Why You Should Start Dipping Your Icing Spatula In Hot Water

Frosting a cake can seem like a daunting task, one better left to the expert bakers and pastry chefs among us. The truth is, with some patience and a few tips and tricks, you can make the process a whole lot easier.

The first step is to have the right tools. Having a good icing spatula is vital. Experts recommend using an offset spatula — a spatula with a long, narrow blade — for frosting cakes (via The Kitchn). As Fine Cooking notes, the length of an offset spatula creates distance between you and the cake, so you won't accidentally drag your knuckles through the frosting.

Another important step is to apply an initial "crumb layer" to your naked cake (via Martha Stewart). As the name indicates, a crumb layer keeps crumbs from coming off the cake and comingling with the frosting. After applying the crumb layer to each layer of your cake, pop the whole cake in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to let it set (via Southern Living).

After your crumb layer has set, it's time for the last layer of frosting — and that's when this simple, but essential trick comes in.  

How to get that perfectly smooth layer of frosting

Once the final layer of frosting is applied to your cake, it's time to smooth it out for that perfectly polished look. And you won't need anything fancy to accomplish it. All you need to achieve that smooth, even layer of frosting is a little hot water. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, just heat some water on the stove or in the microwave, then dip the blade of your offset spatula into the bowl of water. Once you sense the metal has gotten hot, take the spatula out of the water and quickly dry it off. Then, use the still-warm spatula (and its heat) to smooth out the icing. CakeArt recommends holding the spatula at a slight angle so only one side slides across the surface. Clean off your spatula after each application and repeat this process until you have the desired finish.

That's it. The right spatula, a few tricks, and a little trial and error, and you'll soon be frosting cakes with ease.