I've had my 3rd cake decorating class and we finally decorated our own cakes. We had to make a clown cake. I was kinda disappointed that we had to do that one since I am not a huge fan of clowns, but I think it turned out very well.
My instructor gave us an awesome buttercream frosting recipe so I thought I would share it here.
2 sticks butter softened
1/2 lb crisco
1 tbsp meringue powder
2 lbs powdered sugar
4 tbsp water
1-2 tsp vanilla and/or almond extract
Cream the butter, then add the crisco. Once creamed well, add meringue powder. Slowly mix in powdered sugar. Add one tbsp water at a time. Add vanilla or almond extracts or both.
The other thing my instructor told us was how to do a crumb coat. You bake your cake and let it cool. Add a very thin layer of frosting and then freeze the cake. A couple hours later, or the next day take it out of the freezer and frost it right away. It really helped keep the crumbs out of the frosting the next day and the cake didn't move since it was frozen. Within a couple hours the cake is defrosted and ready to be eaten.