Assembling And Icing Cakes


The flavor, texture, and color of the icing must be compatible with the cake.

1. In general, use heavy frostings with heavy cakes and light frostings with light cakes.

For example, ice angel food cakes with a simple flat icing, fondant, or a light, fluffy boiled icing.

High-ratio cakes go well with buttercreams and fudge-type icings. Shortened sponge layer cakes (genoise) are often combined with fruits or fruit fillings, light French or meringue-type buttercream, whipped cream, or flavored fondant.

2. Use the best-quality flavorings, and use them sparingly. The flavor of the frosting should not be stronger than the cake.

Fudge-type icings may be flavored more strongly, as long as the flavor is of good quality.

3. Use coloring sparingly. Light, pastel shades are more appetizing than loud colors.

Paste colors give the best results. Mix a little color with a small portion of the icing, then use this icing to color the rest.


1. Cupcakes are iced by dipping the tops in a soft icing.Twist the cakes slightly and pull them out quickly in one smooth motion.

Cupcakes may also be iced by spreading icing on with a spatula. Practice is necessary to develop speed and efficiency.

2. Petits fours are tiny cakes cut from sheet cakes. Select a cake that doesn't crumble easily. Carefully cut it into desired shapes. Remove all crumbs and place the cakes on a rack over a sheet pan. Ice by pouring fondant or flat icing over them to cover completely.

Procedure for Assembling Layer Cakes_

1. Cool cake layers completely before assembling and icing.

2. Trim layers, if necessary.

• Remove any ragged edges.

• Slightly rounded tops are easily covered by icing, but excessively large bumps may have to be cut off.

• If desired, layers may be split in half horizontally. This makes the cake higher and increases the proportion of filling to cake. See Figure 32.2.

3. Brush all crumbs from cakes. Loose crumbs make the icing process difficult.

4. Place the bottom layer upside down (to give a flat surface for the filling) on a cardboard cake circle of the same diameter. Place the cake in the center of a cake turntable.

If a cake circle or turntable is not available, place the cake on a serving plate and slip sheets of waxed paper or parchment under the edges of the cake to keep the plate clean.

5. Spread filling on the bottom layer out to the edges. If the filling is different from the icing for the outside of the cake, be careful not to spread the filling over the edges.

Use the proper amount of filling. If applied too heavily, it will ooze out when the top layer is set in place.

6. Place the top layer on the bottom layer, right side up.

7. Ice the cake:

• If a thin or light icing is used, pour or spread the icing onto the center of the cake. Then spread it to the edges and down the sides with a spatula.

• If a heavy icing is used, it may be necessary to spread the sides first, then place a good quantity of icing in the center of the top and push it to the edges with the spatula.

Pushing the icing rather than pulling or dragging it with the spatula prevents pulling up crumbs and getting them mixed with the icing.

Use enough icing to cover the entire cake generously, but not excessively, with an even layer. Smooth the icing with the spatula or leave it textured or swirled, as desired. The finished, iced cake should have a perfectly level top and perfectly straight, even sides.


Sheet cakes are ideal for volume service because they require little labor to bake, ice, and decorate, and they keep well as long as they are uncut.

For special occasions, sheet cakes are sometimes decorated as a single unit with a design or picture in colored icing, a "Happy Special Occasion" message, and so on. It is more common, however, to ice them for individual service, as in the following procedure.

Procedure for Icing Sheet Cakes_

Turn out the cake onto the bottom of another sheet pan or tray, as described on page 946. Cool the cake thoroughly.

Trim the edges evenly with a serrated knife. Brush all crumbs from the cake.

Place a quantity of icing in the center of the cake. With a spatula, push the icing to the edges. Smooth the top with the spatula, giving the entire cake an even layer of icing. With a long knife or spatula, mark the entire cake off into portions, as in Figure 32.3, by pressing the back of the knife lightly into the icing. Do not cut the cake.

Using a paper cone or pastry bag fitted with a star tube, pipe a rosette or swirl of icing onto the center of each marked-off portion, or select another decoration, as desired. Whatever decorations you use, keep them simple, and make them the same for every portion. The finished sheet cake will resemble that in Figure 32.4.

Hold for service. Cut as close as possible to service time to keep the cake from drying.

Figure 32.2

Figure 32.2

Cake layers may be split in half horizontally, using a long-bladed, serrated knife.

18 x 26 inch sheets

6 x 8 = 48 portions 8 x 8 = 64 portions 8 x 12 = 96 portions

Figure 32.4

A finished sheet cake marked off into portions and decorated so each portion is identical.

Figure 32.4

A finished sheet cake marked off into portions and decorated so each portion is identical.


creaming method angel food method fondant fudge icing two-stage method chiffon method buttercream royal icing blending method high-fat cakes foam icing glaze foaming method low-fat cakes flat icing


1. Briefly list the steps in each of the four basic cake-mixing methods presented in this chapter.

2. What are the reasons, in the creaming method, for creaming the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy?

3. In both the creaming method and the two-stage method, scraping down the sides of the bowl is emphasized.Why is this necessary?

4. What might the finished product be like if you tried to mix a low-fat cake by the two-stage method? Explain.

5. Examine the following cake formulas and indicate which mixing method you would use for each.

6. What is the most important rule to consider when using fondant?

7. Compare the keeping qualities of simple buttercreams and meringue-type buttercreams.

8. List the steps in assembling and icing a three-layer cake.

Cake 1

2 lb

Cake flour

1 kg

1 lb 2 oz

Emulsified shortening

525 g

1 oz


30 g

1.5 oz

Baking powder

45 g

2 lb 8 oz

Fine granulated sugar

1250 g

1 lb

Skim milk

500 g

1 lb 5 oz

Whole eggs

650 g

10 oz

Skim milk

Cake 2

3 lb Whole eggs 1.5 kg

1 lb Egg yolks 500 g

2 lb 4 oz Sugar 1125 g 2 lb Cake flour 1 kg 6 oz Cornstarch 175 g 6 oz Melted butter 175 g

Cake 3

1 lb


500 g

8 oz


250 g

4 lb


2 kg

1 oz


30 g

1 lb 4 oz

Whole eggs

625 g

3 lb 8 oz

Cake flour

1750 g

10 oz

Cocoa powder

300 g

1.5 oz

Baking soda

45 g

3 lb


15 kg

1 lb 8 oz


750 g

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