How To Frost a Cake (using a paper towel)

I know this isn't Tuesday but I thought I would surprise you with another tutorial! Enjoy!!


This video is really helpful and shows you step by step what your cake should look like, the way to put a crumb coat on, the final layer of frosting, and then how to smooth it out with a Viva paper towel. This can get your cake so smooth that it looks like fondant!






I hope this was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions or if you have any problems!

Remember that the frosting needs to be thin!! Here is a great recipe that will work great with this technique!

Don't forget to follow my blog! :)

81 comments:

  1. Will this work with other thin frostings? How does the frozen icing taste?

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    1. This will definitely work with other frosting recipes but you need to make sure it is thin! Since the frosting is only in the freezer for 15 minutes it doesn't affect the taste. Putting it in the freezer just helps you to put the next layer of frosting on and then when you are smoothing with the paper towel it helps it to not stick. By the time you are finished decorating it and it's ready to serve, the frosting isn't frozen any more :)

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  2. Wonderful idea, thanks for sharing! I can't wait to try this. ~Deb

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  3. great tutorial! thank you ♥

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  4. Very interesting. Next time I have a hurry up cake, lol, I'll give it a try. Thank you.

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  5. Does the paper towel have to be Viva brand? Or do other brands work?

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    1. I use a Viva paper towel because it doesn't have a design on it, but if you wanted a specific design to add some texture to the buttercream you could try a different brand of paper towel!

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  6. THANK YOU! I better start to practice this now! I just decided to try and decorate my own wedding cake :)

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    1. That is so exciting! I would love to give you any tips or tricks that you would need!

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  7. Viva doesn't have a pattern. You can use other brands, but the pattern will imprint in the frosting. Which can be good :D

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  8. I did this before but the buttercream keep on sticking to the towel.is there a certain room temperature requirement? Coz here in philippines weather is so frustrating for cakes specially fondants.that's why i would prefer on buttercream, but i wanted to look like fondant. Any advice? Thank you.

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    1. You need to make sure that you put the cake in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes to let the frosting get hard and then you can use the paper towel :) I bet the weather makes it very difficult!!

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    2. So did you freeze it before smoothing it out with the towel? Cheese cloth towels also work well :)

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  9. Wow what a brilliant idea! I am not a fan of fondant at all, I have to try this!

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  10. Whenever I try something like this my frosting sticks to it and then it looks worse, am I pressing too hard?

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    1. You could be pressing hard, but the key is to let the frosting harden in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. That way it's not frozen, but you will still be able to mold it so it will be super smooth!

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  11. I had no plans to make a cake any time soon but now I am totally inspired! I'll be trying this tomorrow. :)
    Thank so much for the amazing tip!

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  12. Couldnt you use wax paper instead??? Do you think it would work well??

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    1. I haven't ever used wax paper for smoothing out buttercream! I'm sure it would still work!

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    2. I always use wax paper on my cakes and yes it works great! U don't have to worry about the temperature or thickness with your icing when u use wax paper. I've never tried using a paper towel. you can see my cakes at Cakes By Erin on Facebook.

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  13. do you freeze after the crumb coat only, or after the 2nd icing too?

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    1. I froze it both times because you want the crumb coat to be hard so that the crumbs don't appear in your next layer of icing :)

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  14. I really want to try this however I'm concerned that small particles of the paper towel will remain stuck in the frosting.

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    1. I was worried about that too the very first time I tried this technic, but so far I haven't had any problems!

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    2. You have to use a good quality paper towel - some of the cheaper ones will unfortunately leave bits, if your icing isn't frozen well enough.

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  15. This is phenomenal! Thank you for your awesome tutorials! =)I also like the question about wax paper...I bet that would work as well. I think I'll try the viva paper towels though because the wax paper would be more likely to crinkle & leave imperfections/impressions behind.

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    1. Thank you for watching!!! I could imagine that the wax paper would make the process a little more difficult than it needs to be. Thanks for your comment!

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  16. I LOVE decorating cakes too and am so glad to have found your site! I'm going to be sharing this in my Friday Treats series tomorrow. Thanks so much for sharing, Brooke! - Your newest GFC follower :)

    http://enjoyerofgrace.blogspot.com

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  17. WOW! That is incredibly SMART! Thank for the idea! Found you on Pinterest.

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  18. Does the paper towel have to be wet or dry?

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  19. Hi Brooke! I just tried out this technique over the weekend for my son's birthday cake! I'm not sure if it's just my frosting, but it didn't seem to want to harden. I tried laying the paper towel over it anyways, but it didn't quite work out.

    I shared the link to your video anyways though if any of my readers were interested:

    http://enjoyerofgrace.blogspot.com/2012/06/bday-part-i-cake.html

    Thanks again for sharing! I'm going to have to try it again! :)

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  20. Does it have to be butter cream frosting??

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    1. It doesn't have to be buttercream, just make sure that your frosting will be able to form a "crust" so that the paper towel won't stick to the icing.

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  21. I have did this Many of time & each time I do it works great until after an hour in the freezer I put viva paper towel and it smears!! If I just smooth it out with a long thick knife it works better than the towel. Do you know why this keeps on happening to me?

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    1. It could be that you are pressing too hard on the frosting with the paper towel! But if smoothing it out with a knife works better for you than I would definitely do that!

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  22. Can you share your icing recipe?

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    1. Sure! Here it is:
      http://www.thelittledelightsinlife.com/2012/04/tutorial-tuesday-my-delicious.html

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Link is broken. I found it here:

      http://www.thelittledelightsinlife.blogspot.com/2012/04/tutorial-tuesday-my-delicious.html

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  23. What recipe did you use for the chocolate cake?

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    1. I just added a new post for my cake recipes :) Here is the link:
      http://www.thelittledelightsinlife.com/2012/07/my-favorite-cake-recipes.html

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  24. I hope you don't mind, but I have Pin'd this! Thank you

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    1. I don't mind at all :) Thanks so much!

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  25. Wow! Can this be done with butter paper??

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  26. Have you ever thought about using an offset spatula? Its what the professionals use, and it really would make a lot more sense for you to use that instead of the straight spatula you are using.

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    1. This is a great tutorial for beginners but as a professional, using an offset will give you the same result. You don't even need the paper towel which can shed into the frosting.

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    2. I love using an offset spatula! But for the purpose of this tutorial I focused on beginners.

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    3. I agree with using an offset spatula. This is a very good idea. However, it seems like a lot more work for a beginner. Its like taking the long way, using time and energy. I only say that because I make cakes as a day job teach classes on the side. Very cool idea though.

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  27. This was a great tutorial, thanks!

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  28. how does the buttercream not get stuck to the paper towel ?? thanks!! so cool!

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  29. Hi there!
    I’m going to attempt this technique this weekend, and I was wondering what you suggest for keeping the cake fresh over night? My sons party is Saturday morning, so I’m going to do the cake on Friday night. With your frosting recipe, should I cover the cake and refrigerate it over night? Or leave it at room temperature?
    Thank you!!

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  30. I'm also curious about your recommendations for storing and baking before a party. Do you usually frost it the day of or can it be done sooner?

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  31. I've never tried it with a paper towel, however, Parchment paper works Fabulously! Doesn't stick at all!

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  32. I've used this technique for years and have loved it! Some never will believe me that it's not fondant. I use high ratio shortening and brite white in my buttercream and this leads to not needing the freezing process unless it's unusally humid (well, for Oregon)
    Thank you so much for posting and I look forward to exploring on your blog!!!

    Heather
    www.hcakecottage.blogspot.com

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  33. Hi, can I please get the recipe for the cake you made in this video? I can never get my cake firm enough to ice it like that. I tried to email you but I haven't received any reply yet, maybe I emailed to the wrong account. Please do reply!

    Thanks!

    Farhana

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  34. For the beginners out there, you don't need that much icing for the crumb coat.

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  35. This is great! Just followed your blog. Super helpful.

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  36. Pinned, googles +'ed, and following you now, this is amazing! Now I just need an excuse to make a cake:)

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  37. Have you tried using a small paint roller? The lady teaching my cake class showed us this trick.

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  38. I had issues with the frosting sticking to the paper towel. After rubbing the top and pulling it off, all the icing stuck to the towel. I used a store bought frosting and a cheaper brand of towel (not sure if that is the reason) or if I just didn't keep it frozen long enough. Thoughts?

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    1. Hi! This is Brooke's mom responding since Brooke is gone for 18 months. I know that it is important to use Viva paper towels and to only use homemade buttercream frosting. The frosting has to form a crusty layer and the store bought frostings don't do that. The Viva paper towels don't have a pattern and are thicker so they work the best.

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  39. Hi i am making a cake half green and the other half purple do you think i could use this technique? any tips or suggestions would help.

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    1. Hi, this is Brooke's mom. I am sure it will work as long as it is frozen well so the colors don't melt together.

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  40. I've used this technique twice and both times it worked GREAT! Thanks so much for this idea. Do exactly as she says and it will work...

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  41. Has any body tried a cream cheese icing, like one you would use on red velvet cake

    Would butter cream icing be good in red velvet?

    Thanks

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    1. I'm not aware of any cream cheese frosting recipes that crust. However, if you put some LorAnn "cheesecake" flavor oil in buttercream, it will taste enough like cream cheese icing to go well with red velvet. :)

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  42. My friend Jordan Oborn is in the same mission city! I hope yall have met! Good luck with your mission! - Libby

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  43. I made this frosting today and used Viva paper towel technique, "It worked" I colored my frosting into blue using Wilton royal blue color. First I thought, the frosting wouldn't work since it was little thicker than yours but cleaning my spatulas with hot water and paper towel, man it did work. I am very very happy. Thank you so much

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  44. This may have been stated in previous comments...I didn't read them all. Sometimes you have a cake that would just be too large to fit in the freezer. Just let it sit after you crumb coat until it is dry to the touch...not tacky...then add your final coat. And also let it dry to the touch before you use the paper towel and it won't stick to the frosting. Never heard of putting the cake in the freezer...this will help on a humid day!

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  45. You can also use regular paper if you don't have paper towels.

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  46. I notice that in your video you use the paper towel immediately after applying the second coat of icing however in your replies you say that you must let the icing form a crust so the towelling doesn't stick. Could you please clarify. Thanks for the awesome tutorial.

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    1. I believe that is only if you are not using her buttercream recipe. Other frostings are too soft and so they need to set out to form a crust first.

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