The Ina Garten Hack That Will Change The Way You Frost Cake

For more than two decades, Ina Garten, better known as the Barefoot Contessa to her 3.7 million followers on Instagram, has shared her passion for cooking and entertaining with us, including meals with her husband, Jeffrey. Fans are familiar with Jeffrey from Garten's cooking show, where Jeffrey conveniently joins his wife onscreen just in time to eat. In 2016, Garten penned a personal cookbook, "Cooking for Jeffrey," which chronicles their life together and the memorable meals they have shared.

With 13 cookbooks published, the New York Times bestselling author can be found on the Food Network's "Barefoot Contessa" cooking show, the channel's paid app teaching virtual cooking classes, and all social media sites. Fans can interact with Garten through the Barefoot Contessa website in a segment called "Ask Ina," where she answers questions from viewers, or you can take a page from Trent Pheifer and reach Garten directly. Á la "Julie and Julia," Pheifer, whose blog and Instagram account "Store Bought is Fine" (named after Garten's catchphrase) documents his adventures as he cooks his way through Garten's cookbooks and cooking shows ("Go-To Dinners" will be released in October 2022), delighting his almost 50k followers, including Garten.

Pheifer, who refers to himself as "the store-bought version of Ina," completed the 1,272 recipes in March. The project took almost 6-and-a-half years to complete, prompting Pheifer to request Meryl Streep to play him on screen (via Today). Rewarded for his perseverance (and confidence), Pheifer Zoomed with Garten for his final recipe, proving Garten still has tips to share with fans.

Cooking with Ina

Posted on YouTube, the video shows Trent Pheifer assembling one of Ina Garten's most difficult recipes, a cake version of Boston Cream Pie that contains two sponge cakes, simple syrup, pastry cream, and chocolate ganache. With Garten directing, a well-prepared Pheifer learns how to neatly frost a cake, along with a few other tips Garten had up her sleeve (via Kitchn).

With all the components prepared, Pheifer begins by cutting the cake layers in half. To make the layers even, Garten advises using a few toothpicks evenly spaced along the edge of the cake rounds to guide your knife as you cut. No more lopsided layers! Each layer gets brushed with simple syrup, giving the cake more flavor, a tip Garten learned from pastry chef Christina Tosi of Milk Bar, and then a dollop of pastry cream. 

Before topping the cake with ganache, Garten advises cutting sheets of parchment paper into squares, then diagonally into triangles. The long side of each triangle is tucked between the cake and plate, overlapping the entire cake. Pheifer then pours a warmed ganache over the top of the cake, allowing the chocolate to drip down the sides. Once the ganache sets, a paring knife is run where the cake meets the paper before removing the parchment (and any drips), leaving your plate clean. This tip also works when frosting a cake with buttercream.

Before signing off, Pheifer introduces Garten to his boyfriend, to which Garten adds, "If you cook, a man will show up," dropping the mic and exponentially increasing how much we love her.