1. Set a cardboard cake round sized to fit the cake on a cake-decorating stand. Put 1 Tbs. icing in the center of the cardboard round, then center the first layer of cake on the round.

2. Using an icing spatula, spread the icing evenly over the first cake layer.

3. Center the second cake layer over the first. Spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake.

4. Spread the icing evenly around the sides of the cake.

5. To decorate the cake with flaked coconut, ground nuts or chocolate shavings, carefully remove the cake from the stand, holding the cake by the cardboard underneath. Over a sheet of waxed paper, gently press the coconut or other garnish into the sides, letting the excess fall off.

6. Sprinkle the remaining flaked coconut or other garnish over the top, then transfer the cake to a serving plate.

Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen