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How to Do a Crumb Coat for Your Cake

Learn how to do a crumb coat so you won't have crumbs in your frosting from pastry chef Katie Rosenhouse in this Howcast cake decorating video.


Hi, I'm Katie. Today I'm going to show you the best way to ice a cake without crumbs.

Really simple process. Here I have two layers of the small layer cake. It's about a six-inch, but you can do this with any size or shape, and a big bowl of vanilla frosting ready to go. You could either make your own, or you can buy it, if you have to. But I prefer that you don't. But I'm taking my big, kind of scoop, on my rubber spatula, and I'm just going to fill the center of my cake first. So it'll be ready to go. Not too much frosting, just enough.

You can see I'm using my large offset spatula, and a turn table so I can get a nice, even layer on my cake. And that's it. If you really want to make sure that you're cake won't move around while you're decorating, it helps to take a little bit of that frosting, and just smoosh it right on the bottom of your cake platter, and that way, it won't move around. If you really want to make sure, just pop it in the freezer for about 10 minutes, and it'll set up nice and firm. But that should be great.

So you could see, I don't go all the way to my edge. I'm just leaving a little bit of space so when I put my cake down, it's not all going to come out the sides. And then you can top it off. Beautiful. Just press down nice and firm. And then you're going to see, I'm going to put a big, giant dollop of frosting right on top, and I'm going to use my tools to just work it down the sides.

So start out with more than you think you need. You can always add more later, or you can always take it off. So it's just easy to get it on there first and not have to worry about it. So I have my big dollop, I have my offset, and you can see this turn table is great because I can spin as I go, and I'm just lightly working it. But once you hit the edge, this is a crumb coat, so we're not looking for a thick layer of frosting. We really just want to barely coat the surface, so that when we put another layer on, it'll be nice and smooth. Any crumbs will be caught in this first layer, and this is called a crumb coat.

So once I get all the way around, you can see, it starts to move down the sides. I'm going to take my tool, and you could see, I'm just angling it down and pushing the frosting down the side of the cake. But you could see, it looks totally messy now, but that's kind of the goal. We just really want to cover this with frosting, as quickly as possible. And you can see now, I'm just turning and pushing, turning and pushing. And you should really be able to see your cake through the frosting, a nice, thin layer.

Once you get it kind of all over, if you feel like you need more, like I might need a little bit more, be careful when you're digging back in. If there are any crumbs on your offset, just be careful you're not getting it back into your bowl of nice, clean frosting.

You could see, I'm almost completely covered, and the last thing I'm going to do is go in with my bench scraper, and if you get frosting on your hand, just eat it. But all I'm doing is just angling and pulling it towards me. You could really see the cake through. That's the goal. Don't be afraid of that. Don't feel like you don't have enough frosting. This is only your crumb coat.

So now that my sides are all clean, you can see I'm doing the same thing. My edges are kind of rigid. I'm just going to angle my bench scraper and pull towards me. And that's really going to clean up my edges.

That's how you do a great crumb coat.

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