Even though your favorite pastime and stress reliever could be baking pastries, not having the skills to decorate the cake delightfully can sometimes be very nerve-racking and frustrating.
Why not give it a try to learn the basics of how to crumb coat a cake properly? You cannot be an expert when you skip being a beginner. Allow yourself to try and learn.
Remember that crumb coating is essential to most cakes before finally putting the final frosting decoration. After all, who does not love the frosting on the cake, right? Read through the article below to learn more about how to crumb coat a cake.
What is a Crumb Coat?
A crumb coat is a finely thin icing or frosting layer that is put on the surface of the bare cake to ensure and seal the moisture of the cake.
It is also an essential step to ensure that you prepare an even base layer before adding the final fondant or frosting. It is done simply because it makes the decorating process easier and smoother.
3 Different kinds of Frosting You Can Use to Crumb Coat a Cake
All the frosting options that you can use for crumb coating are great, especially for homemade cakes. The frosting is not only used just to crumb coat your cake, but you also use it all the way until the final decoration.
It helps in making your cake look beautiful and delicious. You probably do not want to try to taste a cake that looks awful, right? We have listed below the 4 different kinds of frosting you can opt to use:
Buttercream frosting is the most in-demand frosting used by many pastry chefs and new bakers as a crumb coat for cakes.
Vanilla buttercream is the highly suggested flavor when you decide to go for buttercream frosting for your crumb coat. This frosting has a very fluffy texture and is made of sugar, vanilla, and butter itself.
One of the typical frostings that are used to coat some baked goods is fondant; it is another type of frosting or icing.
It is usually rolled into a thin sheet that is used to cover the surface of a cake; sometimes can be formed, rolled, and molded according to the shape or design of the cake and other baked goods.
Another option that you have when you plan to crumb-coat your cake is to use Chocolate Ganache. This frosting or icing is perfect for hotter areas because it somehow helps in holding the crumbs much better than the other frostings.
However, it can be a bit challenging to crumb-coat the cake when using Chocolate Ganache because it can eventually split while you make one.
That is why it is essential to add some drops of hot water to put them back together. Moreover, you have to work a little faster when applying Chocolate Ganache to your cake because it dries a little faster than any other frosting.
6 Tools Needed to Crumb Coat a Cake
You cannot crumb coat a cake properly without the proper pastry tools such as the turntable, offset spatula, silicon spatula, cake board, and non-slip board. Therefore, it is highly advisable to invest in the tools mentioned earlier that will help you with the crumb coating process a little easier and faster.
Did you know that you use a turntable to help you make your work a little faster and easier? It works by placing your barely made cake on top of its rotating surface; then, as you apply a thin layer of icing, decorations, and frosting, you let the cake spin.
An offset spatula is a versatile kitchen and baking tool with a thin blade and a round tip. It is slightly bent at an angle right beside its handle, and it comes off in many sizes.
A silicon spatula combines the heat-resistant quality and properties of any metal kitchen utensils and a traditional rubber spatula.
So, it is highly recommended to use a silicon spatula when you try to blend both the wet and dry ingredients—and at the same time, scrape the sides of every mixing bowl very well, leaving out no residues.
A cake board is a piece of hard cardboard often covered in foil; it is used to place the cake for presentation or to make it easier to transport the cake. It comes in various shapes and sizes and is usually 3 to 4 millimeters thick.
A non-slip pad is often used and placed on top of the turntable. It gives security to your cake while it rotates along the turntable. It has non-slip and tight grip properties and is made of food-grade plastic.
Cake Scrapers or Bench Scrapers
A bench scraper, also known as a bench knife or a cake scraper, is a baking tool that is rectangular in shape and is made out of steel with a long handle along its one edge.
It is not harmful since it is a dull knife that most party chefs and novice bakers use to cut, scoop, divide, and transfer a piece of dough from one place to the other.
5 Step-by-step on How to Crumb Coat a Cake
It is normal if you are a first-time baker and you find that crumb coating a cake can be tedious and might give you a hard time doing the process.
You do not have to worry, though, because you just need a few practices until you get the hang of it. Therefore, you can follow these simplified step-by-step processes on how to crumb coat a cake.
Prepare all the necessary tools and ingredients needed
Make sure that the icing or frosting and the tools needed are ready and placed by your side so your crumb coating process will be much smoother and quicker.
Chill the cake
Most pastry chefs highly suggest that before a cake undergoes the crumb coating process, it must have completely cooled down. They prefer it baked a day before the crumb-coating process.
Place the cake on top of the turntable and start applying a crumb coat
Do you want to make your life easier during the crumb-coating process? Then the turntable is the best tool to use together with an offset spatula.
You can spread out a thin layer of icing or frosting on top and sides of your cake perfectly with these two tools. Spread the crumb coat evenly with the use of an offset spatula or a bench scraper.
Peel off excess crumb coat
If you are already an expert in baking pastries, it is expected of you to apply a think layer of frosting on your cake during the crumb coating process. However, it is understandable that first-time bakers tend to put excessive frosting on their cakes.
You do not really have to worry because the technique is to master the art and skill of removing all the excess frosting and icing by peeling them all away and placing all the extra frosting into a separate container.
Let your crumb coat chill
Before you finalize your cake, after crumb-coating, let it chill and set it first in the fridge. The advisable time is around 15 minutes up to 2 hours to ensure that the crumb coat is fully set before applying the final frosting and before the start of the decorating process.
4 Tips and Tricks on How to Crumb Coat a Cake
It is understandable that for aspiring pastry chefs and first-time bakers, it can be challenging to decorate your own cake. What more when you do the crumb coating process, right? Especially when it is your first try.
Though it can be tedious at first, once you get the hang of it, you will never have a hard time crumb-coating a cake, and it will not take a lot of time for you to finish it.
We have listed below 4 tips and tricks on how to crumb coat a cake:
Do not have too much amount of flour
Excessive use of flour is not advisable when baking a cake as it will only give you a hard time during the crumb-coating process because the cake will have a lot of crumbs. Ensure that you only put enough amount of flour when you start preparing your pan.
Trying to save your cake while it falls apart? Watch this tutorial on how to crumb-coat a cake even if it is falling apart.
Cool down the cake
We do not advise that you crumb-coat the newly baked cakes as it will only melt them. Therefore, we highly suggest that the cake you just baked is completely cooled down before you do the crumb coating process– it is expected that you let it chill for an hour.
However, we suggest allowing it to cool down for up to 3 hours or more to achieve your desired finish once you crumb-coat the cake.
Never use royal icing or glaze
Using royal icing or glazes is not permitted when you crumb coat a cake. This is simply because these two are sticky enough to be used for the crumb coating process.
Less is more
The “less is more” concept also applies in the crumb coating process. You do not have to put a lot of frosting on your cake since the crumb coating process is only the first thin layer of frosting on your cake.
While you are at it, make sure that you catch an ample amount of crumbs as much as you can to have a cake output that is smooth, fine, clean, and neat.
2 Frequently Asked Questions
It is understandable for first-time bakers that you will be curious about a lot of things to the point that there are a lot of questions on your mind, and you are looking for answers.
We have listed 2 frequently asked questions that are quite beneficial for novice bakers. Check out the FAQs below; we hope they answer your curiosity and the big question mark on your mind.
Why is it essential to crumb coat a cake?
It is essential to make sure that the crumbs are glued down during the decoration process of the cake. Both aspiring pastry chefs, as well as professional ones understand the importance of the crumb coating process.
The crumb coating process will help you make your cakes look stable, refined, and seamless. Ensure never to skip this process because when you skip the process of crumb coating, you will eventually end up having a cake full of tiny bits of crumbs.
When is it not advisable to crumb coat a cake?
You can skip the crumb coating process when it is unnecessary– if the pastry cake you have made does not have many crumbs – meaning it is not a delicate kind of cake where a lot of crumbs are falling out of place.
In addition, whenever you plan to make a cake that only has a glaze or a thin icing, you do not really have to crumb coat.
We all start as beginners, right? Hence, we understand if you have an imperfect crumb coating on your cake. But now that you know how to crumb coat a cake, practice more so the next time you try to do the process, it will take much less effort from you to do so.
Moreover, your cake does not just have to be aesthetically pleasing but should also be suitable for our taste buds! It can be an intimidating task for people like us who are frustrated-pastry chef wannabes, but it is definitely a skill that you should learn.