How to Frost a Layer Cake

Learn our easy, mess-free method for icing a layer cake.

Before frosting a cake, let it cool completely, about 4 hours. Clean the cake of loose crumbs, brushing them off with a pastry brush or your hand. To secure the cake, put a dollop of frosting directly on the plate. This will keep the cake from moving around as you work. To keep the plate clean, put strips of waxed paper under the edge of the cake. Spread about 1/2 cup of frosting on top of the first layer. Place the second layer on the frosted layer. Spread a thin coating of frosting on the sides of the cake to seal in any crumbs. Add a thicker coat of frosting to the sides of the cake, then frost the sides again, swirling and building up the top edge, about a quarter inch above the top of the cake. Spread the remaining frosting on the top of the cake, blending the frosting at the edge. Remove the strips of waxed paper. If time permits, let the frosting set an hour before slicing the cake.