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I make buttercream icing with half butter and half shortening, however, when I ice my cake I get a lot of air pockets. They seem almost impossible to smooth out and the more I try to respread the icing, the more I get. Any suggestions for how to get rid of them?

Jodi - from Edmonton, Alberta

The key to a smooth buttercream cake is to make sure the buttercream is completely smooth before you start icing. If your icing is aerated before you begin, no amount of spreading will help. When you are making the buttercream, cream the butter and shortening with a paddle attachment. Using a whisk will incorporate more air, resulting in more pockets. Fresh buttercream is the smoothest, but if you make your icing in advance, beat it with a paddle on the lowest low speed for a minute or two to eliminate extra air. Use Tip 789 makes icing a cake easy – it adds side bands of icing that you just need to smooth over with your metal spatula. Finally, if all else fails, try heating a cup of buttercream in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, or until it is warm but not completely melted. Add the warm icing to the rest of the buttercream and beat on low speed to incorporate. The heat will help to diffuse air pockets.

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