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How to Decorate a Cake: Prep Your Cake For Decorating

Watch as Parents contributor Jenna Helwig shows you how to prep your cake for decorating. Learn to level your layers and put on a crumb coat.

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-Hi, I??m Jenna Helwig, personal chef and Parents contributor. I??m going to show you how to make a cake that looks as good as it tastes. The secret is all in the prep. The first thing you wanna do is make your cake layer level. You??ll notice when you bake the cake, it domes. So, I??m going to use a serrated knife and just slice through the cake to make it as flat as I can. Now, do not throw away these cake tops because they are delicious. Freeze them. Save them for later. You can use them for trifle or put them over ice cream. Everyone will love them. So now, I??m going to put this on to my cake plate and I??m going to level the second one. The first thing we??re going to do to start frosting our cake is to use some regular frosting and make our filling. Just get a nice layer where you can always add more. So now, I??m going to put this layer on top of this cake. Now, here??s a little trick. Very carefully flip it over and put what was the bottom of the cake on top. That will make your cake perfectly flat. And so what yu wanna do is take a pastry brush, or a paper towel, or your fingers and just brush off any crumbs. And then if you have time, pop it in the freezer for about 15 minutes. So, this next step is the most important. It is called the crumb coat, and the crumb coat is not meant to look pretty, but what it does is it will trap any wayward crumbs so they don??t get into your beautiful layer of frosting that you??ll put on later. I??ve got some frosting here that I thinned out with a little bit of water. I??m just gonna pour some on and make a thin layer over the entire cake. Great. There you have a messy yet crumb coated cake. So now, you??re ready to put the cake into the fridge or freezer for about 15 minutes. It will firm up some more and you can put on your regular frosting.