Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cake decorating tips & tricks

If you are interested in learning more on how to decorate cakes like the one’s I’ve blogged about, this post is filled with my tips and tricks. 

My first tip is to take a beginner cake decorating class.  I have only taken the beginner class at Michael’s and I keep meaning to take the second one, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. The beginner class will help to familiarize yourself with how to use the frosting tips and give you some good frosting techniques. 

My next tip is to invest in the Wilton Master Tip Set.  I did have to buy the grass tip (233) separately, but below are the tips that are included in the set.  I haven’t used all of them yet and I like to play around with them to see if I can get the effect I’m looking for.

Master Tip Set_thumb[1]

To get great coloring with your frosting be sure to use gel food coloring.  But to really get a good red or black, it’s best to buy it at a cake supply store. 

Invest in good cake pans.  For Christmas I received a 6x2”, 8x2” & 10x2” round aluminum cake pans and I also just bought a 9x13x3” aluminum cake pan all by Fat Daddio.

For the most recent cake I baked I used Bake Even Strips.  These strips are soaked in cold water and then wrapped around the base of the cake pans.  Without them the center ends up baking taller than the sides and you have to cut the top off to make it level.

cake tips2_thumb[1]

When baking a larger cake I also put a flower nail in the bottom of the pan to help distribute heat into the middle of the cake. 


I line the bottom of the cake pan with parchment paper.  If you have a more decorative bundt pan or a molded pan be sure to spray with baking spray (has flour in it so you don’t have to grease and flour separately).

I don’t remember what this tool is called, but it cuts the cakes in half for you without having to eyeball it. 

cake tips_thumb[1]

To add equal amounts of frosting between layers I use a piping bag with tip 12.  After piping the frosting like below, I spread it out with a frosting spatula.


I also do a crumb coat before doing any colored frosting.  To do this you coat the cake with a thin layer of frosting.  You will get lots of crumbs mixed into the frosting but it’s supposed to do that.  After the cake is coated you freeze it for 30 minutes or so.  If it doesn’t fit in your freezer you can put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour or if it’s Winter in Wisconsin you can just put it outside for a while (I’ve done this multiple times).  Now you can frost with your colored frosting without worrying about getting crumbs in your frosting.


The most recent frosting recipe that I’m in love with is Rick’s Special Buttercream Frosting I found at allrecipes.com.  I took the advice in the multiple reviews to use 1 cup butter & 1 cup shortening instead of the listed 2 cups shortening.

I hope these tips and tricks help or make you more confident that you too can create amazing cakes!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

From pictures to cakes

I really enjoy decorating cakes, however, I often don’t have the creativity to think of an idea on my own.  So most of my creations come from a picture I found online.  Here are two cakes I decorated based on pictures.

My son’s 3rd birthday was a couple months ago, and I wanted to make him a Thomas cake.  Here’s the picture I found online:

Thomas cake picture 

I baked two 9” rounds and kept one as is and cut the other one in half.  I flipped one half onto the other half and put those halves on one side of the other round that I didn’t cut.

Thomas cake finished

The boulders I used were chocolate covered peanuts.  The train is from a Thomas book that came with tiny Thomas and Friends trains. There wasn’t a picture of the back of the cake, so I used my imagination there.  I used tip 233 for the grass and my smallest leaf tip 65 for the leaves on the trees.  

My niece wanted a fairy cake for her birthday.  Here’s the picture I found online:

online fairy cake picture

This one looks a little more daunting, but in reality it was also pretty simple.  This was two 9x13” cakes.  Leave one as is for the bottom layer and cut the other one in half.  Place one half on one side of the bottom layer and from the remaining half cut it from corner to corner to make a triangle and place it on top of the half.  There should still be one corner left which should be cut into a cupcake size circle and place it on the bottom layer next to the second layer. 

Fairy cake how-to


To make the vines I used tip 4 and added purple dots with tip 2, to make the green boarder I used leaf tip 67, the pink flowers were made with tip 21, the small white flowers were with tip 16 and the larger white flowers in the water was with tip 22.

The fairies are from the Disney Tinkerbell Fairy Friends Signature Cake Topper set.  They have stamps on the bottom and come with a stamp pad.