How to Frost a Cake Like a Pro: Smooth with Sharp Edges and No Crumbs! | Michelle S. | Skillshare

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How to Frost a Cake Like a Pro: Smooth with Sharp Edges and No Crumbs!

teacher avatar Michelle S., Teacher, Baker and Cupcake Maker!

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Decorating Tools

    • 4. Tips to Bake a Great Cake

    • 5. Make a Yummy Buttercream Frosting

    • 6. Level Your Cake

    • 7. Moisten Your Cake

    • 8. Stack the Layers and Crumb Coat Your Cake

    • 9. Frost Your Cake

    • 10. Create Sharp Edges

    • 11. Smooth Your Frosting

    • 12. Final Words

    • 13. Bonus: Swirly Cupcake

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About This Class

If you love decorating cakes but can’t seem to smoothly frost your cake, eliminate crumbs or create sharp edges, this class is for you!

Michelle has been frosting cakes and teaching classes for over ten years! She will teach you tips and tricks to frost your cake that will save you time and frustration and will make your cake look professional!

In this class, you will learn:

  • Tricks to bake a perfect cake
  • Delicious icing that frosts a cake well
  • Simple syrup to prevent cake drying
  • Leveling, filling and stacking your cake
  • Locking in the crumbs
  • Two techniques to frost your cake
  • Three methods to perfectly smooth your cake

You will be frosting your own cake using tips and techniques from this class.

Whether you are a newbie or a more experienced cake decorator, you will find these simple and effective techniques easy to apply to all of your cakes. Have fun and “go sweeten the world” with your yummy creations!

I have over 150 videos on my YouTube channel ranging from beginner to intermediate. My focus lately has been pull-apart cupcake cakes! Check out the channel:

In addition, you can connect with me on my Facebook page:

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Michelle S.

Teacher, Baker and Cupcake Maker!


Hello, I'm Michelle!

Cake Decorating and Baking Instructor

I was a Wilton Certified Instructor for 10 years! I have taught over 1,000 students techniques such as buttercream, royal icing, fondant, gum paste, tiered cakes, cupcakes, breads, cookies and more! During my time as a WMI, I found that my true passion is teaching and empowering other to make beautiful and unique treats.

Self-Taught and Professional Baker/Cake Decorator

Shortly after beginning my cake decorating career, I began working at a high-end, professional bakery where I refined my skills and honed my techniques.


YouTube Creator

Sweetwater Cakes – have you seen it? I have over 750,000 views on my YouTube channel, and I am helping others “sweeten the world... See full profile

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1. Introduction: So you want to learn how to frost a cake like a probe with a perfectly smooth edges and that crisp top will in this class, you are going to learn exactly those things. Plus how to tort your cake, which means cut off the little top there, as well as give your cake really nice, moist finish. So every byte is delicious and not dried out. In addition, you will learn a really handy butter cream recipe, a recipe that I used probably 75% of the time. As well as how to frost your cake with a crumb coat. A couple of different ways on how to actually do the final coat of your frosting, and a few techniques on how to make your cake perfectly smooth. In addition, I will give you a bonus on to Frost a couple of cupcakes, which is a technique that every baker needs to know. Welcome, I'm Michelle sets in and I have been decorating cakes for over ten years. And I found that my true passion is actually teaching others how to decorate cakes. I had been a Wilton method cake decorating instructor for over ten years. In addition, I have a YouTube channel, Sweetwater cake, that has over a 150 videos. This course is aimed students that are at, at beginning and intermediate level. For the beginners that you will learn everything from torquing your cakes to frosting your cakes. For intermediate, you'll learn how to really polish the skills that you already have to create a super slick and smooth cake. The skills that you learn in this class can be applied toward any cake, whether it be a birthday cake couple or a celebration cake, even an actual wedding cake. I've made many wedding cakes and I use this exact same technique, the project for this class. You guessed it, you are going to frost cake. I want you to try several of the techniques that I share with you to get the smoothest ends. Look, it's cake that you've ever made. I am so thankful that you are here taking this class. Not only will you be able to make a beautiful cake that you really will be able to sweeten the world. Just imagine the smiles on people's faces as you bring them a beautiful cake. And not only that, but imagine those satisfied bellies as people enjoy the case that you wake. 2. Class Project: The class project is to actually Frost a cake and then decorate the cake. However, YouTube, now you're going to start off by making your own cake. And one of the further lessons I will share with you my ten tips for baking a great cake. Once your cake is baked, I will teach you how to make frosting that works really well for this cake. In addition, you will use my techniques to frost your cake, in which ever way you choose. Then you will smooth it out very nicely and then decorate it however you want. 3. Decorating Tools: In this video, we will be using a variety of commonly used cake decorating tools. And I just want to highlight a few of my favorites. And one that I think really important for you to invest in. The first item is a quality pan. Now this is an aluminum pan. Noticed here how the sides are straight. Sometimes when you buy a cake pan, the sites might kind of tilt outward a little bit, and that makes it really difficult to frosty cake. I also like to line my pans with just a circle of parchment paper. And this makes it so my cake pops out every single time. The second item is a turntable. Now, honestly, you could use a Lazy Susan or anything that turns. I have different lines here. This is a fairly inexpensive turntable and maybe it runs about 10, $15, but it's a great investment worth having. You're going to be decorating a lot of cakes. I recommend giving one like this that is quite a bit stirred here. This is a professional turntable that's used in a lot of bakeries. In order to get your cake to stay on the turntable. I just have a little wiener that is like in a kitchen cabinet. But you can also use just a little piece of masking tape or something. Next we have either a serrated knife to cut off the dome that is oftentimes on our cake. Or what I really like for beginners is this little leveling tool. And these actually come in a variety of sizes and makes it really nice because there are little notches on the leveling tool which will make your cake nice and smooth. Because sometimes there's a knife as you're cutting it, you're kinda get a little way of going on, then your cake won't always be level. The next item I recommend is an offset spatula. Now spatulas come in all different shapes and sizes. But this one here is a nine inch bachelor. And I really like it because it's tall enough for my cake. I'm not going to run out of room. And then also this part here is offset, which means that it's not completely straight. This is an essential tool for cake decorating. And this one here is actually kinda special to me. It was my mom and she used it when she decorate a cake for me when I was a little girl. The final tool that I recommend is sort of straight edge, which is really going to help out as you are smoothing the sides of your KC. 4. Tips to Bake a Great Cake: Now before you can begin to have success in frosting your cake, you actually have to bake the cake. So here are ten tips on how to bake a great cake. The first tip is to make sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature. Now this is really important because as you're combining me ingredients together, you don't want temperatures that to add cold AIG or cold butter to affect to the quality or the end product of your cake. If all of your ingredients are at room temperature, you will be able to mix the ingredients together properly, as well as have all of the leavening agents in the cake work together to create that perfect cake. Tip number two is to measure correctly. Honestly, a lot of people don't quite measure correctly. So if your cake has a tendency to not turn out correctly, well, maybe that's because you're not measuring very well. So you want to make sure that your ingredients, your dry ingredients are nice and smooth on the top as you level them out. And make sure that when you measure those liquid ingredients that you get way down to eye level in order to see them well. Tip number three is to scrape the bull. Now whether you're using hand mixer, SDK, makes her or her just mixing by hand. It's going to be really important to use a rubber scraper or a spatula to scrape the bowl well, so that all of your ingredients are incorporated into the batter. Tip number four is to mix just right. Now, this means you don't want to over makes your batter and you don't want to undermine your batter. If you are over mixing or under mixing, you're bad or you might have clumps, or it's over mixed. Ingredients, might rise a bit too much or you're kicked, might become a little bit. Chewy. Tip number five is parchment paper. This is something that I swear by. So this is just a little parchment circle. You can cut them out very easily and placed in the bottom of your pants. Your cake home, never stick to the pan again. And honestly, you don't even need to grease the sides of the pan because your cake will come out every single time with this parchment on the bottom. Tip number six, don't open the oven. Some cakes can be a little finicky, especially German chocolate or red velvet. And if you open the oven a little bit too early, the cake might drop. And then you have to read bake the cake, which is definitely not something that we wanted to do. So try not to open the oven until the cake is almost done. Or you could open the oven halfway through, turn it, and then don't open the oven again until the cake is nearly done. Tip number seven, put your cake directly into the oven once you have it mixed. Once the ingredients had been nixed for revenue, agents start working together creating little air bubbles within your cake. And if you wait maybe half an hour to an hour before you put your cake in the oven, will those air bubbles will have already began to pop, and therefore your cake will not rise correctly. Tip number eight is to poke your cake. Don't prick your cake. So basically using a little toothpick to test if it's done, No, no. This can cause your cake to actually sink in the middle if you use a two before the cake is done. So what I like to do is just use my finger and poke my cake. And if it springs back, then I know that the cake is done. If it doesn't spring back. And then I know that I need to have my take on the oven and a little bit longer. Tip number nine is to freeze the layers. This can be really helpful because it makes the cake a little bit sturdier. If you bake a cake, cool it, and then directly frosted, your cake will be much more fragile and more difficult to frost and decorate. Tip number ten is to bake your cake early, your cake, a day before or two days before. Baking a cake actually on the day of, can cause a lot of stress because it might not be cool enough when it's time to decorate your cake and then your frosting, it's going to start to melt, which will cause a lot of problems. Now here's a bonus tip for all of you that are located at a high altitude. You wanna make sure that you follow a recipe that aligns with the high altitude. So that might mean to decrease the sugar and increase maybe the water or the milk. You might also have to increase the flower a little bit or decreased the baking soda. If you are at a high altitude, use recipes that work really well for you, you might need to take a few recipes that you enjoy and kind of tweak them and play with them just a little bit until you get a cake that turns out really well. And then make sure that you follow these ten tips per great cakes. So that you can actually have a great cake so that you can frost and decorate a beautiful cake. 5. Make a Yummy Buttercream Frosting: And this is at beginners butter cream, and that is sweet and absolutely delicious. So you're going to need some clutter that is softened at room temperature. A little bit of salt to make announces sweet, powdered sugar or confectioner's sugar, or vanilla. And delicious labor and milk to meet the frosting. Nice and green. If you're powdered sugar has any clumps, then your IC is going to have columns as well. So I'd like to sit the confectioner's sugar using this kind of mesh seeth. Now using a spatula and just kind of working through it is my favorite way to do it. Or sometimes I even explained yet, which gets a little messy, but it gets the job done very efficiently. Yes. Crafting signed my letter, eat a bowl, and then I'm using a hand mixer here that you can certainly use a stand mixer as well. So I'll leave that letter intelligence, icing cream, Ellie adding a little bit of milk, which will basically make our frosting not so stiff. The solver here will make the butter or frosting gathered not as sweet, because sometimes this recipe can be a little on this side. And you can certainly use extracts of the sides. And now let me be a peppermint, all of it. And it will really just give your IC. And we look forward. We're going to add my 100 sugar into different stages. Just mix it all together. It is alone, are operating. Now keep in mind how to jigger tends to go up in the air kind of like the clouds. So this can't yell a little on the VCs right? Now. I'm going to add the rest of my powdered sugar. And again, just the revered for that allowed energy eager to go everywhere. Now this is a nice beginner fast. You can offsite, use DBS switched moraine, butter cream, or and it's Heinrich better clean it. A very different flavor of letters still delicious and work well when you meet me. Know, kelp, nice and creamy is pressed. But like kinda gentleness, Bachelet doesn't really fall over too much sign UI to add just a little bit more milk, which will make it a lot easier to frost Marquis in its time. He's dy and so much easier to plastic IQ when you're fasting is a little bit thinner. So let me stick my thatch like in Paula where a little bit this frosting is ready to go. 6. Level Your Cake: Our take is 80 and ready to go. So I like to take a better night phages little arrive along the edges of the tank. So that's not sticking to the pan. And then I will flip it out. And it comes up every time because of that parchment paper. And so there are two ways to level of your team. And the first is using a serrated knife and which is essentially just a friend. So I want to make sure that my arm is very level. And I'm basically going to very carefully dome off the Cape. This technique He's practice. Sometimes people even used to think that the guy. But those yummy little tops, thank Adam publishes. You'll need to level your key is to use at the leveling to a like this on if it's going to make sure that all the little notches are the same hand. That means that we are going to discuss saw your cake back and forth, back and forth to make sure we keep the level nice and straight. And then it really well being your cake nice and level off top. If your pH is bigger than this one, you can actually get a kink leveling tool that's up to you. The team inches off. And we can get to the end. Just be careful that it doesn't break the edge of the Caixa to put my hands there. And again, we have another TCS name. 7. Moisten Your Cake: So simple syrup is incredibly easy to make. We just have two ingredients. So I'm going to put in one cup of boiling water. And then I'm going to add equal portion, so one cup of sugar. And then I'm just going to stir it until the sugar dissolves. And as you can see, it doesn't take much time for this water too. Absorb all of the sugar. Typically simple sort of on the cake. There are two different techniques. My favorite technique is just using a spray bottle. I spoil the cupcakes are the cake with a simple syrup and like it because it's a really nice way to evenly distribute this simple syrup all over the entire cake or cupcake. Another technique is just using a pastry brush and dipping into the simple syrup and kinda drizzling over the cake. This technique is definitely missed a year, but it totally works. The fun thing about simple serves it, you can actually customize them. Add a little bit of lemon juice. Grandma, Yay. I'm an extract any type of flavoring to intensify the simple syrup, which then intensifies the flavor of the cake. And then not only were the cake be extra moist, but it will be extra delicious. 8. Stack the Layers and Crumb Coat Your Cake: I'm starting off by adding my nuns good pad and the kick board right on top of my turntable. They won't make cake to slide around. I'm going to put a little frosting on my cake and then flipped my cake over so the top is on the bottom. Straighten it out, make sure it's nice and even then don't forget to take off that parchment. And I'm going to put frosting in between my layers. Honestly, you could put lots of delicious flavors, maybe putting on a jam. And what you would do is make a little circle with frosting on the outside and then fill it in with your good things. But since I'm just using frosting, I'm smoothing it out as best as I can. At this point. Don't worry if you get me crumbs, it won't be a big deal. Now for my second cake to put the top of a cake on the bottom and the bottom on the top so that I always know my cake is nice and flat on the top. So again, peel off that parchment. So I actually frost my cake, WHO times the first time is called a crumb coat. And basically, I do a crumb coat so that it keeps all the crumbs inside my cake. And the Cummins can't appear on the outside because they're hidden in. Now, I really like to use the backside of my spatula. But honestly you destroy you want to practice and use Ever side is comfortable. If the backside is comfortable, use the backside of the front side is comfortable. Just use the front side. Whatever is more comfortable to you. And again, at this point, I'm just applying frosting to the cake, not worrying at all about the crumbs. Who, but one thing that is really important is don't stick a spatula fulcrums inside your borehole of icing or else your icing will have crumbs. Now we want to smooth out our frosting as best as we can. But it doesn't have to be perfect because we will be doing one other layer of frosting now once it's ready to go, pop it in the fridge for at least half an hour. 9. Frost Your Cake: In this video, we are going to cover two ways to frost or apply fasting to your already crumb coded. And the first technique here is using an extra large tip. You want to make sure that flat and is out either politically and is toward the cake. This is Wilton tip 789, right? You honestly don't want to use a giant tip like this. You could even use a smaller tip or like a coupler with noted that I'll just go right along the cake. Now, I will use my offset spatula in the cake out. This is a really great technique for beginners. For this second method, I am applying, I seeing call up on my spatula and urine linkages, spread the ice indirectly on brigade. Now what's great is I used a Chrome coats and so the crumbs are not going to be popping through my cake. And they were really able to, not like IQ, fairly well known to be completely honest with you, applying frosting to the cake really just takes practice and patience. Do your best, and then try out these other techniques that I'll have for us moving either to technique on the top, the spatula technique or the tip. But honestly, I'd just like to put up that blob of frosting on the top and spread it nice and smooth here with my tip. Now, one thing that's important is don't let the tip touches the icing. That inner crank up just in case is going to come up. So spread it around as best as you can. And again, notice the beauty of the turntable really helps clean. And I'm just turning the turntable and nice and fast to get the top slit. 10. Create Sharp Edges: Now people really like to have crisp sharp edges on their cake and have their cake nice and smooth. And so that's what this video here is four. Now we know that our spatula is a must for cake decorating, but here are a few other tools. This is a bench scraper. I don't actually like it because of this little edge and doesn't really stand that very street has little grooves on the edges to this one is nice and straight. I love using this one. And this is a longer one for taller cakes and smoothed out the top of my cake in the last video. And now the frosting is hanging over the edge, which is just fine. So I'm basically going to turn my cake and get that frosting to go on the top. Instead of going on this sides. This side, they're a little bit rough here, so that's where the bench scraper comes in. And they like to do it in one giant swirl so that they don't have funky little lines on the sides. The frosting is over the top, which is exactly what I want. So the Edomites, Benjamin, I wipe it across. It's really important that your spatula is clean every single time or else you're gonna get frosting all over the place. So swiped clean, is that too much? Swiped clean, this bad chiller and do this all the way around your cake. Now we needed as just make sure that you're on the very edge of the tape and not too high up and not too far down. You need to do it again. You certainly can't. There we go. No, I'm going to smooth out the top. And this again is where a turntable comes in. So handy, you wanna make sure you have a really light touch on this really hard little bubbles on the side on the left to start this whole process over. So light touch and movies Bachelet cross very smoothly and very happy, but we'll learn to make it even smoother in the next video. 11. Smooth Your Frosting: Now our cake is pretty smooth appeared, but it's not quite smooth enough. So in this video I have a couple of techniques to help you really get your cake nice and smooth. And the first technique is the soft cloth or paper towel. But notice on this paper Telehealth there, the little designed, those will go on your cakes. I recommend smoother paper towel. A lot of times I use a soft cloth and this is actually an old bed sheet, flannel bed sheet that I taught up. Now I wrapped up my cake a little distance. Show you this technique a little more. And notice here I touch my cake and it's still kind of hard. So I take my paper towel or my soft cloth and he just kind of rub it until it gets really Smith. No, I don't know if you didn't see it, but my take is certainly smoother even though it has those paper towel hallmarks. Honestly, I recommend using a soft cloth or the brand VBA paper towels, which doesn't have those little designs. Now in order to do this technique, you have to use a cresting butter cream, which is like this one made with powdered sugar. Pull it off and while my cake is nice and smooth, this technique uses boiling hot water and a metal spatula. Now I wrote that may take again. So you could see this example in action, but basically I did my spatula in the water until it gets really hot, wipe it clean. And then I'm going to put my spatula right on the cake. And the hot spatula is going to melt the butter and smooth the ice cream. And you can see now my cake and really did smooth. So again, dip my spatula, wipe it off, make sure this Bachelor's really hot. And then put it right on your cake and watch it, smooth it out. Oh my goodness, just look, the rough spots are completely gone. My cake is nice and smooth. But it is really important that your water is really hot. I mean, like boiling hot. And that will make your cake just smooth out much more easily. Now the final technique is the water ticking. So I have some water and my spatula, the temperature of the water doesn't really matter. So I roughed up my cake again and it dipping my spatula in the water and putting it directly on the cake. Note how I'm not liking it off. So basically what I'm doing is watering down the IC to make it a thinner consistency. And that will help make cake sort of smooth out. But the trick is you don't want to use too much water or else you'll have a soupy mess. So there you go. Three different ways to smooth out your cake. Try out all three, decide which one is your favorite. 12. Final Words: Well, my friend, you did it. You learned how to level a cake, moisten the cake, stack the layers, crumb coat. The final frosting of the cake. With your cake have sharp edges. Now, all you have to do is frost your cake. Now one thing that's really important is to remember that this takes practiced, okay. Your first cake or your second cake or tenth cake, might not be perfect. And just practice. If there's a crumb or two on the cake, don't worry, just put a decoration. And no one will know. If you have the crumbs on your cake. Well, you have two options. Option number one, if it's a chocolate cake, we'll call it a cookies and cream cake. I've actually done that before. Option number two is, put your cape back in the fridge, let the frosting harden up quite a bit, and then take it back out and reef crossed it with another layer of frosting. Now, I hope that you enjoyed this course. I've had so much fun creating it. And I hope that you use these tips to make beautiful cakes for your family and friends. So you go sweeten the world. Bye! 13. Bonus: Swirly Cupcake: Here's a bonus video for you. It's this worldly kept think that technique that I really believe everyone should know when to snip off the edge of my piping bag and antipathy 2D into my big push it in that makes sure that the bag doesn't overlap the end folded down. And now I'm going to add my icing to the bank. Don't sell it more than half full. Pull up the top, twist it and we're ready to go. For the first technique. I'm going to start by typing a star in the middle and going around the star. When I get to the end, I swipe it off. Oh my goodness, isn't in so cute and incredibly easy to me. One more time here. So I'm going to start by squeezing and star in the middle and going around, make sure your pressure control is nice. And even until you get to the end where you just wipe it off. And the second technique is just the opposite soy start on the outside. Then I work my way in kind of overlapping just a little bit till I get to the center aisle, little star on the top. Then it's very easy. This one is for frosting labours. One more time, start on the outside over a lab until I get to the center and