Friday, January 22, 2010

Frosting Technique

Got a phone message from my friend Fitzy today --"inquiring minds want to know, how are you going to package up that cake?!!"  Um, yeah, well....good question.  Things are not going so well in the packing or the sending department.  Do I still get credit for the thoughtful idea?

Please make my Heirloom Cake for your family.  It is a scrumptions homespun creation.  The frosting need not be perfectly applied to the cake and I think that is one of the things that makes this cake so special.  If you want to jazz it up I have provided a little help--see below for tutorial. ;)

Portsmouth Icing
(I usually make 1 ½ of this recipe when I am frosting the layer cake version.)
From The Fannie Farmer Baking Book

3 cups confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons melted butter, unsalted
2 teaspoons vanilla
Beat all ingredients together until smooth and spreadable. Add more cream as needed.

To make 1 ½ recipe of the frosting you will need 4 1/2 c confectioner's sugar.  One 1lb. box is about 4 cups so I have the other 1/2 cup in this picture
Melt the butter in the microwave on high for 1 min --take out and stir until completely melted
Hold the wisk with your hand to stir up the cream, butter & vanilla

here's what it looks like right after the confectioner's sugar is incorporated
a couple minutes more and perfect frosting!
put a dab on your cake plate or board to hold cake in place
put first layer upside down and dollop of frosting on top
spread to edges with your off-set spatula
flip the 2nd layer over the frosted layer, three dollops on top
spread over sides and top to coat --roughly to trap the crumbs in place
the completed crumb coating

let sit for 5-10 minutes to set --touch to see if not sticky, hardened slightly
three more dollops and spread
it doesn't need to be perfect
boiling water and some off-set spatulas
will help to smooth out any rough spots (optional!)
add decorative trim with a disposable piping bag, coupler, and piping tip#5
put coupler inside bag and cut top of bag, push couple down, should fit snugly
add tip to coupler
fasten couple to secure the tip
fold bag over
fill with frosting
push frosting down to tip

make it pretty (if you like)


  1. Anonymous12/09/2012

    Hi Claire-
    I've made this frosting- my favorite by far. I marvel at your cake- it looks so perfect. How do you get it to cook so flat and even across the top? I appreciate your steps above- I always get a crummy mess of icing. Will try your trick.

  2. I am so glad you liked the frosting! The key to getting a flat top on your cake is to not overmix the batter. Another important issue could be the temperature of your oven. It is good to get an oven thermometer to check and see if your oven is keeping the correct temperature. I have had to have mine recalibrated once in the past 8 years. Thanks so much for taking time to post a comment!

  3. Claire, Love this tutorial on icing a layer cake - I refer to it so often! Great pics and patiently explained. Happy Birthday, old friend. I just know it will be shared with great food, family and friends. xoxo

  4. Claire,

    Love this tutorial for icing a layer cake - I refer to it so often! Hope you are enjoying a beautiful birthday. I know you will celebrate with great food, friends and family. xoxo

    1. Thanks so much, Bridget! I am so glad that this is helpful to me so much joy!