How to Ice a Cake

Pastry chef Heather Bertinetti demonstrates how to use the right tools when icing a cake. Follow her easy step-by-step guide.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Heather Bertinetti, and you're watching Today, I'm going to show you how to ice a cake. The first thing that I do is I grab a spatula. I always keep my icing in a bowl on the side. It's just more accessible that way. I like to dollop and start from the top with a little bit of icing. What I'm doing here is called a crumb coat. So, we're going to start from the top. This is an offset spatula, and I move all of the icing to the edge, and I make sure it's as smooth as possible as I go around. The idea for the bowl on the side is I could also swipe my offset spatula and clean it off. So, once I have all the icing on the top to the edge, I try to make it as thin as possible, and I wipe it off on the edge of the bowl. Now, I'm going to start with the sides of the cake. This is the most complicated part. This is what I call building the wall. I take a little bit of icing on the tip of my spatula, and I start from the side and I work my way towards me. Now see, I'm leaving a lip on the upper edge. You have to make sure that you have an excess lip of icing all the way around the top. So we'll go around the entire cake, and don't worry if your cake starts to wiggle, because by the time you get to the other side it will straighten out in the end. A good trick with icing too is to make sure that it's always room temperature. The colder the icing is the more it will pull the cake, and you can risk tearing it. So as I go around, I'm making sure to keep my offset spatula flush and straight to the side of the cake. And there you have it, there's the sides. Now, I'm not going to use my spatula any more. This is where the fun comes in. This is called a bench scraper. The trick with the bench scraper is if I want to get these sides really smooth. I'm going to use my turntable here, and I'm going to use this to smooth my sides. See how the angle that I have this pointing? I have it pointing towards me. Now I'm going to press into the cake and turn the turntable at the same time. This creates a straight edge on the sides of the cake. See how smooth and easy that is? Now I have to take down my wall. This is what's going to smooth out the top and create a perfect top of the surface. Taking my offset spatula and keeping it straight and flush to the top of the cake, I put my left hand and I pull towards me and bring it to the center. All the excess we swipe off again in our garbage bowl, as I like to call it. I turn it again and I pull it towards me and I swipe. So, we're knocking down the sides of what we call the wall of icing. And there you have it. It looks pretty smooth from this point. And now, I want to clean up my sides. All that pulling of the cake could have made a little messy edge. So one more time, and this is the last time you use your bench knife. I turn it again and I smooth out the sides, keeping it straight and flush with the cake. So right now, I'm going to stick this in the refrigerator so it hardens for about five to 10 minutes, and then we'll take it out and we'll repeat the process one more time, and then we'll have our final product. So, I'm just finishing up the cake here. I just repeated the first process for the second time. And that, my friends, is a finished cake. I'm Heather Bertinetti. Thanks for watching me on

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