How to Frost a Cake

cake, frosting, how to I have a major sweet tooth, especially when it comes to cake and cakes with rich and super creamy frosting. I'm not sure what's better, a slice of  moist fluffy cake or the thick layers of decadent frosting. Picture perfect cakes are a pleasure to look at in bakery windows everywhere and even better when you can eat them. Cake decorators all over each have a different technique for frosting the perfect cake, just like chefs have their techniques for slicing super thin vegetables. When baking and frosting cakes at home, unfortunately a cake decorator isn't next to you guiding and directing your swirls of creamy frosting (until now). Frosting in hand you are wondering how they do it, perfectly every time with every cake.  Make your cake the centerpiece of your next birthday or event with these helpful tips on how to frost a cake. 

You can find delicious cake recipes at the bottom of this post. 

Equipment list:

Frosting a cake is not so much about the cake and the frosting as it is the equipment you have on hand. Having a cake board that is slightly larger than the actual cake will help keep things tidy and allow you to pick the cake up and down when needed without messing up the sides. A turning cake stand is also helpful in frosting your cake. The spinning motion will help promote a steady and even spread. If you do not have a cake stand, do not fear, simply turn a cake pan upside down. An offset spatula is a great way to spread your frosting and to get in tiny corners of the cake. Using a regular butter knife will work as well.

cakes, cooling, how to

Temperatures and Layers: 

The correct temperatures of your needed ingredients when frosting a cake are vital. Cool your cake completely before frosting. If your cake is too hot, the frosting will melt. A chilled and cold cake, and warm room temperature frosting are the perfect match. Layering your chilled cake is also important. No one wants a uneven cake. Trim off any uneven extras, and also trim off the "hump" in the middle of your cake with a serrated knife. Without the hump, the additional layer of cake will sit evenly on top. For sturdiness to achieve a even layer when slicing, use your frosting as a sugary glue. Place about a tablespoon of frosting in the middle of the cake stand (or cake pan), place cake board on top, and then place another tablespoon of frosting in the middle of your cake board. When the first layer of cake is placed on top of the frosting, this will help the cake stay centered and secure.

Final Touches: 

Now that your cake is secure and your layers are even, it's time to frost your entire cake. Starting with the first layer, scoop about 1/2 cup of frosting onto the middle of your cake and begin to spread the frosting outward and evenly in a circular motion towards the edges. Place your second cake layer on top of frosting and spread a thin even layer of frosting all around the cake including the sides, and place your cake in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes. This 1st layer of frosting called crumb coating, is designed to catch any loose crumbs and also to set the crumbs. After your crumb coating has chilled, frost the entire cake again in smooth even strokes, this time with more frosting.

Your cake is now beautifully frost, and picture perfect! Dig in!

Need cake recipe ideas?

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Chocolate Avocado Vegan Cake

Coffee Cake with Coffee Icing

Baking up a Post-Storm: 5 Cookie Recipes to Beat the Sandy Blues

Hurricane Sandy has wreaked her havoc and we are all still recovering from the loss of power, the flooding, and the general turmoil the storm caused. For those of you at home in need of a sweet pick me up and a little distraction from the troubles that be, try baking any one of these delicious cookie recipes.

Snickerdoodle Biscoff Sandwich Cookies

Parisian Macarons

Peanut Butter Cookies with Milk Chocolate Chunks

Ginger Citrus Cookies

Espresso-Chocolate Cookies


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Baking For A Healthier You

By: Melaina Gasbarrino

The second you walk into a grocery store, with your kids, you'll most likely end up in the junk food aisle where they will bombard you with a whole lot of "I love you's" so they can get their favorite junk food fix. But if you're one of the many health-crazed moms or dads out there you'll veer your child away from all that high calorie food and tell them you'll bake them their favorite home-made chocolate truffles.

One of the many beautiful things about baking in your own home is that you get to add that extra love into each truffle, cookie or cupcakes, but is it really worth the time and energy you put into baking two dozen cupcakes for your daughters school birthday bash? We'll provide you with the facts, and so in the end it's all up to you.

Firstly, let's take a look at Jennifer Steinhauer's, of The New York Times' stint in recreating her favorite childhood snacks. When she was 5, Hostess, Twinkies and Fritos were like the ultimate treat, oozing with a whole lot of sugary goodness. But now knowing full well those tasty treats were jam packed with calories and preservatives she took to her kitchen to recreate these treats. She first found that with all the preservatives in each snack they had an extremely unnaturally long shelf life.

One of the benefits of home baking is that you can substitute wheat or buckwheat flour for white flour, minimize the butter intake, and heck, even go vegan. It's not every day you have to surrender to baking your own goods, but it certainly is a healthy way to go every once in a while.

If for instance you don't always have the time to bake your own treats, Fitness Magazine created a list of 'The Best Grocery Store Desserts' , the very best in low-cal store bought desserts.

So in the end if you're a calorie counter, or worried about preservatives you may want to rethink buying your favorite treat and take to the baking dish to create a somewhat healthier, preservative-free dessert.

What types of store-bought treats have you tried to recreate?  

Melaina is from a small town in Ontario, Canada and as an avid environmentalist with a passion for focusing on healthy living. Having traveled the world and written about it every step of the way, she one day hopes to develop unique environmental educational programs for kids. 

Photo: Selma90

For more tips and recipes from Melaina, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

Bread for the Good of the World

Baking bread is all about timing, intuition and nowadays focusing on the greater good. The Kneading Conference, a conference intended to tackle the issue of wheat production taking the limelight in the local food movement across the world, is what spurred the idea to start baking for the greater good. Noted in Gourmet Live's "Baking for a Better World", at the 3-day conference in July, participants gather to learn the science of 'creating local grain economies'. All who attended the conference were not only there to take in the science of creating that perfect loaf of light, fluffy bread but were there to stir their creative juices into developing the idea that 'making better bread makes a better world."

Take for instance Albie Barden of the Maine Wood Heat Company. His company, a wood-burning stove and oven company, not only provides clients with beautiful wood-burning stoves but has also devised a unique plan to teach kids about locally grown food. Barden and his family-run business is just the start of bread making companies that are taking a liking to educating others and working towards the greater good for all. At The Kneading Conference, organizations shot up to extend Barden's concept into humanitarian work.

Pat Manley and his wife founded Masons on a Mission, a project of the National Heritage Foundation and "humanitarian relief organization that replaces dangerous un-vented primitive wood heating stoves of impoverished Mayans in Guatemala with vented, energy-efficient brick ones." During the winter months he assembles a team and heads out to Guatemala to create and construct safe, yet cheap ovens. Manley states, "the ovens cost $150 in materials, the labor is us - and we don't cost them a thing." 3,000 ovens and counting Manley is all about ensuring Mayans have a proper oven to cook with.

Another humanitarian concept inspired by bread and religion is Slice of Heaven. Developed by Jonathan Rubenstein and his wife, Linda Motzkin, the nonprofit volunteer bakery teaches at-risk children the art of bread making. The Bread and Torah concept enables all to be apart of something they can learn, and share all with bread and religion on the mind.

Bread, as some see it, is the basis of civilization and Dr. Dowse, a cardiac cell biologist at The University of Maine and rustic bread maker writes, "bread is central to our being. You plant it and you have to stay in one place, to mill it, and store it, and bake it, and that requires community and cooperation. Bread is the basis of civilization."