Getting a smooth finish on your fondant or buttercream cake is easier than you may think. All you need is a simple crumb coat.
This often-omitted step is the key to professional results, even when you aren’t planning on a traditional fondant-covered cake. Read over our friendly guide, watch our helpful video, then… get ready to (c)rumble!!!!
What is a crumb coat?
A crumb coat is a very thin layer of icing used to “glue” crumbs down, seal in the cake’s moisture (super useful when you need to store the cake before decorating it) and provide an even base for additional frosting. It’s basically a delicious primer for your cake masterpiece that keeps the cake on the cake side, and the icing on the icing side. Everyone in their own dance space.
Ready, Set, Spread
Use a spatula to spread icing over your cake. It should be thin enough that you can see the cake (and crumbs) through it. Don’t worry about visible crumbs, it’s all part of the process! Smooth the icing as best as you can and let it dry until it crusts over, or feels dry to the touch. The crumb coat should be dry before you apply the final layer of icing.
Yep! Once the crumb coat dries, you are ready to continue icing and decorating. At this point, continue icing the cake as you normally would and count on your trusty crumb coat to keep your cake surface from getting into your frosting. It’s a beautiful thing.
Tips and Tricks
- Go easy on the flour when preparing your pan—extra flour can cause crumbs
- Make sure the cake is completely cooled; a hot cake will melt the crumb coat
- If making a layered cake, level and tort the cake before you begin
- You can use any kind of buttercream icing to crumb coat your cake, just make sure it is thin enough to not pull at the cake surface
- Avoid glazes or royal icing for crumb coating – they may be yummy but they’re too sticky for a crumb coat
- If decorating a cake with a star fill-in, use the same color icing to crumb coat your cake
- If using fondant, do one more layer of icing over your crumb coat before draping your fondant – this helps the fondant stick to the cake
Ready to try your spatula skills on a crumb coat of your own? Take a peek at our video, gather your tools and go for it!
We’d love for you to let us know how it went in the comments below, or tag us on Instagram @WiltonCakes.