Ina Garten's Simple Trick To Avoid Crumbs While Frosting A Cake

Crumbs in the frosting of your three-layer red velvet cake is an all too common occurrence, but a sight you would rather avoid when spreading that layer of creamy goodness atop this dessert. Sadly, a crumb coat, as it is affectionately referred to, is a seemingly necessary evil. This pre-layer of frosting traps all those errant little specks of cake like glue so they can't go anywhere, but they don't look all that pretty either. Fortunately, Ina Garten has a mess-free cake decorating trick to ice a cake without getting crumbs in the frosting. 

In an Instagram post video, the Barefoot Contessa reveals the secret to a crumb-free frost: You want to always go in one direction and you should resist the temptation to move your spatula back or forth or lift it up during the process. Similar to how you color with a crayon, when you are frosting your cake, going in one direction keeps things smooth and doesn't create any friction to stir up the crumb. Additionally, Garten says you want to always use an offset spatula when you are pushing your icing one way as you spin the cake around on its cake plate. 

Warm your offset spatula

To get this trick right every time, you need to first start with a cold cake so the icing doesn't fall off. You also want to use long smooth strokes when you are applying your frosting, and the longer the stroke, the smoother the frosting will appear and the fewer lines will be visible. Additionally, the chef notes that if you want a smooth finish, warming the spatula in hot water, drying it off, and then running it around the sides of your cake will achieve this velvety, professional texture on the finished product. 

But she doesn't end there. In her video post, Garten leaves fans with one last tip to help avoid crumbs and produce a professional-looking cake. She says, "make the cake in advance, refrigerate it, and the icing will be easier to spread." That said, the store-bought is fine cookbook author also concedes that perfection is not the aim when baking a cake. How it tastes trumps how it looks.