Decorating a cake with a smooth and perfect finish like professionals do comes with practice and some prior knowledge. It can be a fun, challenging and fulfilling experience. Cakes are associated with celebrations and happiness and it only makes sense to make them as beautiful as possible. A well decorated cake turns from just a cake into a beautiful work of art that can be used to express moods and emotions. The following are some tips to help you.
Having all the necessary supplies at hand is the most basic step if you want to decorate cakes like a pro. You need a straight spatula to give your cake a smooth finish, at least two couplers to allow you to use multiple color decorations, featherweight decorating bags for frosting and of course your cake and frosting. You can even make your own frosting at home. And if you really want to impress people, get yourself an airbrush cake kit.
Some people only crumb coat to create an unfinished look. Crumb coating, also known as dirty icing means applying a thin layer of icing to seal in crumbs and keep them from getting into the next layer of icing. It makes a cake appear neater and more uniform look. To crumb coat your cake, you need to level it first. The next step is to apply a thin layer of icing on the cake board to ensure that your cake sticks place the first layer on the cake board then spread your icing. Do not use too little icing. In fact, you should add a little more than you think you need. Stack as many layers as you have and coat the top and the sides making sure to get rid of any crumbs that remain on your spatula. There you have your crumb coated cake.
Freezing your cake before you decorate it is always a good idea. A frozen cake is a lot easier to decorate since it won’t crumble when you shape it or add icing. An added advantage is that it makes your cake moist and better-tasting. To freeze your cake, wrap every layer in aluminum foil. It is a good idea to freeze each layer separately to avoid sticking together when thawing the cake. You can freeze your cake for as long as three months. When you are ready to decorate, let your cake thaw at room temperature for about 2 hours. Freeze your cake first before crumb coating and for a few minutes after crumb coating to allow the crumb coated layer to set before the final decoration.
Get a turntable. It doesn’t even have to be an expensive one. There are plenty of options and you need to select one that is just right for you. Go for one that is slightly elevated as it makes it easier to decorate your cake. There are alternatives to turntables that may work for you but they may not be as convenient. It is said that a workman is only as good as his tools and the same is true for turntables. Go for a high quality one. It makes decorating faster, more efficient and more convenient.
The right color combinations can turn your basic and boring cake into a masterpiece. If you want to decorate your cake like a pro, you must learn how to use existing colors and how to create new ones by mixing. You mix small quantities to see what color you get. If, for example, you mix red and green, you will get brown. You should start with the first color and add the next one drop by drop. You may be tempted to go wild and use every color you can find but that is not a good idea. Find a few colors that work and stick to a theme.
You may want to deviate a little from the traditional round, rectangle, square and heart shaped cakes. To make specific shapes and designs, you need to learn how to carve your cake. The first step is to determine the exact shape you want and find the base shape that is easiest to make your desired shape from. If, for example, you want to make a ‘T’ shape, starting with a rectangular shape makes more sense than a heart shape. Only carve the cake after you have crumb coated it to keep it from falling apart. Using blunt knives can also cause unnecessary erosion. Use very sharp or serrated knives. Remember that coating your cake will cause it to lose detail. It is, therefore, important to define the shape of your carving as much as possible to ensure that the shape stays recognizable.
Writing on cake is very different from writing on paper. Writing on a frozen cake makes it easier to make corrections without damaging the surface of a cake. Use a pastry bag with a fine tip and use a toothpick to mark the start and ending of every word. If you have never done it before, you can practice on a clean surface before you actually attempt to write on cake. Write before decorating the cake to avoid ruining decorations in case you make a mistake. Neat writing comes with a lot of practice. Even professionals take some time to practice before writing on cake.
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