This Step Will Make Frosting Cake So Much Easier And Mess-Free

Frosting can be one of the trickiest parts of baking a cake. Sure, you may be able to whip up a classic white cake or chocolate mocha cake with no problem, but frosting the cake is a different matter. All too often, the frosting can turn out lumpy, uneven, or full of crumbs. So, what are you doing wrong? You may have already heard tips like dipping your spatula in hot water to get the smoothest possible layer of frosting, or using a long, offset spatula, as Fine Cooking recommends. A good spatula won't save you if you skip a few crucial steps, though.

Most home bakers know to let a cake completely cool before bringing out the buttercream — if you frost your cake straight out of the oven, you'll get a melted mess. However, letting the cake get to room temperature isn't enough, according to Kitchn, you'll need a few extra steps to get the best possible surface for icing.

Steps for a mess-free cake

The Spruce Eats recommends chilling your cake before trying to ice it. Let the cake get to room temperature, then wrap it in plastic to keep in the moisture. Place the cake in the refrigerator or freezer for a few hours — or even a few days, if you don't want to frost it right away. A cake that's been sitting in the refrigerator will be less prone to crumbs than a room temperature cake, making for easier, smoother icing.

Further, as Southern Living explains, you'll need a thin layer of frosting called a crumb coat. Once the cake is fully cooled, apply a thin layer of freshly made frosting so that it barely covers the cake. Once the frosting is smooth and completely covers the surface of the cake, put the whole thing back in the fridge until the frosting is set. This crumb coat glues the crumbs to the surface and provides an even base for the primary layer of frosting, and seals in moisture if you don't plan on decorating your cake right away.

Once your crumb coat is fully set, you can add the final coat of frosting. With a smooth, crumb-free surface to work on, it'll glide off the spatula like a dream — leaving you with a sleek, professional-looking cake.