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:
- 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.