No matter what the occasion, a beautiful cake can be a great centerpiece for your special event. Cake decorating techniques can be incredibly simple, or they can be surprisingly complex – however, you can create something breathtaking no matter your skill level just as long as you keep a few tips, tricks, and ideas in mind as you set out to decorate your cake. For a look at what you can do once you’ve developed some advanced skills, check out this incredible course that can help you decorate a winter anemone wedding cake.
While that cake may be a bit beyond your skill level if you are just getting started, it still relies on the same basic techniques that you will learn during the beginning of your cake decorating training. Read on for more information about the skills you will need to master, the tools you will need at your disposal, and a few different cake decorating techniques that you can learn and build on in order to become a true cake decorating pro. Remember that if you do plan to make a business of cake decorating, or at the very least you’re interested in sharing your work online, remember to check out this Udemy course detailing food photography techniques.
The Tools You Need for Cake Decorating
A cake decorator is only as good as his or her tools. These do not necessarily have to be expensive items, nor do you even need a very broad assortment of tools at your disposal to create something beautiful. However, there are some basics that are must-haves for any individual looking to decorate delicious cakes.
- Cake Decorating Stand
It is best to find a stand that has some mobility. Some options spin, while others swivel. This will give you better access to all sides of the cake in order to decorate it more fully.
- Cake Leveler
One of the more overlooked tools by amateur cake decorators, a leveler allows you to saw the rounded topmost part of the cake off, giving you a flat surface to work with as you decorate.
- Pastry Bag
Both reusable and disposable pastry bag options are available. The choice is up to you, although it’s generally best to go with the most inexpensive option available – usually disposable – until you have a real feel for decorating.
- Decorating Tips
There are many different types of tips available, each of which creates a different style and shape of frosting when in use. These can be used for everything from creating borders to writing letters and creating leaves and flowers for your cake.
Thin, preferably silicon spatulas have many uses, from helping to mix your cake frosting and fondant to spreading the frosting onto your cake. Be sure to have a good assortment of spatulas available when decorating.
In addition to these materials, you will also need to decide whether you will want to purchase items such as electric mixers in order to make the task of creating fondant and frosting easier. Keep in mind that if you do not have an electric mixer readily available, it may be easier to buy certain items pre-made – there is no shame in it, and in fact many professionals do the same, as it can make the process a little easier.
Decorating with Buttercream Frosting
There are many reasons to decorate with buttercream frosting, the biggest among them being that buttercream is widely considered to be the most flavorful option for cakes. To decorate a cake using only buttercream frosting, first prepare the cake itself. Most cakes have two layers. User the leveling tool to prepare both cake layers, using some of the frosting you have to fill the cake. Then, simply cover the cake with the rest of the base layer of buttercream frosting. A flat plastic tool can be used to smooth the frosting, or the frosting can be spread onto the cake in a swirl pattern for effect. It is all up to the effect that you are trying to achieve.
After this is achieved, you will use the tips to create different effects on your cake. Here are some examples of decorating tips and the types of effects that you can achieve with them:
- Round Tips: These are used to create detailed design elements on your cake, from lettering to vines, lines, and other similar elements.
- Leaf Tips: As their name suggests, these are primarily used to create leaves. However, they can also be used to create certain types of petals.
- Star Tips: These incredibly popular tips are used to create a number of design elements. From stars, as the name suggests, to flowers and borders, there are a lot of things that you can do with these tips.
- Ruffle Tips: The shape of these tips makes them ideal for creating ruffled designs, such as ribbons and streamers. This shape is also ideal for creating cake borders.
These are just a handful of the options you’ll have to choose from. As you begin to decorate cakes, you will learn which tips you prefer, and you will develop your own techniques for using them, so do not be afraid to experiment.
Decorating With Fondant
Fondant is a type of frosting that is rolled out like dough. The fondant is used to cover the entire cake, creating a very attractive smooth effect that allows for even more cake decorating options. The process of decorating with fondant is simple in theory, but can become incredibly complex as you adopt more and more techniques.
First, the fondant itself must be made, or else purchased pre-made. Because it is not as flavorful as buttercream frosting, most cake decorators will use a thin layer of buttercream between the cake and the fondant. (As a bonus, this can better help to adhere the fondant to the cake, and will ensure a smooth appearance).
The fondant is placed on the cake and trimmed. It can then be decorated with any other of a number of items, from other trimmed pieces of fondant to flowers and other design elements made from sugar.
This is just a brief overview of cake decorating techniques – there are of course many, many more for you to learn as you become more acquainted with everything that this incredible, edible art form has to offer. If you are interested in potentially turning cake decorating into a career, check out this Udemy course offering, which will offer you a primer in marketing food businesses. For a broader and more in-depth overview, check out this Udemy course on cake decorating that will detail everything from baking the cake to creating fondant roses. This one is not to be missed if you are seeking to learn more.