Cake Frosting Basics 9 – Takeaway Method

Cake Frosting Basics

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The Takeaway Method
How to Frost a Cake

My method for achieving clean lines and sharp edges on a cake is a trick that I call, the takeaway frosting method. What I mean by “takeaway” is that the pivotal moment when the cake goes from looking lumpy to smooth and crisp happens as the buttercream gets taken away, not as it’s applied. The logic behind this method is that it’s easier to scrape down to a clean finish than it is to build up to it. Like laying brick or grouting tile, it’s the same idea of providing enough substance to fill the gaps then scraping away whatever is not needed until there is a smooth, consistent, and professional-looking result.

There are many trades and crafts that involve this take-away concept. Whittling wood or bars of soap into shapes involves taking away. Sculpting from stone or trimming clay on a pottery wheel also involve taking away. The advantage of this buttercream frosting recipe is that it can be both added AND taken away.

Sticks of Butter

The key to the takeaway method is the pure butter, which gets hard when it’s cold, so it can be reapplied then scraped down however many times it takes to get the cake looking right.

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