Hello, fellow baking enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into the art of cake decorating and learning how to frost a cake from start to finish. Whether you’re a beginner looking to improve your skills or an experienced baker seeking some inspiration, this guide will help you achieve a beautifully frosted cake that’s sure to impress.
Step 1: Choose the Right Frosting
Before we embark on our frosting journey, it’s crucial to select the right frosting for your cake. There are various options to consider, such as buttercream, cream cheese frosting, ganache, and fondant. Each type has its unique characteristics, so pick the one that complements your cake’s flavour and design. For today’s demonstration, we’ll use a classic buttercream frosting.
Step 2: Prepare Your Cake
Start with a fully cooled cake. Baking your cake layers a day in advance and letting them chill in the refrigerator overnight can make the frosting process smoother. Level the cake layers if necessary, ensuring a flat surface for even frosting.
Step 3: Crumb Coat
Once the cake is filled and stacked, begin by applying a thin layer of frosting to the entire cake. This is called the “crumb coat.” Its purpose is to trap any loose crumbs and create a smooth base for the final layer of frosting. Spread the frosting evenly and thinly, covering the top and sides of the cake. Don’t worry if a few crumbs are visible; that’s what the crumb coat is for! Chill the cake for about 20 minutes to set the crumb coat.
Step 4: Apply the Final Coat
Once the crumb coat has set, it’s time for the final coat of frosting. Apply a generous amount of frosting to the top of the cake and spread it outward, working your way down the sides. Use a metal bench scraper to achieve a smooth and even finish. Keep going around the cake, filling in any air pockets or indents by adding more buttercream and scaping again until the sides are nice and smooth.
Step 5: Smooth and Finish
Once you have straight and smooth sides, dip your bench scraper in hot water, wipe it dry, and gently go around the cake once more.
To do the edges, you can use an offset spatula or leave the buttercream to set and use a hot, sharp knife. I use either, depending on my mood.
Let’s go through both – the offset spatula method : Pull the icing in towards the middle of the cake, making the corner level with the top of the cake. The spatula should be at about a 45 degree angle. Between each swipe, clean the excess buttercream off the spatula. Go all the way around the cake and then chill the cake for about 30 minutes for the buttercream to set.
Using a hot, sharp knife : The difference for this technique is you need to push the frosting up as you’re spreading it, so that it sticks up above the top of the cake, ensure there is enough frosting sticking above the top to get perfectly sharp edges at the end.
Chill the cake for about 30 minutes for the buttercream to completely set. Dip your knife in hot water, wipe it dry, and going around the top of the cake with your knife, start cutting off the frosting. It will be messy to start because of the amount of buttercream to remove. Dip your knife into the hot water ever 30 seconds or so, always drying it off before using it on the cake. You should brush the cut off pieces of frosting off the top of the cake as you go. Keep going around the cake until it’s perfectly smooth and sharp. If you notice any pieces on the side of the cake, brush those off before they set onto the cake.
As you spin your cake around while pressing your knife down slightly, this will keep the knife level, resulting in sharp edges.
Step 6: Clean the Edges
To give your cake a polished look, clean any excess frosting from the cake board or plate using a clean, damp cloth or paper towel. This small step can make a big difference in presentation.
Step 7: Decorate
Now comes the fun part—decorating your frosted cake! Add your choice of decorations, such as edible flowers, sprinkles, chocolate shavings, or piping designs. Get creative and make your cake a work of art that reflects your personal style.
Step 8: Slice and Serve
After all your hard work, it’s time to slice and savor your beautifully frosted cake. Enjoy the fruits of your labour with friends and family, and relish the smiles and compliments your creation is sure to generate.
Frosting a cake may seem intimidating at first, but with practice and patience, you’ll master this essential baking skill. Remember, each cake you frost is a canvas waiting for your creative touch. So, gather your tools, choose your frosting, and let your imagination run wild as you embark on your cake decorating journey. Happy baking!