The most impressive cake designs can be practised and perfected in the comfort of your home bakery. Piping techniques, just like any other motor skill, take some time and focus to perfect and this following article will provide the aspiring cake crafter with some professional insights and tips for getting started.
You will Need
The most basic tools for decorating a cake include a turntable, offset spatula, bench scraper and cardboard cake boards.
Freeze Before Decorating
A professional cake crafter will set up all the conditions for a win. The cake will be much easier to work with if it has been frozen before decorating. Freezing the cake for an hour or even a whole month before decorating gives the cake a slightly more durable “crust”. Todo this cool the cake completely and wrap it in several layers of plastic wrap before placing it in an undisturbed location in your deep freeze unit. Make sure that is wrapped completely and then cover it with an extra layer of foil to keep freezer smells away.
The Preliminary Crumb Coat
A crumb coat is a specially applied layer of frosting that has the sole purpose of controlling the crummy surface below and making icing a smooth process. After you have stacked the layers of cake and added the appropriate filling layer, the thin layer of frosting can be applied with the offset spatula for best results.
As you apply the frosting and dip the spatula in your frosting bowl for more, scrape any crumbs still on the spatula against the edges of a separate bowl to keep crumbs from being mixed into the frosting. You can reapply this to the cake as the crumb layer will hold crumbs solid in place. Finish with the bench scraper to create an even surface. Reintroduce the cake to the freezer for about 5 to 10 minutes to allow the crumb layer to congeal.
Master the Bench Scraper
Those impeccably smooth sides that add to the aesthetics of the final product must be applied to the crumb coat “foundation” as well to the subsequent coats. To do this you will hold the paint scraper in your good hand (right or left) and with the other make a complete turn with the turntable. Begin spinning the table with your other hand and then gently apply the edge of the bench scraper to the cake’s side.
Continue to rotate at an even pace. After you feel you have gotten all the sides evenly then gradually release pressure with the turntable still in motion. Step back and really eyeball those sides. This skill is rarely perfected on the first try so be sure to qualify your work and be prepared to try again.
Practice the Versatile Scallops
Scallops are an attractive cake decoration that adds class and style to a cake for many different occasions and the best thing is that it requires no fancy tools. Simply fill a Ziploc bag or proper piping bag (some people suggest the creation of a paper envelope for this task) and cut the corner away. Holding the piping bag, or whatever, perpendicular to the cake side create neat rows of evenly-sized globs of frosting around the cake.
With a spoon, you will press down on one side of a globule and swipe it to the side. Repeat this action in a uniform fashion on each lob of frosting until the entire cake is covered and the texture is uniform.
Get Creative with Marzipan Cutouts
Marzipan cutouts can be used to create startling realism and whimsical elements to your cake decorations and it so easy to work with. Just knead the colours you’d likethe marzipan and roll it out to the appropriate thickness. Then get crazy with your cookie cutters, butter knives and stencils creating every awesome effect you can imagine. If you feel the marzipan is getting sticky just add some powdered sugar.
Writing on Cakes
This skill can take some time and effort to master but writing on cakes is the best way to send a clear message to the recipients. Take the time to lay out some parchment or wax paper and use a round tip to begin writing your message. Practice as many times as you need to create a satisfactory production and apply to your cake. You will invariably find that your 100th production is the best yet and they get better from there.