This is Part Two of Make Cakes Like a Pro. Check out Part 1: Baking, Leveling, and Filling.
Ever wondered how bakery cakes end up with such lovely, smooth frosting? Well, there’s a simple trick to it and I bet you already have the stuff.
Are you ready for it?
It’s paper towels (or computer paper). Oh, and a clean spatula. Really.
But before you get to smoothing things down, it’s helpful to know how to properly frost a cake. This helps you get the nice shape and makes everything easier. So two things to cover today. How to frost a cake, and how to smooth things down so it looks good.
Start by heaping a giant pile of frosting right in the center of the cake. I mean giant. You’re going to take a bunch off later.
Now you’re going to use a back and forth motion to spread it across the entire top. You’re trying to get it level, not smooth, so push from the center out until the top of the cake looks level. Just let the excess hang over the edge.
That’s what you’re shooting for. Level top (don’t worry about smooth) and frosting hanging over the edges.
Now, you’re going to push the frosting down the sides. You can add frosting as needed to cover the cake. You want a nice thick layer all over. I like to use an angled spatula for this, but a butterknife will work.
Ah yes. A masterpiece. Or not. Anyway, now’s the part we take some of the frosting off. An angled spatula is really, really useful for this part, and I definitely recommend one if you think you’re going to be making a cake or three.
Place the tip of your spatula on the plate and angle it outwards, then apply a little pressure, and turn the plate. You’re taking off a layer of frosting.
You can do a couple rounds to try to get things as smooth and even as you can. You’ll end up with this:
Pretty smooth already, right? The spatula method also gives you those nice, straight sides that make the cake look so good.
The next step is super fun. You get to leave your cake alone for 15-20 minutes. Frosting does something called crusting. It basically gets slightly hard, which is why the smoothing technique will work. So step aside, and let the frosting crust.
Now for the paper towel/computer paper trick. If you’re going to use paper towels, you want a brand that’s totally smooth. This is why I use computer paper, but the towels are better if you can find them. Either way, press the paper up against the side of the cake and use a completely clean spatula to press and smooth the frosting underneath.
You’ll need to change the paper occasionally when it starts to get wet. Once you’ve done the sides, lay the paper on the top and do the same thing.
Here’s what it looks like when you finish!
Did you try this tutorial? How’d it go? Let us know in the comments!