always loved to bake and when I was 18, I started my first pastry job at a ski resort decorating cakes, baking cookies, and running registers. I spent a lot of years moving around the country and trying out different ways of following my passion. Everything from large volume pastry baking to having my own little tent at a farmer’s market in Kalispell, Montana. I loved every minute of it and collected so many amazing memories.

Fast forward 10 years and I started teaching baking online. I really had no idea what I was doing, but I spent 6 solid months lea... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Welcome: welcome to lovely butter cream embroidery basics. I'm Amy, and I'm going to be your instructor in this course. I've worked with buttercream for many years, and I have to say it's my preferred medium. I absolutely love taking old school techniques and traditions and tweaking them. Teoh be more compatible with modern tools and styles in this course will take a look at a classic buttercream embroidery technique. You'll learn how to create templates. Transfer the design onto a cake, pipe your buttercream and use a brush to get that iconic embroidery look. This is a step by step course. Once you're finished, you'll be able to take any template or design and transfer that onto a cake for some really beautiful custom looks. Brush embroidery is great for special occasion cakes, and especially for luxurious wedding cakes. There are also supplements included with the course available for download. And if you have any questions along the way, I'm available to answer them. Are you ready to learn this timeless technique? I'll see you in the next lesson 2. Stacking Cake: square cakes and rectangular cakes tend to be a little bit more difficult than round cakes to get really level and to get really sharp edges and typically with round cakes, even if your cakes themselves aren't level, you can somewhat fix that with the buttercream. But if and when it comes Teoh Square rectangular cakes, it's actually really difficult to get a nice level final coat on it if the structure of your cake itself isn't really level and sound. So I'm just gonna teach you some tips and tricks that I've learned and figured out of. Here's to get my takes really nice and squared up, So I've already stocked the 1st 3 layers, but I want to point out that when you're trimming your cakes, I I baked a full sheet cake and I trimmed up four smaller five by six rectangles, so it's almost a square, but it's off by an inch. Anyways, I trimmed for five by six rectangles out of a full sheet cake, and when you're trimming your cakes, you want to make sure Teoh, I always use a ruler. Even if I used a square pan, I want to use a ruler to make sure that I'm getting really straight edges. And even if maybe one corner of your cake stuck to the pan when it was baking in another corner, didn't it could be on. Even so, I always use a ruler to make sure that they're nice and straight, and you've got 90 degree angles. Also, even if your cake looks really flat when it bakes the caramelization on top, you still want to cut the crown of your cake off and level the top of your cake, no matter what. Like I said, even if it looks really flat, always level your cake, and when you're stacking them, you want to make sure that you're getting them lined up perfectly. And I'm just going to show you how to put the last layer on and how I do it to make sure that the whole cake is really nice and structured. So I'm putting my buttercream on Shumpert enough Teoh family layer close to it. But when I'm pushing this out to the edges, I'm not worried about it going out over the edge at all. Actually, that's great, because then I could use that from a crumb coat all this extra frosting, but I want to push it out until I have one nice, even flat layer of buttercream that's at least the size of the cake itself. And what I mean by that is what I'm pushing this buttercream out. I'm pushing it out, but wherever the cake is, I want my better claim to be flat, especially in the corners, because on square cakes, the corners or what's really difficult. And if you aren't getting enough buttercream in your corners, they're gonna droop, and it's gonna be really difficult. Teoh, get that final coat on there. So you're really making sure that you are pushing it completely out to the edges and getting it really nice and flat and built up on those corners. And if it's not completely flat and it doesn't seem like it's working, you can also take the edge of your spatula and just sort of bring that edge back up a little bit with your spatula and pull it back, and that's gonna bring the level of your buttercream back up. And there you can see. Now I've really flattened that corner out just to show you that again. I'm pushing my buttercream out over the edge and my corners. Not nice. I'm taking this buttercream and I'm bringing it back up and pulling in. I'm not giving me a nice, flat surface there, So you just gonna make sure that it's all filled in and flattened out? If you feel like it's not, then fix it. Fix it now and your future self. Well, thank your pasts off you're doing this. Couple swipes over to really smooth it out just like that. And then I'm ready for my next layer of cake. So when you're ready for the next layer of cake, you could see I've already got this other nice layer. It's perfectly trimmed up to the size of this, and it's really nice and flat. You just have it on a little piece of board. Just get it off and you want to look down over the top of your cake and just make sure that you're lining up all your edges and then it's nice and square and turn. It really helps. If you do this on a turntable, turn it, and if you have to gently nudge your cake over a little bit to get it all lined up. That's OK, Rico. And you could see it's pretty level. My corners aren't sagging. I don't have any dips. And you were in the cake. My edge is a really nice and this cake is ready for a crumb coat. 3. Crumb Coat: crumb coating is the same as with round cakes, just a really thin coat. But because this is a square kink, and I've already pushed a lot of that buttercream out, I won't really have to admit into the sides, and I've taken the time to stock it properly, So it should all just really line up. And you should have a really nice, even square or rectangular cake to start with. And do be careful when you're crumb coating, especially if your cake is really soft. I'm using an oil based cake, so it's really moist. I don't wanna accidentally pull off those top corners of my cake just because they are so fragile. Extra bowl for May crumb coat, but you can see just doing that little bit. The majority of it now is covered. Obviously, you can use this method on square cakes or rectangular cakes. It works for both really great for sheet cakes to if you're doing flares in your sheet cakes. I know I do. Typically, she cakes that you purchase at the store or just one layer of cake, but I like why she kicks to be two layers of cake and one layer filling, but that's entirely optional. It's numbers going back and smoothing it out a little bit, just going from my corner and swiping in just to clean up the corners a little bit. Make sure that they're nice and sharp. And then I was going to clean off this top edge here in towards the center, training, keeping flush and also not take all the buttercream off my corners There. Keep this nice in level. So there you can see if you take the time to really stack your cake and fill it properly. Once you have the crumb coat on, it already looks so good as faras. You know, the sides being straight up and down in all my corners, being really nice and squared off. So this is going to go into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or, if you're in a hurry, 15 minutes in the freezer and then we can do the final coat 4. Smooth Final Coat: crumb coat is nice and chill. You'll know you can push on, and especially where the filling is between the layers, you push on that it doesn't cave in. You're ready to go is usually nice to have this structure and nice and firm cause now it will be a lot easier to get that second coat on. So to apply a second coat just gonna put it on the way you would with round cake. I really want to make sure that I'm putting a little bit extra on the edges cause then when I go to add to my side, it'll push a lip up, and that will make it a lot easier to get it really nicest squared up. And I always stand over my cake and apply it to the opposite side. If you don't get a thick enough layer on it for something, okay, you can always add more, and you can see what I mean by it's pushing up this lip here, so I want that everywhere, especially on the corners. So if you're not getting that, make sure you are adding extra on the corners of the edges. A couple other spots you wanna watch is right down here. When you're intersecting, this little bottom corner tends to have a gap. You make sure that's filled in. And also, when you're looking at this shop corner, you want your edges to be pushed up so that you can drag and pull that corner off. If it's a drooping down right in the center, which you will find, you don't want that you want to keep building up your buttercream. You can kind of see a little bit there where it doesn't want to fill in the whole way. So I'm really making sure I'm getting down the edge there. You could see what I mean. There, my edges aren't meeting up really well, and my top corner isn't completely touching. So what you're looking to Dio is really bringing that operated the corner and make sure your edges are going to shore up like that. That's time to start smoothing, and I've got my spackling blade, which is really great if you don't have ah straight edge that you normally use putty knife bench scraper. I recommend this. I think I paid $5 for it at the hardware store, so something was just a really nice sin flat metal edge, and we're just going to drag this across the side. Now when you're doing square cakes, it's really easy to get to the edge and wanna pull off this way around the corner because you might be used to doing round cakes or just might be a natural inclination. You really want to make sure that you're pulling straight off when you're getting to the corner so that it's going to be nice and square and then at the edge you get a little bit of a lift there, so we just want to barely take that off and smooth it right into the other side. You really wanna make sure you're straight edges straight up and down, and if you're soothing it and you're showing me to see areas that aren't going to be even or where you might need to add some extra butter, cream can go ahead and and that on. - So the key is to just smooth it, an ad buttercream where you need slowly taking a little bit off the science and really trying to get those corners sharp edges. Just when you have a little bit belt up. You want to take it off and smooth it right in when you get this really nice edge there. And when you finally get around to the last corner, when all the other side's air nice and smooth and your edges were smoothed, you just want Teoh do your final swipe and you want to pull the edge away before you get out to the corner so that you don't create another build up. You put right out of the edge. So once they're nice and straight and up, down going, Teoh Teik are top edges off. There's a lot of buildups arms gonna take the majority of the buildup off before I start really trying to smooth that the corners. You can start at the corner and drag in diagonally once I got the majority of those edges off the top. Now I'm going to start really leveling out and if you're taking a bunch off the top two, that's okay. Being very careful that once you get those corners nice and smooth and level, try not to mess with them again. This corner I'm going to get So what happens when you have something like that Now that it's all done, your corners are trooping. We're not filled in the hallway. We're just gonna do a little bit of patchwork. There we have it. That's how you get really nice sharp edges and corners on a square or rectangular cake, and it can seem tedious and time consuming. But if you're gonna be putting a buttercream finish on a cake of this shape, you want to spend the time to get it nice and smooth and professional looking. 5. Practice Embroidery: to get the hang of Russian embroidery. It would be good. Teoh. Practice it a couple times on a flat surface before you try to transfer it onto a cake just to get the feel for the technique. I have an old practice board here, and this has worked the same just practicing on parchment paper. But I have the template I'm going to use. You could just put that underneath your parchment paper, and I have my butter cream in a bag fitted with in Wilton to Tip, which is a really small round tip. It is the perfect size Teoh outline and be able to do the technique, but not two large that it's just too much butter cream and looks too bulky. So you're going to start out just picked somewhere in your pattern where you're comfortable . Starting top down usually works the best That way. You're not piping up over top members going to demonstrate on the flower here, So for brush embroidery, you're going to pipe your outline. You know, take a small brash and I like really fine and brush just because it's going to give me ah, much finer drag and look more delicate. And once you have that piped, you're just gonna go in and you do not want to catch the outside edge of the buttercream and draggin You want to catch the inside edge and dragon. So what I mean by this is I'm coming here on this inside edge and I'm pulling in that way. Your base pipeline will stay in place because of you. Grab the outside edge, it's gonna pull in, and then you'll be able to see your lines that you traced, which we don't want. So we want to leave that anchored line there and we're just going Teoh, take that inner part in that you have little areas where it's the buttercream sticking out or anything. You can just go in and fix that with your brush to really clean it up in. I just like to go at varying lengths. So someone really short strokes summer longer to give me more detail and also practice not just turning your practice board, and if you haven't taped down you will. You won't be able to turn it either. But you really want practice just having in one place and having to, you know, use your brush at different angles, because once you pipe onto the cake, obviously you won't be able to flip the cake around. Sues where? Practice getting a steady hand in order to work on on those details. Once you get used to it, you can go a little bit faster. Just really want to make sure that you don't grab that outside edge. And then once you have the embroidery part done, you can go back in and pipe thes other details as much or as little as you want, depending on whether or not it's looking too cluttered. And then if I take this out, you can really see how that looks. That's really pretty. It's just sort of, ah, vintage looking design. And that's the brush embroidery technique. So just practice it a few times and get the hang of it. And also, once you pipe with the number to tip, if you want to go on, put thes tinier details in later. You can do it with a size one tip are really small apartment bag with a really small opening cut off at the end of it to get even finer detail that's up to you 6. Design: When I do brush embroidery, I like Teoh. Choose a pattern for my cake. And so for the cake that I'm going to show you how to pipe on. I actually chose this design. It's really pretty blue and white vintage doily design now because of copyright. Unless you get a royalty free image, which is pretty rare for embroidery images, you don't want to use the exact same design. If I did exactly this and then I stole the cake, that could be considered copyright infringement. So that's certainly something you have to watch out for when you're decorating cakes. You can use other ideas as inspiration, but using them exactly as they are is stealing someone else's work. So I printed this off, but I'm not going to use a used this exact design. I created something similar to it, and I'm not using all of the leaves, and I'm not using this scallop at the bottom. I just kept some pieces in it that I thought would be nice and complementary, and I also don't want to add too much when you're doing brush embroidery. Something with this much detail might feel a little bit too busy to be really pretty just to pipe it on. But you might lose a lot of detail just in the translation to buttercream. So I tried to clean it up a little bit and go with something that I thought would still look nice and make a pretty design to do this. I just want a piece of plain white paper, and you line it up over top of your design. And if you want to put this in front of a window holed up in front of a window, lie it flat and tape it to a window that works great That way the light shines through and it's easier to trace. And you just trace over your design wherever it is with pencil just like that. And when you trace out the design that you like, then you could go back over it and really take your time and clean it up with a black marker or Sharpie. So then you get your final design, and it's really clear invisible, and you can save these designs to in a folder just like this. If you want to recreate the cake later on, or maybe used components of it for the design of another cake, and I actually uploaded this template for you. And if you want to follow along and create this exact design, I've created a template in the course that's included, so you can go ahead and download and print that off and create the cake the exact same way that I'm going to show you. 7. Transfer Design: When it's time to start doing the embroidery on your cake, you want to make sure cake is thoroughly chilled. The buttercream needs to be very firm. I put my cake in the freezer for about 30 minutes before I started working on it, because we're going to be transferring the template onto this and you don't want the buttercream to soften and stick to your templates. Now, with my template, I have push pins in it. You can use sewing pins. They work Justus. Well, I put them through the paper before I apply it to the cake, because if I try to push through the paper into the cake with the buttercream, it could came in my better cream and damage it. So I'm just going to line up my templates where I want it. Andi, gently push the pins into the cake, and if it causes any, it will leave little holes. But that's okay, because you can sort of rob goes out. You just don't wanna hold it up against the cake because the heat from your fingertips is going to melt the butter cream and cause the pattern to stick. And then I was gonna take a pencil and start to gently trace my design. And you want to do this gently and quickly. You don't want that buttercream, too. Heat up while we're doing this and choose. You know, I have a leaf up here on top that's sticking up over the top of the cake, so I'm not going. Teoh. Keep it. So I was gonna go to these leaves. Trace them. - You're serious. Your body. You want to pull this gently off the cake. So as you could see, you kind of have a basic outline transferred onto your cake. These little pins and marks, like I said, can just be blended out with your finger while the buttercream is still firm. And now I have a general idea of where I'm going to be. Piping might sign so you can go ahead and transfer the design onto another side. Or you can do your embroidery on one side and then let it chill. It's up to you. I'm going to start hyping the design on and show you how it goes on the cake. 8. Piping on the Cake: So as I mentioned, when you're finally piping it onto the cake, it's easier to work from the top down. And so you're just going Teoh, start hyping on. I like to pipe slightly on the outside edge of where my out Linus. That way I know it's gonna be completely covered because I don't want that outline to be really visible. So I'm just supporting my piping hand. Turn the cake, which ever way is comfortable for you to pipe and just take your time. Once you have that pattern transferred on there, pipe and take your time. But after you pipe one design, you want to do your brush embroidery simply because if you pipe all of your design and then the buttercream underneath starts to warm up, you're not going to be able to do the brush technique, and we don't want to put this have to put it in the refrigerator to chill, because then you're not going to be able to do it. Your buttercream outlines are going to be firm, and it won't work, so you need Teoh. Do this while you're out. Linus soft and while the buttercream underneath is nice and firm and I'm just using that outline as a general guy. Bine not going exactly with it, because in the tracing, some of my leaves got a little wonky, but I want them to look like actual leaves. So I am actually creating an outline that I think looks good on that. We've had a line in the middle, which I just want to add a small. Do you tell us that then you just continue on with your design until it's complete. So I'm gonna finish this design and transfer the pattern on all four sides of my cake. And also, if you want to, you know, it's up to you. If you want Teoh, change the direction of the design, maybe put it this way because it would look really pretty down here in the corner. And then maybe you can put just another flower over here to fill in outside. Maybe here I want to fill in the side of the cake, so I'm going to do those leaves to just fill in. This space is really up to you how you design the cake. And I'm actually going to fill in a little bit more because I think it will look nicer and more balance. So I'm gonna go ahead and work more on this cake, and then I will show you the finishing touches. 9. Finishing Embroidery: So now that I have piped my embroidery on all sides of the cake here, including the top, just created a nice little design on the top. We put the template in the middle and out of some extra leaves and branches. I decided to frame out the sides because they came out so nice and square that I really wanted Teoh make those sharp edges pop because they turned out so nicely. So I just went with a small bead border. I was using a size two tips, so I went into a three because it makes it slightly easier to create the small bead border . So I'm just gonna show you how I did that. I transferred my cake onto the platter already. So if you're gonna put it on a cake plate or cake board, it's nice to have it on their before you pipe thes final touches on, especially for the bottom border, because you want that to kind of lineup. And if you try to pipe the bottom border before you transfer it, you'll probably have some breakage. And we don't want that. You piped it along the top edge. I didn't private on the top part. I piped it on the side more okay, and I'm just creating really delicate little beat border. And it's much easier to do if you're sitting down and you can prop your elbows on something or have something to hold your arms up while you're piping so that you can keep very steady because it is such a small, delicate border. And even if your cakes not completely level as long as your lion is perfectly straight, you won't be able to tell if there's just a little dip or sig zag somewhere along the edge . Just take my time and there have really nice, pretty small bead border that's straight across. So it really frames out that side nicely. And then for the sides. I went right on the corner. I'm not piping on this side or this side. I'm going directly on that sharp edge. And if your cake plate would have a lip like mine does, which makes it more difficult to pipe down in there when I get as far as I can with the bead, I just did shots to fill in, which is fine. And then for the bottom heart. I didn't completely attach it to the cake and the plate. I more or less just made a straight line right along the bottom edge of the cake, and I think that it blends in nicely. Even if there is a slight gap, nobody's really gonna be getting down at the level of your cake and trying to look for that gap. So I just went ahead and piped, and it helps if you hold your bag up in a 45 degree angle like this and pipe across there. We have it all framed out and squared up, and I think it just gives it a really nice finished look. I'm kind of vintage, which I really love that blue and white because it's sort of a M T copper and old vintage China feel. 10. Thanks!: thanks so much for taking the course. Way to go. You finished it. I hope you're ready to start practicing this technique at home in your own kitchen or in your own bakery. If you have any questions, please post them to the discussion board. I'll be happy to answer them. If you make any cakes at home, create a project, take some photos and share them to the course. I'd be so happy to take a look at your work. If you haven't already, go ahead and download and print. The supplements included with the course will help you practise the techniques at home. And lastly, if you haven't left review, I really appreciate it. It helps me know if the courses are good or if I should improve on something, and it helps other students know whether or not they should take the course. I can't wait for you to get started. I'm so excited for you to practice these techniques for yourself, and I hope to see you in another course.