Cake Decorating 101

If you have seen television shows like “Ace of Cakes” or “Cake Boss,” you know how time-consuming decorating a cake can be.

Chances are you’re not interested in creating elaborate cakes like those on television but you would like to learn something more than merely frosting a cake.

Cake decorating is an art, but luckily it is one you can learn with some practice.

The main items required for cake decorating include:

* Pastry bag with plastic couplers
* Decorating tips in assorted shapes
* Offset and straight icing spatulas
* Lazy Susan or rotating cake stand
* Food coloring to tint icing

If you’ve never really decorated cakes before, you may not know what some of these items are. Here are the explanations to help you.

The pastry bag is the container used for icing. Attached to the bag is a plastic coupler which enables you to change decorating tips and use the same icing.

Scoop icing into the pastry bag with a spatula but don’t overfill it. In fact, if you fill it much more than half full you could have problems.

Decorating tips come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Normally you can purchase a decorating tips kit with three to four plastic tips.

However, if you’re serious about learning cake decorating you’ll want to invest in the metal tips.

They can be found in different shapes including round for piping and detail outlining, leaf, drop flower, ruffle, basket weave, rose and various specialty tips.

The offset and straight spatulas are a cake decorator’s best friends.

You’ll use the spatulas for preparing the icing base for the rest of the decorations to adhere to. If the base isn’t done correctly, you may find the decorations slipping off.

Of course, it also helps that you have the right butter cream recipe for the icing; it has to be the correct consistency for decorating.

A lazy Susan or rotating cake stand can make or break your decorations.

These items will allow you to rotate the cake without much effort, which means you can keep the correct pressure on the pastry bag.

When you have the correct pressure on the pastry bag you can feel sure the decorations will look uniform.

Food coloring is an optional tool but one that many cake decorators use.

When you’re making a good butter cream icing it will be a pale yellow or off-white in color. You may decide your cake needs some punch.

Adding food coloring sparingly until you reach the desired shade while you’re making the icing will give you the colors of the rainbow to choose from.

Some other items you may want to purchase and have on hand include edible decorating pens. These are pens filled with food coloring and have a paintbrush type of tip.

This type of tool is great if you don’t feel comfortable piping words on a cake yet. Since the pen is made from food coloring, the “ink” is completely edible.

Marzipan is a confection made of ground almonds, egg whites and sugar. It can be rolled out like to cover a cake completely or molded into various shapes.

Fondant is another way to achieve a perfectly iced cake. Depending upon where you live you may be able find pre-made marzipan items and tubs of fondant in bakeries or cake decorating shops.

Maybe you’ve never thought about cake decorating. It is something you can learn either by trial and error or by taking lessons. Once you know how, you’ll be able to make beautiful cakes.

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There are lots of creative and fun craft ideas for the whole family in our main section here, so just check out Arts and Crafts for Kids.

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