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Frosting Cakes with Flair

By Cook's Illustrated Published September 2015

Here are three easy techniques for finishing layer cakes with a polished look.

Giving cakes a polished look need not require pastry bags and years of practice. Here are three easy techniques for finishing layer cakes.

C-SHAPED SWIRL

Beginning on side of cake, use small spoon to make C-shaped swirl. Make second swirl next to first about 3/4 inch away, orienting C in different direction. Make more swirls, oriented in different directions, over sides and top of cake until frosting is completely covered.

ZIGZAG

Gently run spatula (offset works best) over sides and top of cake to smooth frosting. Holding 12-inch-long serrated knife at both ends with blade facing down and centered over top of cake, gently move knife from side to side to create zigzag pattern.

SPIRAL

Set cake on turntable-style cake stand. Place tip of offset spatula or spoon at center of cake. Slowly rotate cake while dragging tip of spatula or spoon toward edge to create spiral.