To glaze a layer cake, set it on a wire rack set into a rimmed baking sheet. This allows you to evenly coat the cake without excess glaze making a mess.
To frost a cake, place strips of parchment paper under the edges of the cake. Once the cake is frosted, slide out and discard the parchment for a neat presentation.
Whether glazing or frosting, cover the top first, then attend to the sides. Pressing decorations, like sliced nuts or toasted coconut, into the sides is one of our favorite tricks for making a layer cake look professional while hiding any imperfections.