For some of us just looking at the beautiful cake decorating creations is enough for us to shake our heads and say 'I could never do that'. But that is far from the truth. 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 endeavours.
Here are a few ideas you might like to try.
To start with your cake will need 'priming'.Every cake good cake 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. Spread an initial layer of frosting over the entire cake. Then place the cake in the fridge overnight. This will give the frosting time to set, which creates a firm layer of crumb free frosting giving you a firm base for your decorating ideas.
When preparing the different frosting colours that you will be using for your decorating creation, use paste food colourings. This will help you create brightly coloured frostings. 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. If you wish you can apply tiny pearls, candy sequins, frosted flowers and any other arrangements smoothly over the cake without the textures of the frosting conflicting with one another. To apply a textured look for your cake decorating, use a small cardboard comb, available in baking supply stores.
Many cake decorators will tell you that learning to smooth the icing is the hardest part of cake decorating. When you are learning its probably best to keep your cake decorating to more simple designs. 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. Instead of cramming your decorating bag full of frosting, try filling them halfway. This will help to give you more control in your drawing and decorating and stops messy overflows. One good idea is to use heavy duty self sealing plastic bags. Simply half fill the bag with frosting, seal the bag and then carefully snip one corner, Beware, the bigger the hole the bigger your line. Creating a very thin line can be difficult, try using a tooth pick. When the bag is empty simply unseal and refill.
When drawing with your decorating bag hold the tip as close to the cake as you can, squeeze the bag using an even pressure. Try to use both hands as this will give you greater control. If possible it may help to use some form of 'rest' to rest your arm on, you will find that this give you greater control.
Being able to make edible cake decorations is a wonderful gift Edible decorations are a beautiful yet simple cake decorating technique. The use of airbrush colours, sprinkles, candy, nuts, and coconut pressed into the icing before it sets, will make your cake stand out.
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. There is a wide range of piping tips and related tools available, you can make lines, words, shells, flowers, and many other designs on the top or sides of the cake. Let your creative skill go wild.
Fondant is an increasingly popular material for cake decorating. Its a smooth white paste, used a lot in complicated cake decorating, especially in wedding cakes. 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 butter cream, but the cake will look sleek and elegant. Not recommended for novices.
If your still little uncertain about having a go, why not try one of the cake decorating kits that are available and easily purchased online. Or if your more ambitious, why not sign up to Cake decorating lessons or take a course.
If your a more experienced cake decorator, and its something that you really enjoy. Why not consider turning your passion into a business. Cake decorating has become hugely popular and there is a big demand for simple cakes that are skilfully and beautifully decorated.