Test Kitchens' Professional Jan Moon shares tips for finishing touches. 

By Jan Moon
October 21, 2008

 Frostings and glazes make a cake special and add flavor. They also add moisture and help hold it in the cake. Frostings provide a finished look and conceal flaws in the cake.

• Turn the bottom of each cake layer up to create a smooth surface when decorating.

• Trim bumps or bulges with a serrated knife.

• Brush layers lightly with a pastry brush before frosting. This will reduce the amount of crumbs that can become trapped in the frosting.

• Apply a thin layer of frosting (known as a crumb coat) to the cake. Then let it stand until set. This is especially helpful with light-colored frostings used on a dark cake.

• Apply frosting with a metal offset spatula, which has a long, thin, flexible blade that’s easy to maneuver around the cake (about $10 at housewares stores).

 • Decorate with simple garnishes such as fresh herbs, edible flowers, fresh fruit, chocolate shavings, citrus rind curls, citrus slices, or frosting tinted with food coloring.

Try your hand at frosting with the Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Frosting or glazing with Pumpkin Pound Cake with Buttermilk Glaze