Should be simple enough – bake a cake and spread some flavored icing between the layers and on top. How hard can that be? Harder that one might think. To get a crumb-free, even application of frosting that will help keep the cake moist and increase the eye-appeal and yum factor of the cake, use these tips on how to frost a cake.
Let it Cool
Be patient and allow the cake to cool completely before attempting to frost it. The freshly baked cake will fill the air with a mouth-watering aroma and it’s difficult to be wait, but trying to frost a warm cake will leave you will a crumbly mess. If you’re in a hurry, turn the cake out of the baking pans onto a platter and place layers into the freezer for a few minutes to help speed up the cooling process. Cake layers can be covered and frozen for frosting and eating at a later date.
Once the cake layers have completely cooled, brush away the crumbs with a pastry brush before assembling the layers. Spread a thin layer of frosting (about ½ a cup) on top of the first layer, then carefully place the second layer on top and spread another half-cup of frosting over the top. Repeat with any additional cake layers.
Now spread a ‘crumb coat’ of frosting around the sides and over the top of the cake. The crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting that will keep crumbs out of the top layer of frosting. The crumb coat does not have to be perfect, it just needs to cover the entire cake. Allow cake to set for 30 minutes after being crumb-coated before adding the final layer of frosting.
Now you can add the finishing touches and finally enjoy the homemade cake. Use a spatula or butter knife and generously spread the remaining frosting on top and sides of cake layers. Apply the final frosting layer neatly and evenly at first pass, then go back for a second pass with the spatula or butter knife to add decorative swirls. A lazy-susan turn table makes quick and easy work of frosting a round cake.