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Buttercream or Swiss meringue buttercream and stacking (2 Viewers)


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Advice please. I'm making a cake for a wedding celebration for my daughter and it's going to be 4 layers of 8" vanilla sponge. In fact, cakes are made and in the freezer. When it comes to the icing, I'm completely conflicted about what kind of butter cream icing to use. I've read so many blogs and watched so many videos and they all say different things about which icing is best and more stable. I'm utterly confused about what's best. I will have to ice the cake on Friday and then it has to be transported to the restaurant that day and the party is Saturday lunchtime. I'm not a very experienced cake icer and have been practising. Is it possible to put one kind of icing in the cake (say Swiss meringue buttercream) and then ice the outside with normal buttercream icing (just butter and icing sugar)? Or should it be vice versa? I have the idea that if I just use buttercream icing it will be very sweet so I thought maybe a combination of the two. Or is that a bad idea? Please help. I'm grateful for views from experienced cake icers.
Welcome to the site Linda, hang in there and Angie should be along soon and give you the advice you need. Have a look around the site while you wait, I'm sure you'll find lots of helpful information. 😘
Hi @linda_1009

Welcome to the site. 😊

In all honesty, it's all down to personal preference. Both normal buttercream (block butter and icing sugar) or swiss meringue buttercream will both do the job in and around your cake. Normal buttercream is easier to make than swiss meringue, but the swiss buttercream will remain stable and works better for holding its shape and structure in hot/humid weather.

You can fill and cover the cake with either one. However, I understand your logic of not wanting the cake overly sweet. Swiss meringue is made with butter and has a soft, fluffy, buttery taste, whereas normal buttercream can be sickly because of all the icing sugar.

You could do a mixture of the two by putting the swiss in the layers and then covering the outside with normal buttercream, but you don't have to.

I don't know whether you are making a naked cake or covering it, but if you are covering it in icing/fondant, you can still use either one before covering it.

You can actually flavour or slightly sweeten the swiss buttercream too if you like, whereas, with normal buttercream, you use twice the amount of icing sugar. So it's hard to pair back.

If you did use the normal buttercream you could always use jams or curds in alternate layers to give you a different flavouring. You can also flavour normal buttercream also.

I'm not sure how your overall cake is going to look and I'm assuming it's just one tier of four layers so I'm just trying to think of other solutions for you if you don't want to go the whole buttercream route.

I do hope this has been of some help to you, and good luck with the cake. 👩‍🍳
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Thanks for your thoughts. Very helpful. I'm not entirely sure how it's going to look!! It is just one tier (I'm not up to transporting anything that requires putting together at the restaurant). One more question - could I add another layer (so that I'd have 5 layers of cake)? Would that need a dowels to keep upright and secure. Just thinking that a higher cake (more layers) would feed more, since I don't feel up to another tier.

Yes seeing as you are going to make a tall cake, place a dowel down the centre to secure the entire cake. Then on your third layer, place dowels or plastic straws and cut them off at that layer. I would then stick a very thin cake board on top of that and, through the centre dowel then, place the other layers on the top. This will then help take the weight of the top layers, and the centre dowel will hold everything in place.

I've done a bit of a sketch just in case my instructions don't make sense.

The coloured dot in the centre is the centre dowel.

Cake Dowel Diagram 1.jpg

This should secure everything in place, and your buttercream layer will cover the exterior, so you don't see any of the construction going on within the cake.
How do I secure the centre dowel? Do I have to fix it (glue??) to the bottom cake board and then "thread" the layers over it as I layer them up? Or do I simply stick a dowel in the centre of the 5 layers when I have layered them up? Sorry if this is a daft question.
There are two ways you can do it depending on which way you are doing your cake. (No question is ever daft). 😊

You can either cut a hole in the base of your cake board the same size as your dowel and then glue it to your board (Put a small piece of duct/heavy duty tape on the base of the board, so nothing comes out the bottom). Then stack your cakes layer by layer and build up.

Or cut a hole in the base of your board and additional cake board and then put the dowel through the centre of the stacked cake and cake board, when the cake is finished and hopefully, it will line up with the holes you cut out previously.

There are pros and cons to the options. The first option you have to lift each cake layer over the dowel and then lower it down, and then for the dowel all the way through at the end, you have to hope it fits in the slot that you made in the beginning so it's up to which way you want to tackle it.
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