Who doesn't like the look of a beautiful birthday or anniversary cake? There is just something about them that makes such events even better. But unless you know the secrets of frosting a cake, this can become either an expensive part of the party or an annoying pre-party task. Frosting a cake doesn't need to be either, as long as you know what the secret is.
The secret to frosting a cake so that it looks like a professional did it can be summed up in one word: heat. If you have too much heat in your cake, and not enough heat in your frosting, then you will end up with one big mess. To avoid the frustration of having a messed up cake, or the added expense of having a professional do it for you, simply follow this simple method for frosting a cake.
- Remove the cake from the pan. After you have baked your cake, you need to remove it from the pan that it is in. Be careful not to break or damage the cake when you do this.
- Allow the cake to cool. Place the cake onto a wire rack, preferably one that you have placed a towel over. Leave the cake alone until it has completely cooled down to room temperature. Periodically check the temperature by touching it with your finger. When it feels cool, you are ready.
- Remove all crumbs. Once the cake has finished cooling, remove all of the crumbs that you can. Carefully pick up the cake in one hand, and use the other one to gently remove the crumbs from the sides and edges of the cake.
- Warm up the frosting. It is much easier to frost a cake with warm frosting than it is with frosting that is cool or cold. You don't want the frosting to be too hot or too warm. Rather you want it to be warm enough to easily spread. Place the frosting into a microwave for about 15 seconds on high. You will know that the frosting is warm enough when it is easy to stir, but not liquidy.
- Place frosting in middle of the cake. Place about 1/2 cup of the frosting into the middle of the cake. Using a rubber spatula, begin spreading the frosting outwards, until you have reached 1/4 inch away from the edge.
- Repeat with other layers. If you are going to be making a layered cake, repeat steps three through five with each layer. With the last layer, do not frost the top of the cake yet. That should be the last step.
- Frost the sides. Place some of the frosting on the sides of the cake, and begin working your way up and around. Use more frosting as necessary until you have reached the top. Ideally, you should have a small ridge of frosting that will rise about 1/4 inch above the top layer of the cake.
- Get the top done. Place the last of your frosting on the top of the cake, in the middle. Once again begin spreading the frosting outwards towards the edge of the cake. Eventually you will meet the raised ridge of frosting. If you are not going to be using any other decorations, make the frosting pretty by putting swirls, waves, or using some other design. In the even that you are using other decorations, make the frosting as smooth as possible.