Are you a bit of an eye-baller? As in, you kinda guess your way through the whole caking process? You never know how much of things i.e cake batter, buttercream etc to make, so you just take a stab and hope for the best. If there's not enough, you'll make more. If there's too much, that's alright, the workmates/husband/neighbours will eat it. Doesn't sound too bad, does it?
I used to do all of the above when I first started making cakes and let me tell you, it was bad! I wasted sooo much time by guessing my way through the process. Sometimes, I'd be icing cupcakes and would run out of buttercream by the goddam 11th cupcake when I needed 12! Other times, I'd make so much buttercream but not enough cake batter so my cake layers wouldn't be as tall as they needed to be. This resulted in a cake with super thick chunks of buttercream in the fillings to make up for the height required. Yuck.
Oh and the stress! The anxiety, headaches, heart palpitations from living life so much on the edge. You never really know how long things would take when you're in the kitchen.
Well, the stress ends here. Today!
I'm going to share with you a simple trick I use so that I didn't have to deal with another heart palpitation again! Who am I kidding, heart palpitations go hand in hand with caking, regardless of how organised you are, haha.
However, this simple trick will help you remove the guess work and cut your time in the kitchen in half!
This is how I work out how much buttercream I'd need for a cake. Do this every time you make a different size cake and over time, you will have the data you need for all the sizes. You only need to do this once for each size, and then stop guessing for the rest of your life!
What you'll need:
- Required cake layers
- Required cake board
- A kitchen scale
Before you begin the filling process, pop the cake board and the required cake layers on the scale. Record the weight. We'll call this weight A.
After you have filled your cake, pop the entire cake back on the scale. Record the weight. We'll call this weight B.
Weight B - Weight A = The amount of buttercream you need to fill a cake of that particular size.
Record your result.
Weight B (1838g) - Weight A (1490g) = 348g required to fill a 6" cake (pictured).
After you have covered your cake, pop the entire cake back on the scale. Record the weight. We'll call this Weight C
Weight C - Weight B = The amount of buttercream you need to cover a cake of that particular size.
Record your result.
Do this every time you make a different size cake. You'll only need to do it once for each size. Over a period of time, you will have collected data for every single size. Who's efficient now!
What if I don't have a scale as big?
Just use a small cake stand, a glass, a tin, anything that can separate the cake board from the scale and balance the cake on top. I haven't got a picture, but below is an illustration to show you what I mean. Pop the cake stand on the scale, press 'Tare', then proceed with the above steps.
What about cupcakes?
You can use the same trick to work out how much buttercream/icing you'll need for your cupcakes.
Step 1: Weigh the plain cupcake (Weight A)
Step 2: Weigh the iced cupcake (Weight B)
Weight B - Weight A = The amount of buttercream required to ice one cupcake.
Multiply that by however many cupcakes you need and you'll get the correct amount of buttercream you'll need.
I know this process seems like it takes time, which it does. But it will save you sooo much time in the long run.
In our Buttercream Cake Mastery online course, I've already done all the calculations for you. The course gives you a chart of all the important numbers such as buttercream quantities to fill and cover different sizes, buttercream recipes for different stand mixer capacities etc. You get charts in pretty much every module from baking to making buttercream to achieving smooth sides and sharp edges. What can I say, we love accuracy and efficiency around here! If you want to fast track your cake game, then check out our online courses here.
Enjoy your newfound efficiency!