Cake decorating is a very satisfying creative activity that can be done by both beginners and experts with very successful results. As you gain experience your skills will also increase. There are some cake decorating techniques that you should try to master sooner than later in order to make the most of your cake design experience. Some of these skills might not be used every project but you will be very happy to have them when tackling a new challenging cake.
Build Stable Cakes
You might be able to make the most gorgeous professional looking gum paste flowers or pipe the most intricate designs on perfectly smooth fondant covered cakes but if you don't construct your cake designs with forethought and a healthy respect for gravity your creations might topple over or sink into itself. Cake decorators like tall cakes and some even build cake structures that seem to defy the laws of physics because they utilize tools and supplies designed specifically to add support to cakes. Keep important common sense facts in mind as well such as not placing a delicate mousse cake on the bottom of a cake stack or applying design elements without the "glue" of icing or wires.
Always build your cakes with the following for stability:
- Cake separators
- Plastic columns
- Thick foam core or wood cake boards on the bottom
- Heavy gage wire
If you use these types of support supplies keep in mind to remove them before eating the cake.
Sculpting and Molding
Gum paste, marzipan and fondant are almost identical to the play dough or clay you used in your childhood and beyond. Absolutely anything and everything can be shaped with these edible mediums. You can make flowers, figures, fruit, fence posts, rocks, furniture and even sparkly high heel shoes or realistic portraits. All these products can be tinted any color and sculpted with special tools or just your fingers. Start with white products and simply play with the texture to make whatever you want. You can even sit down with a couple kids to see what they create and hone your skills. Sculpted design elements can elevate your cakes to new heights and make them memorable.
Create Texture or Not
Sometimes you need to create a certain look for the cake design you want to produce which can be perfectly smooth or dappled with texture. Smooth fondant is a skill which requires practice and steady hands. Fondant can also be imprinted with tools like a patterned roller that create basket weave, pebbles, and even brickwork. Fondant can be imprinted with tools, cutters, molds and tools designed for other crafts like stencilling. Buttercream and royal icing can cover a cake smoothly with a little practice using a paper towel or parchment. Smooth your icing as much as possible and then allow a light crust to form. Then take a smooth paper towel and place it up against the side of your iced cake. Rub your hand gently against the towel and this will in turn create a silky smooth icing finish. Buttercream and royal icing can also be piped into gorgeous texture with piping tips or icing combs. You can pipe full basket weaves, Swiss dots, lace and intricate flowers all over your cakes. Decorating elements such as fondant cut outs, dragees and sprinkles can also add interesting effective texture to a cake.
Experiment with Edible Paper
One of the most effective tools for creating amaing cake designs and trendy funky cupcakes, cakes and cookies is the advent of edible paper which are usually made from potato and rice starch. . This patterned or plain medium can be cut into any shape and even used in a clean printer with edible inks to create pictures of family, landscapes and company logos easily. You can also write on them with food coloring pens or paint full paintings or designs with brushes and food coloring. Anything you can create with paper can be made with this fun product.