Frosting a cake can be a daunting task if you do not come equipped with the proper know-how and tools. I recently took a cake decorating class and learned a number of different techniques that have changed my cake decorating experience. Here are some techniques that can help you whip up a mouth-watering dessert.
Frosting…1, 2, 3
- Before you want to even think about icing your cake, you want to make sure that you have a flat cake to work with. The best thing for achieving a flat surface is cake baking strips which you can find at your local craft store in the baking section. This makes shaving off any imperfections slim to none, keeps you from losing valuable cake, and allows your cake to bake evenly through. A mound forms in the middle of your cake when the edges bake faster than the centre. This pushes the uncooked batter in and up, creating a mound.
- Once done, allow it to cool completely through so the icing does not melt off your cake when you begin to frost. Cut off any mounds or other imperfections that may have occurred during the baking process. You will want to use a cake platter and a cake turntable to make frosting your cake an easier process. On your cake platter, turn the bottom layer of your cake upside down, and you are ready to start frosting your cake. The easiest way to get started is to put a big blob in the center of the cake — put more on than you will actually need; you will end up using it on the sides. Now, the key to keeping crumbs out of your frosting is never to pick up your frosting once it has touched the cake. Keep a thick layer under your knife or spatula at all times, and just keep spreading until the cake is completely covered.
- If you want to have a filling, you will want to make a well. The easiest way to do this is to use a 10-inch featherweight piping bag. Circle around the edge of the cake once, and then go up on that edge and go around the cake once more making a deep well. You can now fill your cake with anything from sauces to the ganache. One word of caution: do NOT use fresh fruit in your filling. The fruit mixing with the sugar releases the juices, and you will have a cake full of streams. If you are adamant about using fresh fruit (as am I), the best route is to make a sauce. This allows you to keep your new fruit flavour, and it makes the substance thick so it will not run. Make sure that your filling is just below the rim of your well.
- When you are ready, flip the top layer of cake over so that the bottom of the cake will now be the top. You will want to flip the cake because the bottom is the flattest side and leave the top of your cake perfectly flat. Again, you will want to pile on the frosting so that you do not mistakenly pick up pieces of cake and have crumbs in your frosting. Spread it out evenly, and then you can start to frost the sides of your cake.
- Before you start frosting the cake, you will want to take a piping bag and fill in the gap between the two layers of cake. When you have filled in the gap, take your spatula and circle around the edge of the cake to take off all the excess frosting. When you frost the sides, the easiest way to do this is to use a 16-inch featherweight piping bag with tip number 789. Using constant and heavy pressure, frost the edge of the cake. You will generally need to go around the cake twice.
Now, place the spatula’s tip on the cake platter at the edge of the cake, and hold vertically flush with the side. Spin your cake turntable while keeping constant pressure on your cake. This will leave the edges perfectly smooth and even. Once the frosting is dry, take a piece of parchment paper and gently rub the top and edges. This will remove all remaining spatula marks and leaves the result, looking like a gourmet creation!
And, if you are frosting the birthday cake, make sure to put a little bit more effort into making the cake more appealing.