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      How to’s

      How to frost the outside of a cake with buttercream

      Follow the steps below to achieve a beautifully finished cake. You’ll first need a torted cake of course, but don’t worry if you haven’t got one yet, I’ll show you how to make one here. For best results, use freshly whipped buttercream at room temperature and give yourself plenty of time to chill the cake after each stage. The right tools will also help you achieve superior results so make sure you check out the equipment list.

       

      You will need:

      -Frosting of your choice (try my recipe for buttercream or ganache)
      -Large palette knife
      -Side scraper 
      -flat cheese grater or a long knife

       

      Method:

      • First you’ll need to make sure your cake is trimmed to within a few millimetres of the cake board it’s sitting on. The best way of doing this is to shave your previously chilled cake all the way round with a cheese grater the type of cheese grater I mentioned in the equipment list. Alternatively, use a long knife and carve it down like a kebab!
      • Next apply a crumb coat. The crumb coat is a thin coating of buttercream that holds the sponges in place and catches any loose crumbs, ensuring your final coat is flawless. Start by applying a generous amount of buttercream to the top of the cake. With a palette knife, spread the buttercream from the centre of the cake towards the edges and down the sides. 
      •  Subtly rock the palette knife back and forth to disperse the buttercream and turn the turntable in the opposite direction to that which you are spreading. 
      • Ensure the cake is completely, but scantly, covered. You will be applying a thicker layer at the next stage. For now, place the side scraper with its straight edge against the cake. With your other hand turn the turntable until you’ve scraped the excess buttercream off. The buttercream may be just translucent in places, but remember, this is a preliminary coating that will be obscured during the next stage.
      •  Place your cake back on the turn table once you’re ready and repeat the previous steps with a generous amount of fresh, crumblless frosting. However, this time when you’re using the side scraper try and turn the turntable in as fluid a motion as possible while ensuring you keep the blade at a 45° with your other hand. If need be, lift the side scraper, remove any excess buttercream with the palette knife or on the side of your bowl and repeat till you have a nice slick finish.
      • Some excess buttercream may have gathered around the top edge off the cake at this point. Using your palette knife, carefully brush this towards the centre of the top of the cake, aiming all the time for sharp edges, straight sides and a flat top. 
      • Once you’re happy with it, pop it back in the fridge.
      • How to frost a cake

       

      How to torte a cake

       It’s best to work with chilled or indeed slightly frozen cake layers. So make sure you’ve baked them well in advance. All fillings should be freshly whipped and room temperature. 

      You will need:

      -Cake leveller or bread knife
      -Turn table
      -Non slip cake mat
      -Cake board or drum the same size as the cake you plan to decorate
      -Large palette knife

       

        


      Method:

      •  Using a cake leveller or bread knife, remove the dome from each sponge. Make sure they are all the same depth (around 1”). 

      •  Put the non stick mat on the turntable. Place a cake board or drum the same size as your cake on top. If the mat is sticking out from underneath then trim to a few millimetres within the board or drum, otherwise it will get in the way while you’re working. Put a dab of buttercream or ganache on the cake board/drum, place your first sponge, brown side down, on top and press down slightly to ensure it sticks in place. If required, brush a little sugar syrup on the surface and give it a few moments to soak in.
      •  If you’re adding a loose filling such as jam or caramel, load a piping bag with some of your buttercream or ganache and pipe a couple of rings, approximately 1cm thick, round the edge of the sponge and spoon the filling within. Ensure it doesn’t exceed the height of the piped rings. This acts as a sort of dam to hold the filling within. If you’re not adding a runny filling, evenly spread the buttercream or ganache over the entire sponge so it’s approximately 1cm thick. Go right up to the edge.
      •  Place the next sponge on top and repeat as necessary, however, do make sure the final sponge is the brown, not trimmed side up, so flip it if need be.
      •  Once all the sponges are assembled, gently press on top to ensure the cake is level and free of air bubbles. Brush a little sugar syrup on top if need be. Wrap the whole thing in clingfilm so it doesn’t dry out and chill until you’re ready for the next step. 
      Victoria Sponge Cake
       
      An alternative way to to torte a cake is to cut each sponge in half, so each layer is thinner and alternate the filling like in the above example.