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


 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.