Monday, July 13, 2009

Crumby Advice

While I readily admit that not all of the pearls of "wisdom" I have dispensed on this blog thus-far are worthy of adopting as mantras (look, guys, I'm learning as we go, too), if you like to bake, this little bit of "crumby" advice should be engraved in bronze and mounted in your kitchen: Always Crumb-Coat. If you don't know what I mean by "crumb coat" then we are all lucky that I got here before disaster struck and you baked again.
You know how, when you frost a cake (particularly, say, a chocolate cake with white frosting) it is almost impossible to prevent little bits of cake crumb from getting in the frosting and giving it an unwanted "flecked" cookies-and-cream look?
Have you ever looked at a cake in a bakery or on the pages of a magazine and thought, "how in the name of all that is sacred did they get that perfect non-crumby swirled icing on there?" Two words: Crumb. Coat.
Here's what you do:
1. Instead of frosting the cake all at once, do it in two stages. First, wait for the cake to cool completely and then level it out, and brush off the extra crumbs. Then, put in whatever filling you are using between layers and stack the layers how you want them.
2. Cover the entire cake in a very thin layer of frosting, starting at the top and working around the sides. It's fine (good, actually) if the cake shows through- you are just putting on a thin coat which will fill in any air holes or cracks, and seal in the cake crumbs (and, incidentally, the cake's moisture).
3. Put the cake in the fridge, and allow to cool for 1/2 hour- 2 hours. Because (let's be honest) the frosting's main ingredient is butter (if you make it from scratch, which I highly recommend), the frosting will harden like butter does when cooled, which will immobilize those pesky crumbs.
4. Take the cake out of the fridge and frost as normal, covering the entire cake. See?- Nary a stray crumb. Who knew producing perfect baked goods could be such a piece of cake?

photo credit: Country Living.

1 comment:

Christine said...

What a great trick - I always end up with an oreo-looking cake when I try to frost the whole thing at once!