I like to use an acrylic cake disk or cake board to get a good edge on the top of my cake. The tutorial below will help demonstrate exactly how to do it.
I like to place my piping bag over a big tumbler and then add the piping tip and frosting. You can see a tutorial below.
Yes, you always want to freeze your cake for 10 to 15 minutes after you’ve done the crumb coat. You want to make sure this coat of frosting is set before you apply the final coat of frosting.
Any time you have a filling that’s soft or runny (i.e. lemon curd, peach compote, chocolate ganache, etc.), you’ll want to pipe a rim of frosting around the edge of the cake layer before adding the filling. I typically pipe the rim of frosting about a quarter inch in from the very edge of the cake. Also make sure you don’t put too much of the filling in. Using too much filling will cause your cake to be unstable while you stack and decorate. Save the extra filling and serve it on the side of your cake slices instead.
You’ll always have a line or two from your icing spatula on top of your cake, but you can check out the tutorial below for getting smooth sides and sharp edges to your cake.
“About 3/4 -1 cup frosting between 8” layers and about ½-2/3 cup in between 6” layers.”
My frosting recipes will give you enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add any piping, you’ll want to make an extra ¼ to ½ of the recipe. If you’re running out while just covering the cake, you might be using too much frosting into between the layers.
The best way to prevent leaning cakes is to level your cakes so each layer is totally flat. Get eye level with each layer you stack and frost to make sure it’s level.
Use less cream and let it sit out for a bit to thicken.
Cool them completely and then chill them at least an hour. If you have any heat in your cake it will melt your frosting. I also like working with chilled cake layers because they are easier to handle.