Crumb coating may feel like an unnecessary step in the cake decorating process but it is an essential step in creating a neat finish with buttercream.
First of all, let’s talk about what we mean by a crumb coat. A crumb coat is a thin layer of buttercream spread over a cake to capture any stray crumbs before applying a second, thicker layer of buttercream or marzipan or fondant.
I never used to bother crumb coating my cakes, even when I knew what it was it always felt like a waste of time but as soon as I started I noticed a real difference in the finish to my cakes. Now I’m not saying my cakes are perfect, far from it, but I make sure I always apply a crumb coat now.
It’s quite simple, you’ll need your buttercream of choice (I’m using my raspberry buttercream here) and a layer cake that you’ve split and filled with jam or buttercream or cream. I have a post on how to split and fill a cake that you should follow first.
Once you have your stacked layer cake start applying your buttercream to the sides of the cake using a paddle (back and forth as though you’re plastering a wall) motion. At this point you can also fill in any gaps between layers with buttercream.
I use a palette knife to cover the cake because I find it the quickest way currently but I’m also experimenting with piping the icing on so I’ll update this post once I’ve decided whether I like it or not.
Use the same paddle motion to cover the top of the cake, I always do the top last because I press on the top of the cake as I’m covering the sides.
Once you have your cake covered it’s time to neaten it up and scrape off the excess. I use a cake scraper for this but a palette knife works just as well. Make sure you scrape off the excess from the scraper before using it to scrape the cake again. Try to do the sides in one motion if you can for a neater finish but don’t worry if it isn’t super neat, you’ll add another layer later anyway.
Pop your cake in the fridge until the crumb coat has set. Once it has, you’re ready to ice your cake!
Here are a few of the cakes I’ve made where I’ve applied a crumb coat:
My vanilla and blackberry cake
Lucy’s baby shower cake
I hope you’ve found this useful! Let me know if you have any questions.
I’d love to see your pictures if you try this, tag me over on Instagram or add #foodieforthoughtblog to your posts on Insta for me to check out.