We can’t believe we haven’t been doing this all along.

By Elisabeth Sherman
Updated July 02, 2018

Even after you’ve baked the perfect cake, making sure it's also perfectly frosted is another challenge entirely. Not only do you want the frosting to go on the cake evenly, but you also want it to look smooth, not choppy. So what’s a foolproof method for frosting a polished, elegant-looking layer cake? Do it upside down.

I know, it doesn’t sound intuitive, but in the latest episode of Mad Genius Tips, Food & Wine Culinary Director Justin Chapple proves that achieving that professional bakery look is simple.

Frosting the cake upside down only sounds overly complicated. But actually, it’s easy, and it ensures that the frosting on top of your cake will be totally smooth—no clumps, dips, or bumps—just an expert looking layer of buttercream.

First, trace a circle on a piece of parchment paper using a cake pan. Place the sheet of paper on a cake tray, pencil side down. Spread your first layer of frosting (here’s our recipe for classic white buttercream) directly on the parchment paper (within the circle that you earlier outlined, obviously). Then, place your first layer of cake directly into the circle, adding more buttercream for the filling. Place the second layer on top, add the crumb coat (a thin layer of frosting around the sides of the cake) and then let it chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.

After you take it out of the freezer, finish frosting the sides of the cake—this is easiest to do with a rotating cake plate, so you can spin the cake as you spread the frosting on with a spatula. Once you’re done, you can use a bench scraper to remove some any excess frosting from the sides and smooth the whole thing out.

Now, let the cake set in the freezer for another 30 minutes. After you take it out, grab another cake plate (or flat surface), and place it on top of the cake. Flip the whole thing over, peel off the parchment, and gaze at what your handy work as created. Who needs the bakery now?

By the way, if you’re struggling to figure out how to line your round baking pans with parchment, Chapple has a Mad Genius Tip has a method you’ll love, and once you’re done baking and decorating your cake, he obviously knows the best way to cut and store it, too.