Cake decorating is an art form that you often see demonstrated in baking shows and contests. It relies primarily on icing, frosting and other sugary materials to create edible decorations on a cake. Advanced cake decorating also includes sculpting the cake into a three-dimensional shape. Cake decorating requires the right tools, cake and preparation. When you first start to learn how to decorate a cake, you will need some practice, and online cake decorating classes are also available.
Even the best cake decorators use tools instead of making decorations by hand. A real frosting spatula is made of metal, since icing will stick to a plastic spatula. Toothpicks are essential for creating fine details in the decoration. Icing bags, icing bag holders and ties are also standard tools for making cake decorations. Icing tips are typically available as a kit, which should include tips with the following shapes:
- Basket weave
- Drop flower
- V shape
You must have the right type of cake, especially if you are new to cake decorating. This generally means a cake with a tough shell that can stand up to some poking and prodding. A mud cake or fruitcake is a good choice, but a sponge cake will likely fall apart when you try to decorate it. You may want to buy a suitable cake for decorating instead baking it yourself.
The planning phase of cake decorating requires you to choose a theme. This can be as simple as selecting a color scheme and a few pretty decorations on top of the cake. A more sophisticated theme can include a design that occupies the entire cake, such as a flower or cartoon character. You must also ensure you have all the necessary tools and ingredients before you start decorating.
Use icing that is specifically made for cake decorating, ensuring that you follow the recipe exactly. The recipe for this type of icing should call for gum paste or some other type pliable material. Pre-made icing is also available in grocery stores and bakery shops. If you want to know how to make fondant for cakes, then it’s always good to start with a rolled fondant recipe, which is the easiest icing to use for decorating cakes.
Choose the right tip for each type of decoration. You will need a round tip for writing and a basket weave tip for making outlines. A petal tip is most useful for bows and flowers. A star tip is one of the most versatile, and is commonly used for making rosettes, shells, stars and zigzags.
Make the decorations on foil or greaseproof paper with the icing tips and icing that you prepared earlier. Ensure you leave plenty of room between decorations so you can practice without disturbing the decorations you’ve already made. This is the creative part of the decorating process and it requires some patience to become proficient. Wait for the decorations to dry and apply any needed details with your toothpicks.
Apply the base layer of icing to the cake while your decorations are drying. Butter cream icing is easily available and simple to spread onto the cake with a spatula. Fondant is a type of icing that contains gelatin and glycerin, making it easy to roll onto the cake like a piecrust. Smooth the fondant over the cake as needed and trim it neatly around the edges.
Slide a spatula under each decoration and carefully apply it to the icing. The decorations should stick to butter cream icing fairly easily, but you will need to moisten fondant slightly with cold water to get the decorations to stick. Press the decorations onto the cake to keep them in place.
If you would prefer to see techniques like this clearly demonstrated in videos with clear step-by-step instructions that you can follow along with whenever you are ready to decorate, then you may consider taking a few decorating classes.
Taking Cake decorating lessons can be very helpful for decorators of all skills. They can provide you with new decorating ideas.
And if you are not inclined to go out and find some classes locally, I highly recommend an online resource that will cover everything you ever need to know about cake decorating.
In fact learning how to decorate cakes will just be one of the skills you will learn; you will be able to watch videos that show you how to bake cakes, watch excellent tutorial videos showing many different decorating techniques, as well as bounce ideas of others members in a members-only forum, allowing you to share tips without other decorators, and you can ask specific questions when you get stuck in the middle of a project. And support is provided 24 hours a day!
The beauty of this resource is that you never have to leave home, its always available whenever you are. You will also save time and money by finding fast answers to your questions with a search function.