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How to get smooth frosting on a cake

Updated on September 4, 2013

A lot of this is information I wish I knew before and will be sure to use in the future. I stumbled upon a few YouTube videos regarding how to attain smooth frosting on a cake.

The commonality among all the videos is that they mention using Viva paper towels specifically to smooth a frosted cake.

Some also mention a crumb coat.

Various tools such as pastry scrapers and fondant scrapers are also suggested.

When frosting a cake, what is the crumb coat?

As mentioned among the videos, the optional crumb coat is a very thin layer of frosting that you spread on first before putting additional layers on the cake.

After you have put on the crumb coat, you should place the cake in the freezer for ten to fifteen minutes. When you take it out of the freezer, you can continue if the frosting is pretty firm and does not get on your finger when you test it
(see the applicable video below)

I think that many of us amateur cake makers might put a few coats of frosting on the cake until it smoothes out more. Nevertheless, knowing about the crumb coat and placing the cake in the freezer can help a lot to mitigate the extra crumbs that can usually mix into the frosting and spoil the look of the cake.

Besides for fondant, what type of cake frosting can offer the smoothest appearance?

If you want your cake frosting to appear smooth and neat but you do not want to use the popular thick fondant icing, most advisors suggest using buttercream frosting specifically more than using any other frosting.

Another article you might like

from the giver's log. Lots of tips and step by step photos for smoothing the frosting on a cake.


Using a paper towel to smooth cake frosting

Many of the experts agree that using a paper towel can help to smooth a cake's frosting. While we seek advice from the baking experts (home cooks, chefs, culinary artists, bakers, etc), they too are always searching for tips to improve and perfect their craft.

It seems that several of them have found this tip about using a paper towel.

Using the specific brand Viva paper towels when to smooth the frosting on a cake

The people in the videos offering advice do not tell us to just use any paper towel but all believe in using the brand of paper towel called Viva, specifically.

One woman said that it is the only brand of paper towel she could find that works as an adequate tool for the job of smoothing the cake.

Perhaps this is because of its own smooth pattern and not having the ridges or grooves that other types of paper towels might have.

Another article you might like

I stumbled upon this very practical method that I did not already discuss in this hub. That is to use a new roller such as one you would use to paint walls! There are lots of photos for you to get the idea. The illustrative method made me smile. Take a look.

How to use the paper towel to smooth the cake frosting

When you have fully frosted the cake using everything you chose to use, possibly including the crumb coat and various knives, spatulas and scrapers for smoothing excess frosting, you can choose to use the paper towel additionally.

Take the Viva paper towel and place it on top of the cake. Put your hand on top of the paper towel and gently press it against the cake, moving your hand in a circular motion. Lift the paper towel periodically to see if and how the appearance of the cake is improving. Are you using the technique correctly? Be sure to watch the illustrative demonstrations in the videos below.

Besides for the top of the cake, you can and should of course smooth the sides of the cake as well and that requires moving your hand in an upwards motion on the paper towel.

An eye for detail

It is clear that everyone in the videos cares about the aesthetic quality in the cakes they present. Those that are professional bakers take a lot of pride in their work but they will tell you that as professionals, they do not have too much time to spend on just one cake. One video explains that professionals also do not have much time for redoing work when there has been mistakes. They need to learn to get it right the first time.

We can admire the meticulous yet efficient eyes for details and learn a lot from them.


Pretty blue smooth cake frosting

The maker of this cake has achieved a neat, smooth and pretty look for it.
The maker of this cake has achieved a neat, smooth and pretty look for it. | Source

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    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Great tips for icing a cake.Thanks!

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