Last Updated on December 30, 2022
If you have ever tried to decorate a cake, you must have encountered a little problem. How do professionals achieve that sleek look? The answer may be easier than you think. However, the first step is going to be crumb coat cake.
And the crumb coat is a layer of frosting that holds firm any part of the cake, that wants to fall away from it.
Crumb coating is essential to prevent the frosting outer layer from mixing with crumbs that alter its texture. You’ll also need it when you want to cover your cake with something else, like fondant.
Thus, we have found the best crumb coat frosting recipe as well as a few secrets to achieving the best results.
The Secret Is In The Softness For The Best Crumb Coat Cake
The best buttercream to use for crumb-coating is one that has a soft consistency. Krazy Kool Cakes and Designs details an excellent recipe for a vanilla meringue buttercream. They stress the importance of the fatty content, this kind of buttercream has to have.
The secret here lies in where that fat comes from. Usually, buttercream recipes are a mixture of butter and sugar, but here it is always a little bit different. Thus, we will use half the butter, half and shortening, as this will give the icing its softness.
This recipe will make a full batch of icing, but you can easily make half of it. You can also use this recipe for the filling.
- 1 cup of high-fat ratio shortening (NOT vegetarian shortening)
- 1 cup of butter
- 2 tbsp of meringue powder
- 2 tsp of clear vanilla extract
- 8 cups of sifted confectioners sugar
- 9 tbsp of milk (regular or 2% work great)
You can change the extract for other types of cakes to achieve different flavors. You do not need to add coloring to the crumb coat, as it will not be visible once the cake is finished.
What is the Best Icing for a Crumb Coat?
Buttercream frosting is typically the best option for making a crumb coat for your cake. You can use any flavor of buttercream frostings, such as chocolate, vanilla, or lemon, to make your crumb coat on your cake.
You want to use a sturdy yet soft frosting for your crumb coat as it works as a ‘glue’ to hold the crumbs down on your cake. You can use other types of frosting as a crumb coat such as cream cheese frosting or Swiss Meringue Frosting. The whipped cream frosting is typically not the best option as it is generally too delicate and will not hold its shape as well, however, you still can use it.
When making a crumb coat, it is best to use room-temperature frosting. If the frosting is cold, it will make it difficult to spread and can even tear your cake as you try to spread it.
To make a crumb coat, use an offset spatula to create a thin coat of frosting on your cake. It is alright if there are areas on your cake with no frosting on them. Refrigerate your cake to allow your crumb coat to set before decorating.
How Do You Make a Crumb Coat with Whipped Cream Frosting?
If you are planning to make a crumb coat with whipped cream frosting it is best to use stabilized whipped cream. Stabilized whipped cream frosting will be able to hold its shape better than regular whipped cream frosting.
To make stabilized whipped cream, add unflavored gelatin to your whipped cream. You can also use cornstarch, vanilla pudding mix, or cream of tartar to stabilize your whipped cream frosting. Using regular whipped cream frosting that has not been stabilized is not recommended for crumb-coating a cake.
Spread your whipped cream frosting across your cake with an offset spatula to create a crumb coat. Then, place your cake in the fridge to allow it to chill and let the frosting set. Once set, you can finish frosting it with your whipped cream frosting.
Can You Crumb Coat with Royal Icing?
Typically, royal icing is used for decorating cookies or for writing messages on cakes. You can also use royal icing to crumb coat your cake. It will do a good job of working as a ‘glue’ to hold all of the crumbs in place. Use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer of royal icing.
Allow your cake to set in the fridge to finish your royal icing crumb coat. Then, finish frosting your cake with buttercream frosting or your frosting of choice.
How Do You Frost a Cake without Crumb Coating?
If you are short on time, you can frost a cake without making a crumb coat. Though crumb coats can make frosting easier, they are not necessary.
Allow your cake to fully cool before frosting. If your cake is still warm it can melt the frosting. Use a pipping bag or an offset spatula to frost your cake and then use a bench scraper to smooth any imperfections. Then pipe any decorations you would like onto your cake.
How Soft is Too Soft
You need to consider how delicate your actual cake is. If you are working on a very moist lemon or strawberry cake, for example, you may need a softer buttercream so as not to damage it. To achieve this, you can add more milk to the mixture until you are comfortable that it will not hurt the cake. If you want to ice harder chocolate or red velvet cake, you may not have to adjust it.
Also, keep in mind the temperature and humidity you are working on. The hotter and more humid it is, the softer the buttercream will turn out overall. Thus, check your mixture while making it, to ensure that it does not turn too soft. If it turned out too soft, you can always add more confectioners and sugar.
But how do you know when it is done? It needs to be creamy and soft, of course, but not watery. Once it sticks to a spatula and does not fall, then it is done. Furthermore, take into account our previous tips and always do a small test on the lowest part of the cake, where you cannot see it after the fondant is on.
Conclusion – Crumb Coating Frosting
As you can see, it is fairly easy to get a great buttercream for crumb coating. Just have in mind that fresher is always better and that if you freeze it and re-whip it, the consistency will change, as it will gets dryer and therefore harder.
Exactly the opposite of what we want! Tell us in the comments if you have tried this recipe! Did you find it easy to follow?
Karen is a passionate pastry chef who loves to create delicious baked goods. She has been in the culinary arts for over 10 years, honing her skills and perfecting her craft. Karen is known for her creativity and attention to detail, creating unique desserts that bring a smile to everyone’s face. She is always looking for ways to challenge herself and come up with new recipes that are both tasty and visually appealing. Karen loves to experiment with different flavors and textures, and she is committed to providing the highest quality of products to her customers.