Wondering how to frost a wedding cake? There are several ways to go.
This cake has been frosted with a simple swirled pattern called rough frosting and decorated with fresh herbs.
For many, even professional bakers, the hardest part of decorating a cake isn’t the fancy designs, but the frosting underneath. There are a few tricks to help get a nice smooth finish, but remember if it doesn’t work out the way you hoped you can always cover the entire surface with texture such as cornelli lace, a leaf or flower pattern, swirled frosting, or combing. This cake has combing on the sides. It is done by frosting the cake with a thick layer of frosting, then using a plastic cake decorating comb to scrape away some of the frosting leaving a nice texture on the sides. The lines can be horizontal, vertical, straight or wavy.
The first step in frosting a cake is to brush away any loose crumbs with your hands or a soft pastry brush.
The next step is to apply a thin coating of frosting known as the “crumb coat”. Thin some frosting with a few drops of milk. Apply with long strokes (the more you hesitate, the more crumbs you will have.) After the cake is sealed with this thin layer of frosting, put it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set up. As one layer is chilling, work on the next.
To continue, mound frosting on top of the cake and direct it down the sides of the cake using a small bent handle metal spatula. Frosting should be applied generously. You should use vertical strokes around the cake for this step.
Using a larger bent-handle spatula, begin smoothing the frosting by sweeping around the side of the cake (or holding the spatula still and turning your cake turntable if you have one). Return excess frosting to the bowl. You may also smooth the frosting in a vertical manner if you prefer. The vertical lines can be a pleasing design element.
To get a really smooth finish, dip your spatula into hot water. The heat will iron out most of the imperfections. You can keep adding layers of frosting until you are satisfied with results. One secret to frosting a cake is to really pile on the frosting. Each time you smooth you will be removing the excess.
Making Delicious Frosting
Homemade frosting is the best! We often make ours with real almond extract which everyone seems to love. But the flavor can become more intense or complex with the addition of another flavor such as real vanilla, coconut, or hazelnut. Try one teaspoon almond + one teaspoon vanilla + 1/2 teaspoon each of coconut and hazelnut extracts. Yum!
Always use real extracts. Artificial flavorings leave a metallic aftertaste. Real flavors don’t cost that much more but they really add a lot to the enjoyment of the cake.
Basic Buttercream Frosting
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 pounds powdered sugar
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
2 teaspoons real almond extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream
In a large mixer bowl, cream together butter, vanilla extract, and half of the powdered sugar. Add cream and the rest of the sugar, beating on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Makes about 6 cups.
Use vanilla extract. Substitute cold brewed coffee for the cream and add 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
Add 2 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, melted and cooled.
Use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon orange extract.