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How to Fill & Frost a Wedding Cake

Let chef Michelle Doll show you how to fill and frost a cake in this Howcast video about wedding cake decorating.

Transcript

Alright, so we've got our cakes baked, we've got our tier boards cut, and we have some delicious Swiss butter cream ready to go.

So now we're gonna go ahead and fill our cake tier. First thing I'm gonna do is take some wet paper towel and put it in the middle of my turntable. This is a standard turn table, there's actually a little nozzle at the bottom here where you can tighten it so it's hard to move or loosen it so it's easy. Important to remember in case you pick it up. These do pop out and a 15 pound weight is gonna come crashing down on your foot.

So, I have it a little loose so I can spin it around, my wet paper towel, I have my tier board that I'm going to center here. A lot of birthday cakes typically you'll just take two layers of cake, put them on top of each other with a layer in between. Wedding cakes tend to have three layers in between, they're a little bit fancier. The pieces are smaller so people wanna get more of the frosting, more of the good stuff.

What I have here is a cake leveler, it's kind of a piano wire, that I'm going to slide through the cake. It works great on cakes that are 12 inches or smaller, anything bigger than that you wanna use a large serrated blade. So what I'm gonna do is just drag this through, keeping it nice and flat on the tabletop. And I'll do it over here as well. And this is when you call out to your family that there's cake scraps, and people will come to gobble them up.

So I've got 2 different offset spatulas here, and they're offset because they're got this nice little bend in the blade there. I wanna chalk up fairly high on it so that my index finger is right on the bend there, and that's gonna give me the most control. And you can play around with these. This one has a lot of tension, it's pretty hard to move around. Whereas, this longer one is really wobbly. So it's a matter of personal preference, what you like best. I like to do this on larger cakes, and have something a little firmer for smaller cakes around the side. So you'll see me using them both.

The first thing I'm gonna do is take a little bit of chocolate Swiss butter cream, smear that on the bottom of the board and as that sets up it's going to keep the cake from sliding off, which is something we want to avoid at all costs. I'll start with the bottom. That gets centered right on the cake tier. Constantly cleaning up for crumbs. And especially here. I'm gonna fill it with a chocolate Swiss butter cream. And more is more, you can always take it off, if you keep putting it back on you're gonna find it takes longer to make so start with a lot, nice big healthy serving.

And the movement I'm making here is kind of like your royal wave, going back and forth with your wrist motions your hand is nice and firm. That way I'm not picking up any crumbs and bringing them back into the frosting. So first I kind of spread it around, and now is when you start to turn it. And when you turn it, that wet paper towel is gonna hold it in place and you're gonna get a nice, smooth, even, it's all about being even. You don't want your cake to be tilted. If the bottom tier is tilted the top tier is gonna be really tilted.

Alright? So we've got a nice, straight, you can see where it's picking up excess so we've got it nice and flat. Top goes on here. And a lot of cakes you'll notice drop off to the side a little bit that's not something to panic about, you're gonna fill that in with frosting. I've never heard anybody complain about too much frosting on one side. And the same motion.

The turn table's your friend, let that do a lot of the work for you. Here we go. Okay.

And wedding cakes are typically 4 layers of cake, so I've got another layer right here. Again, I'm just sliding it through. And more cake scraps.

So now I'm gonna go on the top, use the top portion of the cake. That way I'm reserving this bottom side which is perfectly squared off and that's gonna be the top of my cake. It's gonna make it really nice and sharp.

Alright, so I'm gonna take the bottom of my last tier. Brush off any loose crumbs. And that goes on upside down. And you wanna look over the top, make sure it's not too far off to the side, otherwise it's going to come out as you go around the sides. So what I like to do is take a bench scraper. I love these when I don't have a long handle so that they're totally flat. Put that on my board just like this and see if I've got any cake that is pushed over to the side a little bit.

And you can see right here I've got my cake pushed a little bit over, so I'm just gonna manhandle it. Push it off to the side, clean off my fingers, and, it's all nice and straight.

And now it's time to do the sides of the cake. And we wanna build them up so they are perfectly, perfectly vertical. And I'm gonna do that with the offset spatula. And I've got some vanilla butter cream here, move it close, the further away it is the more you're gonna drop on the counter top. There we go. And I'm gonna do that same waving motion back and forth, and that's gonna keep crumbs from joining the outside of my butter cream. And you can do this fairly quickly, it's actually a lot faster the more butter cream you use.

There we go. And you can see I've kept it pretty crumb free. Now I'm gonna go back in and fill in any gaps. And it looks a little crazy and messy right now and that's totally fine, It's nice and built up.

So, before I do the top of the cake, I wanna smooth out my sides. I'm going to have my hand on top here and if its got butter cream in there I'm just gonna make a giant hand print. So I'll move this off to the side a little bit. Slide this in perfectly straight up and down until I feel that tier board we cut. And since we have that little lip around the tier board as we drag our bench scraper around it's just gonna take off the excess and now more. And if you see your cake through it don't fret, it's totally fine we're gonna cover it, this is just the crumb coat. We're gonna cover it with either more butter cream in a pattern, or we're gonna cover it with fondant. There we go.

So you can see how much excess was on the sides there. Now it's gonna get a little easier. But you wanna make sure this is perfectly vertical. A lot of people wanna tilt it one side or the other, and when you do that you end up with a cake that's bowed out a little bit.

So I'll take some of that excess plop it on top, and use the same method as before. You always wanna chill your butter cream before fondanting it. It is fairly soft and if I were to fondant it right now I would get a very marshmallow-y curvy looking corner. I want it to be as straight as possible so I'm gonna chill it.

And I'm just taking off my excess. And don't be afraid to get down on eye level with your cake and spin it around. Make sure those sides are perfectly up and down and your top is nice and flat.

Again one more time.

And I'm just gonna drag that little lip straight in. Filling in any little gaps. Every little nick, will show up underneath the fondant, it's not a forgiving medium. Alright so we've got our cake all nice and smooth on the edges, our top looks good and straight. So, I'm just gonna pop this in the refrigerator.

And that is how you frost a cake.

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