How to Frost a Cake

Frost cakes like an Ace! With a few simple steps (and a little wax paper or foil), you can ice perfect layer cakes worthy of Good Housekeeping‘s front cover.

Once cake layers have completely cooled and are removed from the pan:

  1. To avoid crumbs creeping into your frosting, gently brush layers with a pastry brush before assembling. Place first cake layer on serving plate. Tuck strips of wax paper or foil underneath edges to cover plate and catch any unwanted frosting drips.
  2. Top first layer with 1/2 c. of frosting. Spread over layer top, but not the sides. Carefully set next layer on top of first. Repeat until all layers have been added.
  3. Spread a thin layer of frosting around the sides and top of the cake to lock in any crumbs. If you have time, wait 30 minutes before proceeding to ensure the cake is set.
  4. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, swirl a generous layer of frosting over the sides of the cake, starting at the bottom of the cake, then building to the top. If your frosting is thick enough, build a “ridge” of frosting that extends 1/4 in. above the top of the cake.
  5. Frost the top of your cake, blending into the “ridge.” Remove wax paper or foil, take a picture, and give yourself a high-five: You’ve frosted the perfect cake!