A plain cake becomes visually more interesting with decorations. Cake decorating becomes a focal point during special occasions like birthday parties, graduation days, and wedding and anniversary celebrations or during festivals like Christmas.
Cakes can be decorated with sugar arts, icing and other edible decorative elements. These days, molded and sculpted cakes that almost look three dimensional have become immensely popular.
Cake decorating ideas
Cake decorating ideas range from the simple, elegant cake decorating design to an ornate and intricate design. It can also be fun, offbeat or humorous. Imagination is the only limit. Cakes can be decorated to look like just about anything imaginable; as they lend themselves to being cooked, molded and shaped.
While cake decorating is in itself an art, it can be learnt by almost anyone with interest. Like any other art, cake decoration requires patience and practice.
Resources to learn cake decorating can be found in books and magazines and personal classes conducted for an interested group of people. The Internet is also a great source of inspiration. Sugar craft artists not only choose to sell their designs but also teach classes on how to make 'signature' cakes. One famous cake designer is Duff Goldman who was a graffiti artist and painter of renown.
Many in the cake baking industry constantly upgrade themselves with the latest cake decorating ideas. One such latest decorative idea is 'photo icing' on the cake. This is difficult idea to achieve although many want to try it and there is a heavy demand for this.
Cake decorating classes are conducted by experts for a couple of days. These classes not only showcase cake decorations for students, but also let the students practice cake decorating in the classes, so that they can be corrected in case of mistakes.
Cake decorating tips
- Inspiration for a decorating idea can be had from the season of the year, a favorite movie, a favorite photo, or even a favorite quote.
- Never frost a cake that has not cooled completely. The risk here is the creation will melt in the heat and it would be heart breaking to see a design slowly melting near the newly baked confection. Ensure that the cake is completely cooled before frosting.
- When flour of the cake is greased, it is better to stay clear of butter as the greasing material. As butter contains water, it can melt when the cake is being baked and the result would be a moist and soggy bottom.
- If a large amount of oil or water is added, the cake will not rise.
- Correct pans have to be chosen to make sure that the temperature is not too less.
- When the layers are filled, it is necessary to make sure that the icing 'ring' is half an inch from the border around the cake. This ring can be filled with fruit or tasty custard.
- The right pressure has to be applied consistently in such a way that the right amount of icing flows through the tip.
- The cake can have a top and bottom border to make the decoration look complete.
- If the food color looks pale, then glycerin can be used. Normally exposure to the sun can rob the cake of its colors.
- With a good quality aluminum foil, the cake can be stored up to even three months. But it should be thawed before decorating.
- Cane sugar and icing have the ability to hold the color longer compared to beet sugar.
- Powdered food color makes for wonderful cake decoration as the cake looks pleasant while retaining the color.
- If the frosting is too thin, it is preferable to add melted chocolate or butter or some cream.
Cake decorating fondant
Fondant, though common in cake decorating, is not known to many. Fondant is a stiff sugary icing that covers a traditional cake for special occasions. Fondant or sugar paste mainly consists of confectioner's sugar and gelatin. It can be embossed, kneaded, molded, rolled or cut into shapes.
Fondant allows the baker to express creativity in baking. Fondant comes in a variety of colors and it is soft and easy to handle in its initial forms. It is in this form that cake decorators mold fondant into many different artistic expressions. Many of the fondant expressions are taught in professional cake decorating classes.
Fondant icing is widely used in Christmas cake decorations. Prepare stars, Christmas trees, Santa, bells and ornaments with fondant - cut them out with cutters, or pipe them on the cake. These cake decorations come in pink, green, white, yellow orange and in vibrant flavors and food coloring in the frosting.
Fondant coverings come as rolled and ready to use package or can be prepared from scratch. The leftover fondant should be stored in a sealed container for no more than two months at room temperature. For those who have not rolled fondants, it would do good to consider taking a class that can teach fondant icing.
- A light amount of butter cream icing should be applied.
- Knead the sugar paste until it is of proper consistency.
- Roll the fondant making sure is does not stick or crack.
- Lift the dough so that it drapes directly over the cake.
- A smoother shaped fondant on the cake can remove any air bubble.
By using poured fondant, the cake's surface has a smooth and shiny feel while being semi hard.
Fondant flavoring and coloring: Fondant can be colored or pre tinted. At baking stores multi packs of already colored fondants are available. For those who would prefer their own fondants:
- Make a ball of the fondant dough. Be sure to roll the icing dough to get the shape.
- Use a toothpick to give the ball dots of color with few spots.
- Knead the dough ball until the color has fully blended in. A marbleized effect can be had by rolling the ball.
Fondant decoration tips
For fondant cake decorating, lightly brush the cake using a damp brush and then press each decoration carefully into the cake.
- Use either a fondant or cookie cutter to make cutouts.
- Use a ribbon cutter or embosser to cut ribbons in varying styles.
- Design ruffles.
- Different shapes of animals and flowers can be cut and put together.
- Ropes using sugar craft gun or by hand can be made and then banded together to create an edge effect.
Cake decorating classes
Cake decorating classes are popular all over the world. The students are shown pictures of delicious cakes and custom made iced deserts. Those planning to bake delicious cakes for the family can sure benefit from these classes. Cake decorating is also a creative hobby. You can learn to use sugar, bright colors and imagination to make incredible creations.
From fundamentals of cake decorating to advanced techniques, cake decorating classes can be of great help. Starting level classes for beginners is the best bet to start leaning the tricks of the trade. Learn the basics of how to utilize sugar as your paintbrush and efficiently apply edible artworks as well as study the recent trends.
Upper level classes are not for newbies but for those who have been in the business for some time. Learn new techniques and gain new perspectives into the craft of cake decoration. Advanced level courses are a great way of staying on the cutting edge of cake decorating.
Cake decorating techniques
- A burger cup cake can be made to look just like a hamburger by putting together un-iced vanilla cupcakes lightly sprinkled with sesame seeds for the buns, a chocolate cupcake layer for the meat and yellow fondant for the cheese. A slather of red icing can be used for the sauce.
- A cupcake can be shaped like a caterpillar, alligator, snake or train. A tree shape can be had by tiers in the cupcake.
- Fill the cupcake wells no more than ½ full before baking.
- Spray the cupcake pan with non stick oil first.
- Mix the cupcake batter only lightly to avoid chewy cupcakes.
- Use ingredients at room temperature only.
- Use a toothpick to ensure that the center of the cooking cake is done.
- Use a piping bag when icing.
- A wedding cake decoration is an exciting and challenging task.
- Wedding cakes, as such, are much bigger than other cakes and this size itself makes them look dramatic.
- The right kind of topping for a wedding cake depends much upon the texture of the cake itself.
- The kind of venue in which the cake would be placed is important - if the venue is hot and humid, then avoid using whipping as it might melt due to heat. Such practical issues should be taken care of while decorating a wedding cake.
- The wedding cake decoration should be in keeping with the theme for the cake. A color scheme that blends well with the rest of the theme should be chosen.
- Butter cream is a great ingredient to use for cake icing. Butter cream has a rich dreamy color and that looks great on a wedding cake. Food coloring can also be used to achieve different color effects of choice.
- When planning for a wedding cake, it would be a good idea to work backwards from the wedding date. No one prefers to work right up to the last minute and it is good to allow two free days before the wedding and then start the countdown.
- Chocolate wedding cakes are popular and a delicious chocolate coating can also be piped. A cake made with melted chocolate and cream can be easily cut and set in high gloss. The more expensive the chocolate the higher the sheen.
- The festival of Christmas is incomplete without Santa, gifts and a tree and also without the delicious Christmas cake. This cake is rich and dark with dried fruits and brandy. The 'plum cake' is a valued recipe in families across the world.
- Colorful ribbons and lace form a major part of these beautiful cake decorations. In round and square cakes, a thick strip of red, golden or green ribbon can be used to cover the sides of the cake and then make a bow at one end. Various types of laces are designed and these lend the cake an elegant look when frosted with fondants and covered with ribbons.
Cake decorating products
Most companies prefer to sell cake decorating products to retailers, schools or bakeries and not to individual members of the public. Businesses which want to purchase cake decorating supplies wholesale usually need to fill out an application form in order to qualify.
There are retailers who sell directly to consumers the products the wholesale offers on a discount. Shortening, cake boxes and pastry bags are supplies to most stores in bulk or wholesale quantities.
Many companies supply premade items to their wholesale customers. These include gum paste and royal icing decorations, leaves, holiday decorations, assorted flowers, dragees, rolling pins and other tools, boxes, and even chocolate molds. Volume discount are available for products such as candy molds, cookie cutters, decorating tubes, fake cakes and novelties.