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Topic: How thick should my icing be?
KTB 05/25/2009 11:29 AM
Over the last few weeks I've made a few cakes and always seem to have a problem with my base layer. I'm using thin icing but I seem to struggle getting it level as well as sometimes getting it to stick to the cake.

In looking at pics here, in a few books I have and online I'm noticing that the cakes might have more icing on them than I've been putting. Could that be part of my problem? I realize some of it will just be lack of experience

How thick of an icing layer do you ladies typically do?
Jeanne G 05/25/2009 12:29 PM
That was one of the big eye-openers when I first started decorating cakes ... it takes A LOT of frosting! When I look at pictures of my earliest cakes it is very obvious I wasn't using enough.

First I do the crumbcoat. I spread the same frosting that I will use for the final coat very thinnly, applying it with a long spatula. This isn't pretty and it won't show. You can see the cake through it. It not only seals the crumbs against the cake (which is how it gets its name) but also seals freshness in for the times you don't have time to continue with the decorating right then, and it gives the final frosting a good surface to cling to.

After the crumbcoat is dry (or sometimes the next day, if it suits my schedule better) I apply the frosting with Wilton's Icer Tip (789). Like any tip, it takes a little practice to master, but, wow, this is definitely the way to get the frosting on thick and evenly. (It requires a turntable. Decorating requires a turntable, in my opinion.)

Once the frosting is on the cake, I use the spatula to smooth it and then the paper-towel method.

Could it be part of your problem that you are not putting on enough icing? Yup! Fortunately, that is easy to fix.
bunnywoman 05/25/2009 12:33 PM
I put on enough so that I can not see my cake below. I try not to go overboard with icing as I like MORE cake than icing in a forkful.
mmumsie 05/25/2009 12:55 PM
I rarely crumb coat, but many swear by it.

I too apply my icing with the cake icer tip (tip 789). It helps to dispense an ample uniform amount of icing, if you are not too terribly close to the cake. Smooth with a long metal angled spatula. After crusting, I go back and knock off a few high points.

You definitely need enough icing to not have cake peeking through.

KTB 05/25/2009 1:30 PM
Glad to know I'm not crazy Thanks for the tips. I do have the 789 tip but don't think I've quite figured it out just yet so I'll keep practicing. It's a good thing my Dad and the guys at my husbands work like cake!

I'm also going to go back to doing a crumbcoat. I haven't for the cakes I've done for my class and those are the ones I've had the hardest time with. The one I did for my cousin I did do a crumboat and it was MUCH easier for me.

Hmm - I'm also using 2 diff types of buttercream too, the class one and one with butter. I definitely find the butter one easier to pipe too.

Yep - definitely need more practice ;D
MARIE J 05/26/2009 9:05 AM
KTB - the only thing that I would like to add to what the ladies have already advised is that when you are using the icer tip (789) - it requires a much larger bag - usually a 16 inch is the minimun size for this(I believe).

As they also stated, it does take some mastering, but I wouln't go back to what I was doing before using it !!!
ladycatisadiva 05/26/2009 9:10 AM
I agree. Must master the icing tip. It's wonderful. Also, crumb coating is a plus. I only use my icing tip for most of my larger cakes. It's good to learn how to do it without the icing tip, as you never know what situation you might be in, but as for me, I have 4 of them. Two stay with the kit and two stay at home.