3 Secrets of Pro Cake Decorators

updated May 1, 2019
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Creating the smooth, flawless buttercream finish you often find on professionally made cakes comes with practice. It also comes with the knowledge of a few insider techniques.

So, some simple secrets from a pro baker’s kitchen, straight to yours. These are three of the easiest ways we get that gorgeous finish on our layer cakes.

Successful cake decorating is all about the consistency of the buttercream and using your cake decorating tools to your advantage. Some frostings are more forgiving — like the Swiss meringue buttercream used in the cake above — but regardless of what type of frosting you’re working with, there are a few extra things the pros do for a pretty cake that can also help you reach frosting success.

1. Pro bakers start with a crumb coat.

Ice the cake with a thin coat of frosting to trap all of the crumbs first to prevent them getting into the final, outside layer of frosting. Chill in the refrigerator for about 10 to 15 minutes between coats. This firm, almost waxy layer is then the easiest thing to ice over with a final smooth, perfect layer. (Just be sure to not mix any crumb-containing buttercream back into the bowl.)

Learn More About Crumb Coats: What Is a Crumb Coat?

2. Pro bakers use a cake turntable.

A rotating cake stand is a great investment if you frequently make layer cakes. Spin the cake and let an offset spatula and turntable do all of the work for you, picking up excess frosting and smoothing it back out as you go.

3. Pro bakers heat up their tools.

Run an offset spatula, metal icing smoother, or bench scraper under hot water; dry it; and then smooth out the frosting of a slightly chilled cake. The heat of the metal lightly melts and evens out the frosting and helps to create the ultra-smooth finishing touch.

Do you have other pro tips, tricks, and secrets you’ve picked up on how to make an extra-gorgeous layer cake?

Read more here with tons of step-by-step photos on how to frost and decorate a layer cake: How To Frost & Decorate a Layer Cake