Hello! I'm starting to get into decorating cakes for my kids and friends. The first time I tried with buttercream, I used the recipe from the stand mixer booklet, and I found it too sweet for my taste. Next time I'll do a thorough research before so maybe I can get a better buttercream...For some reason I rather make the buttercream with butter and not crisco, but this is not based in taste or texture...It's just I always have butter at home, but if I need to do the buttercream with crisco, then I'd have to get a can (my point is that sometimes my cakes are small, and the rest of the can goes to waste). My question, though, is about the technique for frosting and filling. I cut the cake in half and filled it with the buttercream, chocolate chips and crushed walnuts. For the frosting, I dropped a big dollop of buttercream and started to smooth it over with a spatula (one of those thin ones, special for frosting) and it was a disaster!!! crumbs from the cake started coming off and mixing with the buttercream, and it ended being a pale green (I had colored the buttercream) with dots of brown from the (chocolate) cake /img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif. I don't know what to do next time so this doesn't happen....is there anything I'm missing that I should have done? I'm sorry if this is a stupid question...I've never been to baking class, and maybe there's some basic technique that I should be doing. Also, a couple of hours after I finished frosting the cake, the frosting was hard and dry. My other question is about a technique I saw on the web about "ironing" the frosting with a paper towel and smoothing it with the hand, since the warmth of the hand would help melt a little bit of the frosting and then it would get smooth. Has anybody done this? Is it that easy or there's also another little basics that I should know about? Thanks for any input!!! Rocio.