In the recipe for our last blog post—THE PURPLE PEACE CAKE—we made reference to “skim coating.” We were asked for more information on this very important technique. So we figured it was time for a refresher course.
While writing CAKE MY DAY! we realized the trouble CAKE CRUMBS can cause when decorating cakes!! (Not as big a problem on cupcakes because they are so much smaller.) Nothing is more annoying than getting cake crumbs all mixed up in your frosting. They can leave your otherwise yummy cake looking like its covered with freckles! And that’s where skim-coating or “crumb coating” comes into play.
We apply a THIN layer of frosting first, sort of like applying a primer before you paint. After smoothing the crumb coat out (the photo above shows how thin and smooth it should be; you should be able to see your cake through the crumb coat), we refrigerate the cake for 10-15 minutes to firm up the thin coating of frosting. The crumb coat acts like glue, holding the crumbs in place. So when we remove the cake from the refrigerator, it’s ready for whatever frosting or other surface treatments you need to add.
This is ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT when you’re FROSTING THE EDGES of a cake, where crumbs are more likely to get mixed in.
Take this one important step and instantly: Smoothness—and your baker’s rep—will be restored!!
More tips to come,
Karen and Alan