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A Smoother Frosting

When I frost a layer cake, there's always a ridge in the frosting where the layers meet. This happens no matter what the consistency of the frosting. I've tried spreading it between layers to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the cake but still can't achieve a smooth finish. Please help! —N.D. Palm Coast, Florida

This ridge usually appears when the layers aren't leveled before assembling the cake. To do so, place each layer on a level surface. With one hand, hold the top of the layer steady; place a long serrated knife against the top with the blade parallel to the work surface and gently saw off the dome. Repeat with remaining cake layers. Spread the filling between layers to within 1/2 inch of the edges. When the layers are in place, press the top of the cake gently to make sure the cake is settled as much as possible. Allow it to stand for at least 1 hour to make sure the filling is set. Next, spread a thin layer of frosting, called a crumb layer, to set the crumbs. After this coating is dry, spread frosting over the sides and top of cake to cover any imperfections from the first coat.

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