Spreading icing on a cake takes practice. This technique from Shirley Corriher, author of BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes, allows inexperienced cooks to produce a magnificent cake with a perfect, satin-smooth icing that looks as if it came from an expensive bakery.
1. Place the cooled cake on a cardboard circle that is slightly smaller than the cake. This allows you to hold the cake with the sturdy cardboard bottom and tilt it as necessary. Next, place the cake on a cooling rack that is sitting on a large piece of parchment paper or a nonstick baking sheet. You want something that catches icing drips and allows you to scrape them up if you need to.
2. Pour slightly less than half of the ganache or glaze into a 2-cup (473-ml) glass measuring cup with a spout. You want the glaze almost cool enough to set, about 90°F/32°C. Pour a puddle of icing in the center of the cake and continue pouring until the icing starts to overflow and run down the edges. Lift the cake and tilt to encourage the glaze to run where there isn’t any. With a metal spatula, smooth the icing around the edge. Do what you can to cover the top and all around the edges. Allow the cake to cool for about 30 minutes.
3. No spatula from here on! Heat the remaining half of the ganache or glaze just until it flows easily. So that it will be perfectly smooth, strain it into a warm 2-cup (473-ml) glass measuring cup with a spout. If you are right-handed, hold the cake with your left hand, keeping it over the parchment. With your right hand, pour the glaze into the center of the cake. Allow the glaze to run down the edges and tilt to get it to run where it is needed. Pour more glaze on as needed, but to NOT touch with a spatula. You want this coating untouched, as smooth as a lake at dawn — a perfect, shiny, dark surface. Place the cake on the cooling rack and allow to cool.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shirley O. Corriher, author of BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes (Copyright © 2008 by Confident Cooking, Inc.), has a B.A. in chemistry from Vanderbilt University, where she was also a biochemist at the medical school. She has problem-solved for everyone from Julia Child to Procter & Gamble and Pillsbury. She has taught and lectured throughout the world. She has long been a writer– authoring a regular syndicated column in The Los Angeles Times Syndicate’s Great Chefs series as well as technical articles in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Her first book, Cookwise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking is a bestseller and won a James Beard Award for excellence. Shirley has received many awards, including the Best Cooking Teacher of the Year in Bon Appetit’s “Best of the Best” Annual Food and Entertaining Awards in 2001. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Arch.
MORE ARTICLES BY THE AUTHOR
- Learn more about BakeWise and browse inside the book
- Watch the video: An interview with Shirley Corriher
- Browse more books about cooking