Saturday, 24 November 2012

Sandwiching and Crumbcoating Cakes


If you've decided to make a cake, you'll probably need to sandwich two or more sponges together.
Here, we'll do this with basic buttercream but you could also use cream to sandwich and add jam or fruit too.

We'll also cover crumbcoating cakes. Crumbcoating is the process of covering cakes in buttercream prior to covering them in sugarpaste (ready to roll icing).

To start off, you'll need two cooled sponges of the same size to make the tiers and some basic buttercream.

If you're making a Victoria sponge, you won't really need to trim your cakes, although you may want to level the top of the bottom tier a little so the top one sits flatter. To do this, hold a sharp knife flat against the top of the cake at the side, and gently cut the top of the cake, making sure to keep the knife flat. A wonky knife makes a wonky cake!

Cold cakes are easier to cut as the crumb is nice and firm. Put the cakes in the fridge for a while if possible to make thing easier!

If you want to cover your cakes, level the top of your tiers so that they are nice and flat.

I didn't do this to start off with, but did on my most recent cake and there was such a difference! The cake at the top of the page was levelled, but the ones below weren't.

You'll also need to trim the sides of the tiers to make them even. To do this, stack your cake tiers up and hold the knife against the side. Gently trim around the sides of the tiers, again keeping the knife level. Gently brush off any loose crumb.

A pallet knife makes it much easier to sandwich and crumbcoat, but you can make do with a normal knife.

Scoop a little buttercream in the middle on top of the bottom tier. Gently spread it outwards towards the edge with the knife. Add a little at a time and build it up until you have about 1-2cm thickness, depending on taste.

Make sure it's nice and even!

If you're using jam or fruit, now's the time to put it in.

Place the top tier on evenly and gently press down to settle it.

If you're making a Victoria sponge, decorate the top with a little sifted icing sugar and serve.

Victoria Sponge with Cream and Jam
If you're icing your cake, you'll need to crumbcoat it now so that the icing has a base to adhere to.

Start by covering the top of the cake with a little buttercream in the same way as sandwiching, but start to work some buttercream over the edge. Next, work your way around the side of the cake, making sure it's nice and even. You need a thinner layer of buttercream for crumbcoating. Level off the top and sides and chill until the buttercream firms up.

Your cake is now ready for covering with ready to roll icing. Make sure you smooth the icing down over the buttercream for a nice even finish!

We'll look at techniques for icing cakes in detail at a later date!


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