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Hi Bold Bakers!
I am often asked how to do a crumb coat and, more importantly, why someone would need to take that extra step! I’ll be the first to admit that cake baking and cake decorating are two very different animals. Baking, frosting, and decorating a beautiful cake involves a whole set of skills that are completely different than any other baking techniques.
Decorating a cake takes practice, technique, and confidence! (I can’t stress that last tip enough). That said, there are tricks of the trade that even pros swear by. One of my go-to tricks for decorating both rustic and professional-looking cakes is to always start with a Crumb Coat (aka crumb layer).
What is a Crumb Coat?
When you frost a cake with just one thick layer of frosting, tiny stray crumbs usually get caught in the frosting and spoil the finish. A crumb layer prevents that from happening by picking up any loose bits of cake and evening out the surface. Technically, it is the first coat of frosting. This crumb layer will allow you to build up to the smooth finish you see in all of your favorite bakeries.
How to Do a Crumb Coat
Wait until your cake is cold before applying it. It’s actually better to work on a cake that is a day old, as it is much easier to decorate and is still fresh!
- Spread a thin layer of frosting between the layers and all over the cake. There’s no need to worry too much about what the cake looks like at this point. This is really just a base layer, a good foundation for your finish.
- Once the whole cake has been covered in its crumb coat, allow it to chill, in the fridge, for at least one hour. Then you are ready to really get creative and add your finishing layer on top, covering all the loose crumbs, nooks, and crannies.
- Check out my great frosting tips on How to Use Piping Nozzles (Bold Baking Basics). You will see the difference a crumb layer makes, your friends and family will be amazed, and you will have a much easier time achieving your desired look!
Tips and Tricks on How to Do a Crumb Coat
- Best to use day-old cakes as they are easier to frost
- A cake that has been refrigerated also is easier to work with
- Less is more: you don’t need a huge amount of frosting to apply the crumb layer. Remember this is just the first coat
- Use a large palette knife which will make it easier to decorate in one fell swoop
- Catch as many crumbs as you can in the crumb coat
- Don’t worry about how it looks after the crumb coat is finished
- Chill the crumb coat for a minimum of 1 hour but up to 24 hours
And, don’t forget to follow Bigger Bolder Baking on Pinterest!
Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.