How to Decorate Cakes – Photo Courtesy: Tim Samoff
We’ve never met someone who has successfully baked a cake and not enjoyed every bit of the process. And as fun as the whole baking can be, it’s how to decorate cakes that’s the real deal. Equal parts of creativity, challenge and fun; this is the part of the whole cake-making process that legitimately establishes the fact that you’re as much an artist as you are an awesome baker.
However, to do it to perfection, you need your magic weapons. We give you one awesome checklist that makes sure you don’t miss out on anything.
How to Decorate Cakes
Any creative person for any creative work maintains a journal/scrapbook, as much as they may hide or deny it. When you’re passionate about your cakes, you tend to keep seeking inspirations. Save snippets of your favorite cake designs and also of the ones you find most inspiring. You can also sneak in grandma’s baking secrets and tips that you’ll learn along the way. On days when you’ve hit Baker’s Block (we’d like to believe that’s a thing), this journal will do a fine job at dishing out some much needed inspiration on how to decorate cakes.
You’ll need a base board- the thing that your cake will sit on, and you’ll need multiple cardboard or plastic boards in case you’re planning for a tiered cake. Of course, the diameters will vary as per your needs and preferences.
For obvious reasons. Make sure you have pans of various sizes and every shape, so you get to go all quirky on your cake. Doing so will let you bake theme specific cakes too!
Buttercream is the dreamiest and most good-looking part of the cake. Some indulgent buttercream will always find its way into desserts and sit there like it’s been around since forever. Be it for filling, piping, skim-coating, it’s always wise to have ingredients for this at an arm’s length.
Where there is fondant, there is a rolling pin. You’ll need two sizes- a long one to roll up the fondant and transfer it to the cake, and a shorter one to make decorations. Pick one that’s made of wood and is non-stick. This will make matters a lot less complicated for you.
You can’t simply expect the fondant to limit itself to right where you want it. There’ll always be excess that won’t do any good to your decoration. A simple and elegant solution in the form of a pizza cutter does the trick here. Simply run the cutter through the excess part, and your work is done with amazingly smooth precision.
For that glassy smooth application of buttercream frosting. You know the kind of stuff beautiful cakes are made of. Yeah, an angled spatula makes it all possible.
You can’t get away with smooth frosting alone. You’ll need these to make shapes like flowers, animals, hearts, figures etc.
Piping Bag and Tips
The ultimate weapons of cake decoration, you’ll need sizes varying from #1-#10 for fine lines and writing, #16, #18, #21 and #31 for stars, #67 for leaves and any design that needs to be filled, and finally #104 for flowers.
Corn Starch Duster
This is important so the sugar paste doesn’t stick to the rolling pin or boards.
Colors and Dusts
The more colors, the prettier the cake. There are a lot of brands out there that give you every kind of color and dust you want. However, to make matters simpler, you can always go for a starter color kit.
Fondant cutters so easily manage to make you look like a pro. Keep rose, leaves, blossom, letters, and other fun cutters close.
You’ll also need scissors, pastry bags, smoothers, clear alcohol to mix colors and dusts, airbrush and brushes in varying thickness for painting, palette for mixing colors. Also, don’t miss out on the sugar craft gun; it’s the baker’s equivalent of a two year old with a sharpie.
There are obviously no hard and fast rules to the perfect tools. Just go with whatever you’re comfortable it and bake miracles!
Amy Jackson, a part time blogger, works for Sugartree, a provider of cupcake supplies and frostings. She is a baking expert and through her blog posts, she advises people on topics related to baking. Visit www.sugartree.com.au for more information.