Expert Cake Decorating Tips For Home Bakers

By Alex Williams | Indoor Living

Aug 07

When looking at the finished results, many people feel intimidated by cake decorating. Experts are so creative that can they make cakes that look physically impossible. But in fact anyone can make cakes which look like they were done by an expert, if they follow some simple tips.

Have Fun

The first rule of cake decorating is to have fun. The worst thing that can happen if you don’t succeed at your goal is that your cake doesn’t look as good as you wanted it to. Nobody will get hurt while you hone your cake decorating skills.

Cake Decorating Supplies

The next thing you need to do is stick up on all things you will need to work, so you won’t have to keep stopping and going out for something else. You will need several pastry bags, decorating tips, couplers so that you can change tips, a spatula so that can spread frosting, and several kinds of food coloring. You may even want to experiment with a cake airbrush kit.

You can get by with some cheap or even disposable items, but there are some places where it’s better not to cut corners. Get a good rolling pin; a cheap wooden rolling pin will leave cracks in sugar paste or florist paste, so find a real cake decorator rolling pin.

Getting Ideas

Don’t worry about anything that happens when you’re learning to decorate cakes. You will enjoy it so much if you just relax, because you will learn how to let your imagination run free. And don’t worry about taking advice or copying other people and their skills, because most people are proud of their accomplishments and happy to share.

The Cake

Start out with your cake and consider what kind you have to start with. Is it chocolate or white? Is it square or round?  You can work with what you have to mix up the style. If you have multiple layers, you can put icing between them for extra tastiness and attractiveness.

Icing

Once you have decided what you want to do, you may consider making your own icing. Traditional icing flavors may seem kind of boring, and you can add extra flavors to the icing you are going to use to decorate the cake. For instance, you may add a lemon taste to butter cream icing.

Vegetable Shortening

One secret that many experts use is vegetable shortening. You can use just a little on your rolling pin or on your work area to keep sugar paste from sticking.  You can also use just a tiny bit in the sugar paste to make it softer and easier to shape and manipulate. The vegetable shortening will keep the sugar paste from sticking to your fingers.

Learning Techniques : Piping

Piping is a special technique which is easy to learn but produces great results. Using a pastry bag, you can pipe icing through to make different shapes and designs.

You can easily get different looks by choosing the right tips. A round tip can be used to make dots or lines, and you can use a round tip when you want to write a unique message on the cake. You can use star tips to make stars, shells, rosettes and decorative borders.

There are also drop flower tips which can produce different flower shapes, and leaf tips to make leaf shapes. There are also ruffle tips, basket weave tips, and flexible multi-opening tips. With just a little practice, you can learn to make beautiful designs with piping.

Learning Your Technique

To decorate using a pastry bag, start by filling it about two-thirds full of frosting. Fold the corners over to close the bag, then roll the empty part til you get to the part holding the frosting.

Hold onto the bag with one hand, around the area where the roll is above the frosting. Then gently apply pressure using only the palm of your hand to start pushing the frosting to the tip. Be careful with how much pressure you use;  you will need to be consistent to get consistent results. Use your other hand to help guide the tip.

Creative Toppings

Unusual toppings can give your cake a creative yet professional aesthetic. You can use whole small berries or sliced berries, but make sure the pieces aren’t so big they make the cake difficult to eat.

Whole nuts can be placed in rows or around borders, and chopped nuts like peanuts or hazelnuts make a tasty decoration. For extra indulgence, you can decorate with whole cookies, like gingersnaps or creme filled cookies.

Keep Exploring and Learning

If there is a bakery close to you, you can go and watch the person in charge of decorating cakes. Another really great thing to do is watch videos online. People have surprisingly different cake decorating styles, and many people love sharing their skills in online videos. Check out YouTube and Pinterest for more ideas.