5 Tips, Tricks, and Hints to Icing your Perfect Cake

I love making cakes!  Primarily I have experience with cupcakes and birthday cakes for family members.  This weekend I’m pulling out the big guns as I create my first 4 tiered cake for a wedding complete with cupcakes as well!  I’ve not let my nerves get to me (I’m sure that will come when I pull up to the venue and the time comes to stack my layers).  Lately I’ve found myself foundering over YouTube videos to find any tips, tricks and helpful hints and then tried it out on my daughter’s 2nd birthday (videoed below).

Finished Decorated cake

Tip #1: Invest in a turntable! 

For many years I worked with my cake sat on the counter and manually turned it around.  While it worked fine, it was very difficult/near impossible to get that totally smooth finish you see floating around your Pinterest board.  Setting the cake on the turntable made things indescribably efficient. Here is the turntable I use: Wilton High and Low Cake Turntable

Tip # 2: Use an angled spatula! 

RG’s 2nd birthday cake featured below is my first time working with an angled spatula and it was life changing!  I have a regular long Wilton spatula that I had always used so thought that I had everything I needed. WRONG! I’m not sure what it is that makes the angled spatula so much better, but it helped more than I ever could have imagined with getting that smooth, even finish that I had always struggled with.

Tip #3: Do not skip the step of refrigerating your cake! 

I work a fulltime job and also have a herd of Boer goats I raise.  Add that to life with a 2 and 4 year old and my hands are full. When I get in the kitchen to bake, it’s typically late in the evening when my girls are in bed.  Due to this, I typically am in a bit more of a rush and try to omit any “time wasters”.

I’ve heard of refrigerating your cake before, but thought it would be a waste of time and just try to dry out my precious fluffy cake.  I decided for this cake that I would go ahead and stick it in the fridge after applying the crumb coat just to see if it truly made a difference and if it was a step I needed to make sure to add. Whoa! I cannot believe I haven’t been doing this!  It’s different than allowing your cake to sit out with the crumb coat on before you layer the beautiful final coat of icing.

The cold air takes to the icing in a different type of way and really seals itself to your cake, which is what you want to a) lock the air out of your cake to keep it from drying out and b) make your experience icing your cake much easier.  I let my cake set in the fridge with its crumb coat for about 30 minutes and it was perfect!  

Tip #4: Run your angled spatula under warm/hot water before use!

Mixed with tip #3, this gave me an ideal experience!  The warm spatula lays the icing right up on the cake and this may be the main tip that gives it the smoothest finish.  I happened upon this finding when I by accident had cleaned off my spatula once and quickly went back to the cake with it.  This is a major improvement that I was not expecting to discover!

Tip #5: Do not stack your tiers until you have each one completed!  

In the video you watch below you will notice that I applied my final layer of icing once the tiers were stacked.  This was quite possibly the dumbest decision I’ve made in the past 6 months (because lets face it, I do make dumb decisions from time to time.)  Please do yourself a favor and don’t forget this pertinent step. If you don’t follow this step, prepare yourself for smudging the area where your two cake tiers meet and possibly using some colorful vocabulary.

For more of my recipes head back to my Cooking page.