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Cake Decorating Tips
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Decorating a cake to come out just the way you want it to can be fun but frustrating. You have somewhat of an idea of what you want, but getting it from conception to reality doesn’t always work out the way we planned. Let’s look at some tips that can help you achieve that dream cake.

Baking the Cake

Be prepared. I know it sounds like you’re in a Boy Scout troop. But hey it also works for making a great cake. Have all the ingredients on hand that you will need, before you start. Don’t substitute with lower quality manufacturers if it doesn’t say you can or you haven’t already tried it with a substitute and know how it will taste and turn out. While we’re on that subject, if this is for a really special occasion you might want to try a dry run anyway. There’s nothing worse than having a limited amount of time to decorate a cake and the actual cake doesn’t turn out like you want. It will affect your finished product if you have to rush to finish the decorating phase.

Preparing the Cake

A lot of experienced decorators say you should freeze the cake after baking as it firms it up and actually locks in the moisture and prevents it from drying out later. Here’s a tip, try it both ways and see what works for you. Different locations and humidity will affect the cake so if you plan on freezing it see how it tastes after you thaw one out and decorate one. Icing the cake Practice makes perfect, not just a cliché, especially in cake decorating. Try your spatula on an actual cake with real frosting. Try different ways to use it. Some like to make sure the spatula is always wet, some like to use it when it is slightly heated. I kind of like a warm glass of water nearby so when the icing starts to drag I can wipe it off and drip it in. The trick is to not get to much water on the cake, it can leaves puddles and spotting that you won’t see till later. Start out with cupcakes and work your way up if you need to build some confidence first.

Making and Applying Fondant to the Cake

Have fun. Fondant can be just like using play doe when you were a kid. If you make a mistake rolling it out and applying it you can always just start over again. If it has dried out, add some more of the liquid ingredient if it is too thin add some powdered sugar until you get the right consistency. If making it from scratch intimidates you there are many pre-made fondant mixes out there. Start with them and work your way up to your own mixes. Believe me you will eventually want to make your own; the pre-made ones don’t have near the flavor that you can achieve by making your own.

Making Sugar Paste Decorations

Now we come to the fun part, but unfortunately it can also be the most difficult and time consuming part. The best tip I can give you here is to get as much visual information, in the way of pictures and videos that show you how to do it. Just reading from a book doesn’t do it for me. You just can’t get the same result out of someone trying to talk you through a step as you can from actually seeing someone produce the item in front of you eyes.

Piping the Cake

Practice again, get a piece of wax paper or even a practice board with a plastic cover on it so you can put a pattern underneath, especially for lettering, that can guide your hand while you practice. Then scrape it off and reload and do it again until you feel comfortable doing it. You have several things to think about as you pipe. There is the direction but also the pressure you have to exert on the bag as you move. Then you also have the right speed you have to move the bag at to get what you want. Without some practice you will never be able to get the results you want.

Storing the Cake Before Presenting

OK the cake is made and it looks great, but it isn’t time to present it yet, how do you store it so it will still look great when you deliver it. Keep the cake covered if possible and out of direct sunlight. Make sure you don’t have any excess humidity, a cool refrigerated place is ideal but if one isn’t available at least make sure the place you store the cake in is air conditioned.

All in all decorating your own cakes can be fun but if you don’t have some idea of the way to do it right it will be very frustrating. At Cake Decorating Central you can find other useful tips and resources for decorating cakes. Get the right tools and information and have fun decorating cakes.


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