How to Dirty Ice a Cake with Video

Learn How to Dirty Ice a Cake | The Bearfoot Baker

I am going to begin this tutorial by saying that I’ve never had any kind of professional baking training. I am kind of a DIY baker who likes to figure out how to do things on my own. With that said, I spend almost every waking moment in my kitchen teaching myself how to do whatever it is that tickles my fancy that day. Lately, cakes, buttercream and fondant have been tickling my fancy. Want to learn how to dirty ice a cake? Good! That is what we are going to do today!

How to Dirty Ice a Cake | The Bearfoot Baker

Once we learn a few basic things about how to decorate a cake, nothing will stop us from making any kind of cake we want. The sky is the limit!

Here are a few things I want you to keep in mind:

  • You don’t have to be a professional baker to make a pretty cake. Nope! You just need to be patient and practice.
  • If you want to make pretty cakes that aren’t full of crumby icing, you need to know how to dirty ice a cake. If you can dirty ice a cake (I promise you can do it) then you can make a pretty cake. Trust me.
  • The most important thing I want you to take away from this tutorial is to always have fun in your kitchen! If you make a cake and it doesn’t turn out the way you want it, who cares! Eat it, freeze it or give it to your neighbor. It doesn’t have to look perfect to taste good. My uncle always told me you have to break a few eggs to make on omelet. So keep practicing

Supplies for How to Dirty Ice a Cake:

Buttercream Frosting
A good turntable
Duct Tape-yes I said duct tape
Offset Spatula
Cake Board
Bench Scraper
Sharp Serrated Knife
Cake-Chill the cake overnight so it will be easier to trim.Dirty Ice a Cake | The Bearfoot BakerI believe if you want to make cakes, you need to invest in a few tools. A turntable is something that can make cake decorating easy for you or it can be something that frustrates you.

I have been buying a few cake supplies for the past few years to build up my stash, but when it came to a cake turntable, I looked at it as an investment. I paid about $70 for my Fat Daddio’s Turntable a few years ago and I am so glad I did. I wanted a turntable that could take a beating and keep on spinning. This thing is very solid and weights about 20 pounds.

My point is if you are serious about making cakes, you need to shop around and find a good turntable so decorating will be fun and easy. You don’t have to spend as much as I did but I suggest you don’t get the cheapest turntable one on the market.

Okay, time to move on. Before you place your cake board on your turntable, add a piece of duct tape to hold your board in place. Without it, your board may slide while your trying to add the frosting. Dirty Ice a Cake Video | The Bearfoot BakerNext, cut the cake board so it is the same size as your cake and place it in the center of the turntable. Fill and Dirty Ice a Cake Video | The Bearfoot BakerPress down firmly so it will stay in place when you add the cake. How to Dirty a Cake with Video | The Bearfoot BakerAdd a little frosting to act as glue to hold the cake in place. How to Dirty Ice a Cake - Video | The Bearfoot BakerPlace the cake on the board and wiggle it until it sticks to the board. The more frosting you use the more you will have to wiggle it to make it stay in place. You can watch the video to see what I mean.Layer and Dirty Ice a Cake - Video | The Bearfoot BakerNow it is time to level the cake.Fill and Dirty Ice a Cake | The Bearfoot Baker

Place one hand on top of the cake and use the serrated knife to level the cake by trimming off the top of the cake. Use a gentle sawing motion while slowly turning the cake as you cut. Be careful and don’t cut your hand. Brush the crumbs off before you add the frosting and repeat with all of the cake layers.

Trim Cake Layer and Dirty Ice a Cake | The Bearfoot BakerSpread an even layer of frosting on the bottom layer of the cake.

Dirty Ice a Cake Before You Decorate It | The Bearfoot BakerAdd the second layer of cake (bottom up) and take a good look at it to make sure it is level. You may have to move it and push it around a bit to make perfectly level.

How Level and Dirty Ice a Cake | The Bearfoot BakerNext, cover the cake with the frosting.

Dirty Ice a Cake Like a Pro | The Bearfoot BakerApply more frosting than you think you will need because icing a cake is really about removing the extra frosting. Use a Bench Scraper to Dirty Ice a Cake | The Bearfoot BakerNext, use the bench scraper to remove the excess frosting. Make sure the bench scraper is resting flat on the turntable. Place the bench scraper beside the cake and apply gentle pressure while slowly spinning the turntable. You will need to clean off the bench scraper several times during this process. If the frosting has crumbs you need to place it in a different container than the one with the ‘clean’ frosting or you will end up reapplying the crumbs to the cake. That kind of defeats the purpose of dirty icing a cake doesn’t it.

Level and Dirty Ice a Cake | The Bearfoot BakerKeep working until you have removed most of the frosting.

Easy Way to Dirty Ice a Cake | The Bearfoot BakerTime for the top. When adding the frosting you should (I didn’t do a good job of demonstrating this during the tutorial) build the frosting up so it is actually above the top of the cake.

Then, when you are ready to smooth the top, start about 3″ or 4″ away from the cake and hold the offset spatula at a 45° angle. Slowly bring the spatula to the center of the cake removing the excess frosting. This will help you have a nice edge on top.

Crumb Coat or Dirty Ice a Cake | The Bearfoot BakerIf you don’t get it right the first time, it is alright. All you need to do is add more frosting and try it again!

How to Dirty Ice a Cake | The Bearfoot BakerKeep working it until it is really smooth. If you have a pesky place that won’t smooth, place the cake in the freezer for a few minutes. Remove it and use a Viva paper towel and your hand or a fondant smoother and gently rub the frosting smooth.

Guess what? Now you can dirty ice a cake! I told you it wasn’t hard!

Bear hugs,