Helpful Tips, Easy Techniques and Unique Ideas for Cake Decorating

by Joshua Hampton

cake decoratingCake decorating is an activity that is done and enjoyed in places all over the globe. Contests, baking show competitions and baking reality programs are very popular, especially with Western audiences. Cake decorating ideas essentially makes use of frosting and other eatable decorative elements to create cakes that are more visually interesting. Cakes can also be fashioned and sculpted to look like characters, places and objects.

In many parts of the world, decorated cakes are often the center of attention during a special occasion, such as a wedding, birthday, graduation, bridal shower, or anniversary. They are also a popular choice for a gift. Decorated cakes can also be used to commemorate national or religious holidays, or even be used as a promotional tool for commercial endeavors.

Cake decorating usually involves covering a cake with some kind of frosting and then using ornamental sugars, candies, chocolate or icing decors to adorn it. Cakes can also be as straightforward as sprinkling a thin coat of icing sugar. Icing decorations can be created by using flowers and decorative borders or by forming fondant, gum paste, or marzipan flowers and shapes. Fondant is a popular choice since it allows the baker more creativity and it comes in many different colors. Its basic form is soft and quite easy to handle as well. Cake decorators are able to shape this into many different artistic ideas.

Here now are some easy cake decorating ideas and techniques that you could incorporate into your next cake. These are some tried and tested tips to make your next cake fabulous, and to make decorating it a fun and effortless activity.

Make It a Smoothy

You can use a hot knife to smooth out thick frosting, and this will allow you to also cut a clean and even slice. Always have a towel and a hot glass of water near during frosting and garnishing so you can effortlessly even things out whenever you want to.

To even out existing lines of buttercream, lightly warm-up an icing spatula in warm water. Do not use hot water because your spatula will turn too hot and could even melt the buttercream. Always dry the spatula with a clean cloth first, then gently smooth the buttercream. The warmed surface of the spatula will make the icing give way more easily to smoothening. Should the buttercream be already slightly firm, put a sheet of parchment paper over the top of the buttercream iced cake. Now gently smooth it with your hands, and then lift the parchment paper. Do these on all sides of the cake. If you don’t want to use your hands, you could also use an old credit card to even out the surface of the parchment.

As for fondant, always have a surface that is as smooth as can be before draping it. As you drape the fondant on the cake, very lightly pull it outward from the cake while smoothing it down and under at the same time. Once the fondant is draped over the cake, you will want to flatten it. There are smoothing tools just for fondant, however it is also possible to have a smooth finish without them. An old trick is to collect your scraps and form them into a ball, and press together. Bunch them up in your hand as if it were rag. Use this to lightly rub the top and sides of your cake. The parchment trick used on buttermilk will work too.

As for ganache cake toppings, your trusty hair dryer will come in handy. First, start by turning on the hair dryer on low heat and allow it warm up. Once warm, point it at the cake from a safe distance. This would be about a six inches to a foot away from the cake. As the ganache turns slightly glossy looking, you may want to switch to medium heat. Once it is moldable you may smooth out the lines with a spatula.

Be Edgy

Always keep your edges clean. You will perhaps want to place your cake on a serving platter before decorating, so here’s a trick to allow you to keep the icing and frosting off of your serving platter while you are working on the decor. Cut four strips of aluminum foil or waxed paper. Lay these strips around the edges of the platter, making sure they will overlap with the underside of the cake. Next, put your first layer of cake on top of the strips. This way the platter is protected, and what’s more, the important edges of the cake are safely sitting on top of the paper or foil. Once finished, remove the strips, leaving your platter exceptionally clean.

Color, Color, Color!

Depending on the occasion, color will definitely play a vital role. If you are creating a cake for a children’s party, school-related function or sporting event, coloring the cake and frosting with food coloring can create a delightful cake, and make it an unforgettable part of the occasion. Birthday cake decorating ideas especially benefit from rich colors. Just add gel or liquid food dyes into your frosting and cake batter, and bake as usual. Making your own original hues by mixing many colors together can be an enjoyable, satisfying activity. You will be fighting off all the children volunteers.

Decorate Out-Of-The-Box

Be original and innovative. There is always a first time for something. If you have something in mind that you want to incorporate into a cake, then why not try it. Within reasonable limits, you can be an original by using some innovative ideas. The experts aren’t who they are today, had they not been bold enough to try their original ideas. For example, just about every type of candy has been stuffed into a cake, but using more unusual sweets like certain cookies, gummy creatures, or liquorice ropes to design a cake is a fun, inventive way to make your cake an original.

DIY Cake!

Too exhausted to decorate a cake? No problem. Why not serve a plain cake, have fruity sauces, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and other goodies on the side. You can let your friends and family embellish their own individual slices at the table. It’s a smart way to take the load of work from you, while creating a fun activity.

Hopefully by now you get the picture. These ideas are meant more to inspire you to try something novel with your next cake. Just be guided by these tips to have a satisfying and successful cake decorating experience. Good luck and have fun!

Joshua Hampton

My name is Joshua Hampton and I love cooking. I believe that what you eat represents who you really are. Knowing how to cook properly will ensure that you have more enjoyment in your life, you have higher self-esteem and you have a better health. So, right now I am most obsessed about different cooking classes - it is so much fun, even my 5 years old kid loves it. Join now! - Joshua

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