How to Dust Cakes With Powdered Sugar

By Kristie Brown

So you found the perfect cake recipe and it calls for you to finish the cake by dusting it -- and you have no idea what dusting is or how to do it. It's really quite simple. Dusting a cake means that rather than icing the cake with frosting, you decorate the cake by sprinkling a thin layer of confectioners sugar, cocoa powder or ground nuts over the top to enhance the cake's flavor and appearance. Even a novice can dust a cake with powdered sugar with the right equipment.

Falling powder sugar on vanilla muffins
credit: Shaiith/iStock/Getty Images
Holding the sifter higher gives a lighter dusting.

Step 1

Lay a cooling rack across the sink and place the cooled cake gently on top of the rack. Dusting over the sink makes cleanup a breeze because all you have to do is rinse the sink. If you prefer, you can dust the cake on a countertop or table.

Step 2

Pour some powdered sugar into a bowl and stir it to remove clumps and separate the particles.

Step 3

Pour the sugar into an empty sugar shaker, sifter, sieve or a fine strainer. Do this carefully because it tends to make a mess. If you are pouring it into a sifter or strainer, hold it over another clean bowl to catch the excess.

Step 4

Hold the sifter or strainer over the cake and then gently shake out or sift the sugar onto the cake until it is evenly covered with a fine layer of sugar.

Step 5

Carefully lift the cake onto the serving plate.