Did you know that the first cakes baked in America were small loaves of sweet bread? Look how far we have come. Home bakers should not be intimidated by the elaborate cakes being made today. You do not need to be a pastry chef to make beautiful cakes, you just need the know-how and practice. Of course the right tools will go a long way in your cake decorating endeavors.
Here are a few ideas you might like to try.
- Every cake worth merit starts with a smooth icing. The cake needs to cool completely before they are iced and decorated. To keep crumbs from ending up in your icing and ruining the look of your cake, start with a thin base coat of frosting that is not quite as stiff as the regular layer will be. Once this coat is on, set the cake in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. This will set the icing and any crumbs will be caught in this first layer. Now you can spread a regular layer of icing without worrying about crumbs.
- Use an icing spatula to apply and smooth the second coat of icing. Once the icing is on the cake, start smoothing on the sides by running the spatula around the perimeter of the cake. One trick for smoothing the frosting is to dip the metal icing spatula in cold water, this will aid in smoothing the frosting. To smooth the top, dip the spatula in cold water and holding it horizontally over the top of the cake. Start at the point farthest from you, holding the spatula in both hands, skim the top of the icing by bringing the spatula straight toward you.
- Some cake decorators say learning to smooth the icing is the hardest part of cake decorating. Practice will make you a pro in not time. Once you have it down, show it off, even a cake without many decorations that is clean and smooth will make an perfectly elegant offering.
- Instead of icing, cake tops can be dusted with powdered sugar. You can choose to use a stencil for a more decorated appearance, or just the powdered sugar for a clean look.
- Edible decorations are a beautiful yet simple cake decorating technique. The use of sprinkles, candy, nuts, and coconut pressed into the icing before it sets, will make your cake stand out.
- To apply a textured look for your cake decorating, use a small cardboard comb, available in baking supply stores.
- Piping is achieved by using a pastry bag fitted with a metal tip that is held on by a coupler. This is your most important tool for cake decorating. You can make lines, words, shells, flowers, and many other designs on the top or sides of the cake. Fill the bag with no more than 1 cup of icing at a time, twist the top of the bag and keep steady pressure when piping the design. Use your other hand to guide the tip. It is wise to find out everything you can about piping before you begin.
- Fondant a smooth white paste, is used in complicated cake decorating. Fondant is kneaded and rolled to cover cakes with a sleek smooth layer of icing. It is also used to make designs that are 3-D. It is less tasty than buttercream, but the cake will look sleek and elegant.