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Cake frostings can be made in minutes using some recipes while other, more decorative frostings might take a bit longer. Prior to frosting any cake, you should allow it to completely cool unless your recipe states otherwise. Anytime your cake is crumbly, you can partially freeze it before frosting to help the cake hold together. If there are any uneven areas on the cake, trim them away with a serrated knife and always choose a flat plate that is at least two inches wider than the cake on all sides. Before you place the cake on the plate, put a tablespoon of frosting in the center of the plate to help hold the cake in place while you work.

A basic butter cream frosting can be made by creaming 1/3 cup butter or margarine until fluffy. Add to this one pound of sifted confectioners' sugar while alternately adding 5 tablespoons of light cream or milk. Blend in 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon salt. If the frosting is too thick, it can be thinned by adding a small amount of cream. To thicken the frosting more, add more confectioners' sugar. If you want the frosting to be chocolate, simply add 1/2 cup of cocoa to the confectioners' sugar before you sift it. A perfectly delicious citrus frosting can be made by using this recipe and substituting orange or lemon juice for the cream. Omit the vanilla and add 4 teaspoons of finely grated peel of the fruit you have chosen.

To make a more ornamental type frosting, begin by beating two egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar until foamy. Slowly add 3 cups of sifted confectioners' sugar, beating until the mixture is thick. This frosting can be thinned by adding a few drops of hot water or thickened by adding more confectioners' sugar. The frosting will dry hard and glossy. A delicious 7-minute frosting can be made by placing 4 well beaten egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar in the top of a double boiler. Continuously beat the mixture until it begins to thicken. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup sugar. Continue beating until the frosting is the consistency of thick cream and remove from the burner. Allow the frosting to cool for a few minutes before you frost the cake. For birthdays and special occasions, cake coloring and confectioners' sugar can be added to a small amount of this frosting to decorate your cake.

When coating a cake with a thick frosting, begin by spreading a thin layer over the cake and allowing it to set for a few minutes. Apply a second thicker layer of frosting, starting on the sides and working up. To apply a thin frosting to angel food, sponge, or chiffon cake, pour it evenly over the top and allow it to run down the sides. If the cake is firmer, you will need to spread the top and sides quickly. This can be done easily by dipping a spatula in hot water and using it to smooth the surface. Always spread your frosting between the layers and allow it to set prior to coating the top and sides. If you are using a cream filling, try spreading the layers with melted, strained jelly or preserves to keep the filling from soaking in to the cake. Always refrigerate a filled cake for at least two hours before you frost it.