Crumb coating a cake is a simple cake decorating technique that can help improve the appearance of your finished cake.  While many home bakers don’t bother with this step, it is one I would recommend, particularly for special occasion birthday cakes.  The result is a smoother finish that is much easier to decorate.

Below are the simple steps for how to crumb coat a cake.  But before that, let’s take a look at why you crumb coat.

Why Crumb Coat A Cake

A crumb coating acts like a seal on the cake.  It seals in any loose crumbs that could make their way into the icing if this isn’t done.

So when you crumb coat a cake, you will be adding two layers of icing.  The first layer makes it possible to achieve a smooth, ‘crumb free’ second layer.  Your second layer of icing can be buttercream or fondant, whatever you like.

How To Crumb Coat

Step 1 – Assemble your cake

It is possible to crumb coat a single cake, but most often there are several cake layers stacked together.  Get these prepared and placed onto your cake plate or board ready for icing.

Step 2 – Prepare your icing

You can use just about any butter cream recipe for your crumb coat.  Prepare your favorite recipe and make sure it is not too thick.  You want it to be easy to spread to create a nice thin layer over the cake.

Step 3 – Spread your icing

Start by applying a little bit of icing across the top. Then work your way around the sides.  Once all areas are covered, smooth the icing out with a cake spatula like this oneThis set is also a good option and includes a turntable, spatula and icing smoother.  Use your spatula to wipe away any excess icing.

The crumb coat should be even and very light.  The idea is to not pick up a lot of the icing when you come back and add the second coat of icing. You just want to apply just enough to cover your cake.

Step 4 – Allow to set

Once it is all smooth and finished, put it in the fridge and let it set for about 45 minutes.  This will firm the icing ready for the second coat of icing.

Now your can ice and decorate your cake without worrying about any crumbs or lumps.   Here’s a short video.