In the last rendition of Frost This, we talked about colored frostings. But in Part Deuce we’re tackling the wild world of frosting, this time to showcase how to frost a cake and get a very even base of frosting for your mad decorating skills.
A few times now I’ve been commissioned to bake cakes, I’m certainly no professional but I watch enough videos and read enough books to get by. I’ve found some pretty awesome information that does no good sitting in the recesses of my brain.
To start off though, you’ll need my basic go-to recipe for buttercream frosting. The reason I’ve made it my go-to, is because it is very light an airy, almost the opposite of what most buttercreams usually are. While you get that buttery taste, it’s lightened up with the incorporation of A LOT of air thus making it much more appealing on the palate. If you don’t have time to make your own, then I simply suggest taking two cans of frosting and whipping them with a stand or hand mixer thus incorporating more air and making them much more flexible. Excess frosting, especially thick ones will pull back crumbs and possibly the base layer of the cake as you try and frost it. This leaves crumbs everywhere and a big mess to try and cover up.
- 1 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of cream
- In a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar.
- In a mixture on low speed, incorporate the butter into the sugar. Once mixed together, turn speed up to medium and allow to beat for 3-5 minutes.
- Add in the remaining ingredients with mixer on low, bring up to medium speed again and mix for one more additional minute.
- One recipe should be enough for a 9" x 13" cake, or for 24 cupcakes.
Once you have your frosting, the next step is filling a piping bag. You may ask why I do this if I’m frosting a cake. The sides and even the top of the cake need a lot less frosting than you would imagine, using a piping bag ensures a limited amount of frosting on an area. The sides for example if piped with a piping bag, will get an even amount on all areas. This allows you to use the same amount of pressure when spreading giving you a flat and even area without waves and bumps.
Once you have a semi flat area of frosting spread out on all sides, it’s time to move on to one of my favorite tricks, (it’s also a technique that allows beautiful pieces of cheesecake to be cut for flawless presentation). You’ll need a large glass filled with hot water, and a clean dishtowel. Taking your clean offset spatula (or knife you’re using to spread the frosting), immerse it into the hot water for a few seconds. Remove it and dry it off completely. Starting on the edge of the cake farthest away from you, keeping the blade flat against the cake, slowly and with even pressure pull it towards you. You’ll see that the warm blade melts the butter helping to smooth out any creases. If you linger too long you’ll leave an indent of the blade. It takes practice, but once you get the hang of this method it will ensure beautiful seamless bases of frosting.
Want to see how it’s done? Watch my first YouTube video! Comment, critique and tell me what other things I can help you with in the world of frosting, or in food.
To full plates and eating your tarte out,