The One Step You Shouldn’t Skip Before Frosting a Cake

updated May 1, 2019
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If you’re anything like me, baking and assembling a frosted cake is one of the truest tests of my patience. You see, I am not a patient person, and as soon as I take my cake layers out of the oven, I want to frost them immediately. I am overly eager to see the final results and cut myself a thick slice — and can you blame me? — but it’s important to stick those layers in the refrigerator for a bit before frosting. Here’s why.

Cold Cakes Make for Fewer Crumbs

We all know cake is a delicate thing, and even if you let it cool completely to room temperature before frosting, it’s still tender and fragile. Instead of simply trying to frost it at room temperature, wrap the layers in plastic and put them in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours or even overnight. In fact, the layers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week if you need to space out your cake baking project.

Once the cake is sufficiently chilled, you can trim the layers, stack and fill the cake, and apply a crumb coat, which is a thin layer of frosting that covers the sides and top of the cake. Then stick the whole cake back in the refrigerator for another 10 to 15 minutes; this will help the crumb coat you’ve applied firm up so it won’t slide around when you apply the final thick layer of frosting over it.

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