Making a cake for a special occasion is something that you might look forward to, and if you love to bake, it’s always nice to be able to make something special for someone that you love.
Sometimes you might want to try different types of cakes to mix things up. While it’s fantastic to enjoy a traditional cake with standard frosting, it might be worthwhile to try a crumb-coated cake.
Crumb coating a cake isn’t something that is super hard to do when you know how to approach things. However, you might not even know where to begin if this is your first time attempting it.
Read on for some simple tips to crumb coat a cake to put your worries at ease.
What Is a Crumb-Coated Cake?
A crumb-coated cake is a cake that has had a crumb layer applied over the top of a thin layer of icing. The icing acts as glue to stick the crumbs to the cake.
When you’ve finished adding the crumbs to the cake, you’re going to continue icing the cake. This means that you’ll be applying icing over the top of the crumb layer that you just created.
This gives the cake an interesting flavor and texture. It changes the experience quite a bit, and many people say that crumb-coated cakes are among their favorites.
Some people use the crumb coating technique as a way to separate the cake and icing layers. Simply put, the crumbs act as a buffer that keeps the cake on one side and the icing on another.
How Do You Do This Properly?
Properly crumb coating a cake isn’t that hard at all. To get started, you’re going to need to bake the cake as you normally would.
To be clear, people usually crumb-coat cakes that have been baked in round cake pans. This is a common thing that people do when they’re making some type of layered cake.
That being said, you’ll want to apply a thin layer of icing whenever the cake is ready to be frosted. Ensure that you wait to frost the cake until it has properly cooled down.
In some cases, it might take an hour or slightly longer for the cake to cool. This largely depends on how big the cake is, but other factors such as the temperature in the room will also play a role.
When you’re sure that you’re ready, it’ll be time to apply the thin frosting layer. To make this as easy as possible, it’s recommended to use a thin angled icing spatula.
A utensil such as this allows you to spread the frosting out thin. Overall, it’s much easier than using a standard butter knife.
You want to do your best to keep the icing layer very thin. It should be so thin that you’ll be able to see the cake through it.
It’s also necessary to wait until the icing is dry before proceeding. The icing should either crust over or feel dry to the touch.
After you’ve spread the thin layer of icing, it’ll be time to apply the crumbs to the cake. Place the crumbs on the cake and do your best to cover the entire surface of the cake.
If all goes as planned, the crumbs should easily stick to the thin icing layer. It shouldn’t take too long to apply the crumb layer.
Before you add more icing, it’s going to be best to wait until the crumbs are completely dry. You can lightly touch the crumbs to make it easier to determine if it’s time to proceed.
Finally, you’ll be able to add the last layer of icing. This is going to be a thicker layer than you would normally see on a standard cake.
This might seem like a lot of trouble to go to, but it’s going to be worth it in the end. It isn’t hard, but it might take longer than it would if you chose to frost the cake normally.
Some Experts Recommend Chilling After the Crumb Coat Is Applied
It’s worth mentioning that some experts say that you should chill the cake after the crumb coat has been applied. This means that you would stop and place the cake in the refrigerator to chill it before applying the final icing layer.
Doing so is going to ensure that the cake has a strong, sturdy foundation. Also, it’ll help the crumbs to truly become glued to the thin icing layer.
You’ll have to wait just a bit longer if you choose to do this, though. Regardless, it’s worth it just to ensure that the cake turns out the best that it can.
When the cake has finished chilling, you’ll be able to go ahead and apply the final layer of icing. At this point, you just ice the cake as you normally would.
Why Should You Crumb Coat Cakes?
You don’t have to crumb coat the cake if you don’t want to. Some feel that it adds a bit of texture to the cake, but it’s also a good way to ensure that you get a smooth finish.
Some bakers consider crumb coating to be like a secret weapon. They do this so that the cakes will look as immaculate as possible.
That can be useful even when you aren’t planning on covering the cake in fondant. However, it’s going to be up to you to decide whether it’s worth the time or not.
Mostly, this is a good course of action to take when you want to get professional results. If you want your cake to turn out as presentable as it can be, crumb coating the cake is highly recommended.
It shouldn’t add too much time to the process either. As long as you’re not in a hurry, it’ll be practical to do this.
Preventing Crumbs From Making it to Your Final Icing Layer
You might not have considered this, but crumb coating a cake can protect the final icing layer. Sometimes when you’re icing a cake, you might accidentally have some of the crumbs from the cake show up in the icing.
While this isn’t a problem from a taste standpoint, it can throw off the aesthetic appeal of the cake. Since crumb coating a cake is largely about protecting the look of the cake, it makes sense that this would be helpful for preventing crumbs from making it to the final layer.
The crumb layer that you stuck to the thin layer of icing acts as a buffer. When you’re applying the last layer of icing, it’s going to be easier for those crumbs to stay in place without showing up in the icing.
When you’re making a cake for someone’s birthday or another special occasion, it makes sense to take this extra step to ensure that the cake looks fantastic. You’ll likely be so happy with how things turn out that you’ll choose to use the crumb coating technique every single time moving forward.
Using a Turntable Helps
Do you find that frosting cakes is a bit complicated sometimes? Perhaps you feel as if it’s difficult to reach certain spots.
This is a common concern, and it can indeed be a bit annoying to perfectly frost a round cake if you’re not prepared. If you are going to be baking cakes fairly often, it’ll help to get a turntable that you can use.
Baking turntables will allow you to turn the cake as necessary. You won’t have to walk around to the other side of the cake nor will you need to reach to try to frost a particular spot.
You’ll likely be able to frost a cake in less time if you have a baking turntable. Considering they’re fairly inexpensive, it’s easily worth having one on hand.
Knowing how to crumb coat cakes will come in handy. You should have an easier time making pretty cakes that you’ll be proud to present at special occasions.
This is a technique that professionals use to ensure that the buttercream frosting has a smooth finish on the cake. As you learned, the process of crumb coating is fairly straightforward.
You just need to apply a thin icing layer and then stick crumbs to the icing. With this done, you’ll be able to have a much easier time getting the frosting to look as nice as possible on the cake.
Always use a good angled icing spatula to get the job done. It’s also going to be smart to utilize a turntable because it makes it easier for you to frost the cake without missing spots or feeling as if you need to reach.
If you want to make a cake for someone special soon, you should absolutely try this out. You have all of the information that you need to succeed.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.