Updated: Jan 5, 2021
Having super sharp edges on your cake is Goals for every baker. This technique will elevate your design to the next level and allow you to create a beautiful blank canvas for gorgeous designs. The technique is just as important as the tools for this process!
The technique is just as important as the tools for this process. We're going to go over what I do to get my super sharp edges on my cakes, and the ratios I use!
Note: I chill my cakes after each step in this process. In fact, if I could frost all my cakes inside of a walk in cooler I totally would.
I chill my cake even before I crumb coat it so that the filling is nice and cold, and the cake layers (I use 4) won't slip around. Then I use either super fresh ganache (Ratios listed at the end) or I carefully nook previously made ganache in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time until it is melted and liquid-y. Some of my cakes (like chocolate) need to be **almost** frozen in order for it not to tear with the crumb coat, but others (like vanilla) give me no issues at all.
Once the whole cake is crumb coated put it back into the fridge to chill. I do like to chill the crumb coat for at least 20 minutes, but you can chill it overnight if you are not pressed for time.
TIP: Purchase some of these super affordable and convenient plastic boards made by Wilton!!
Why? Because they are sturdy, so when you go to chill your cake you don't have to worry about the board creasing like the cardboard ones do. And they're 100% reusable. You can wash them and use them as many times as you want. Right now they only come in 10" but they are so perfect for 4"-8" tiers.
I like to use a small offset spatula for frosting with ganache-this way I can control how much I add, and I can keep it mostly even. I do not like to use too much ganache because 1. it's expensive, and 2. it's a very rich flavor and even though it's delicious I prefer a thinner coat if I can help it.
If your ganache it still liquid at this point, maybe wait another 15 minutes, but I do prefer it to still be a bit runny, if it's too cool it will go on way too thick and will be more difficult to take off. Plus your cake should still be cold, so once it goes on it should harden up fairly quickly. I like to start at the top and work my way down, making sure to cover each side before I turn my stand. If you keep it pretty even all the way around you should have only a little bit to scrape off at the end.
TIP: Make sure you have a bench scraper that has a thin edge and sharp(-ish) corners. This one from Amazon is my absolute favorite. The thin edge helps scrape off the ganache so that you don't use too much.
3. Final touches
Once you're done frosting, run some hot water onto your bench scraper (wipe off the water!) and go over your cake a few times. This will help make everything super smooth and the heat will eliminate the risk of tearing up your cake because you don't have to use force. I like to use a large offset spatula for smoothing the top. Then I take out my handy dandy 12" level (check if your counter is level!!) and level out the top of my cake. You'll have to turn the cake a few times just to be sure.
Tip: It's easier to add more to the top than to take it off
I go over the sides one last time, that way any little bit of excess will be pushed upward. You can take this bit off with a razor or small offset spatula after you chill it again.
White Chocolate 4: 1
Dark Chocolate 3: 1
Weigh your chocolate (eyeball how much you will need)
Than divide that amount by 4 and that's how much cream you will need.
Heat the cream up in the microwave until it just starts to boil. Then pour it onto your chocolate.
Wait about 2 minutes then stir.
Note: My climate is very humid from May-September, and only moderately humid during the other months. Adjust your ratios for your climate and see how it works!
Some brands melt easier than others. If the chocolate hasn't melted on its own, put it in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time, stirring after each time.
Melt completely, otherwise you'll have tiny chunks of chocolate in your frosting, and you won't get a smooth finish.
Ganache can sit out overnight, but it's best to keep it in the fridge if storing for longer than a few days.
Preferred Chocolate Brands:
Guittard- I purchase mine from Divine Specialties.
I have used this brand for both white and dark chocolate ganache and they both work great! They have a harder consistency than Ghirardelli so you will need to microwave it a few times to get the chocolate to melt fully. The white chocolate is very white and opaque which is why I prefer to use Guittard.
Ghirardelli- I purchase mine from Webstaurant
It is a bit more expensive than Guittard, but they melt so easily and taste so delicious it that it's worth it! The white chocolate is great, but it has a yellow color to it and is pretty transparent. I personally use this brand for my dark chocolate ganache.
If you want to try out Ghirardelli without committing to a 25lb box than this is a good place to start!