How to Frost a Boxed Cake So It Looks Homemade (PHOTOS)

completely frosted cake

Turn your from-the-box baked cake into something that looks like it came straight from the bakery. Shhh, we won't tell if you don't.


Brace yourself, ladies, 'cause frosting a cake can be a pain in the you know what. But hopefully my past pain and suffering will help you on your way to channeling your inner Betty Crocker.

I'm sharing these tips in the hopes you won't end up with a cake rap sheet a mile long ... like some of my own horror stories -- crumbs in the frosting, chunks missing from sides, or my personal favorite, the slanting b-day cake. I might never live these down. 

Before we break it down, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Don't ever frost a warm cake; it will become a runny-looking mess. 
  • If you're buying frosting, make sure you get two containers, just to make sure you don't have to skimp on the icing. 

cake frosting tools

Now let's get started! 

icing on cake stand

Step one: Place a dollop of frosting in the middle of your cake plate. Place the first layer of cake on top down so the flat side is facing up. Spooning about a cup of frosting on the flat layer, spread it evenly all the way to the edges with an offset spatula.

icing a cake

Step two: Place the second layer on top of the first, rounded side up. Apply an even coat of frosting over the top and the side of the cake. This layer should be thin, but not so thin that it's pulling up cake. This is called a crumb coat, so don't stress if you can see them in the icing. Place the entire cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

crumb coat

Step three: Take the cake out of the fridge. The icing should be set now. Re-ice the entire cake with a second coat of frosting. Again, be liberal with the frosting so you're not getting crumbs in the finished product. 

cake frosting

Step four: Add sprinkles, candles, or cake toppers and you're done. 

completely frosted cake

When your family asked where you bought the cake from, you can now proudly say you made it yourself. 

Happy baking!


Images via Caylin Harris

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