Some cakes, like pound cake, need no embellishment but every scratch baker should know how to make a fancy filled and frosted layer cake. As with all baking techniques there are certain tips for frosting cakes that will help you create the best possible results. Here are our favorite tips for the prettiest frosted cakes.
1. Make sure the frosting is soft and spreadable. If it is just a little bit too cold or stiff, it will not apply well.
2. Always keep your icing spatula gliding on top of the frosting and do not let it touch the cake (or you will bring crumbs up into the frosting).
3. Always make a thin initial coat to seal in crumbs. Called the crumb-coat, this coating preps the surface for the final layer of frosting, which will then apply much more easily. Looks aren’t important during this step. The crumb-coat will be almost see-through and might even look somewhat patchy and uneven, which is okay.
4. Place cakes on same-size cardboard rounds (or other matching shape) purchased from craft- or cake-decorating supply stores. Use the cardboard’s edge when frosting cakes to help guide your icing spatula for the crumb-coat and smooth final coats.
5. If using a pastry bag, fill it only halfway and make sure frosting is soft and creamy enough to flow smoothly from the chosen tip.