Avoid a cake decorating disaster with these expert tips
1. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Whatever type of cake you’re decorating, most of the things that go wrong boil down to a lack of preparation. If you haven’t left enough time to decorate your creation you’ll end up rushing or attempting to decorate a cake that’s still warm. It’s important to leave enough time to allow your cakes to cool completely before you start to apply any icing or it will just melt off.
How you handle the sponges as soon as they come out of the oven is also key. For a layer cake, it’s crucial to leave the individual layers upside down to cool. This will help flatten them out and make the final cake much easier to assemble. With cupcakes, it’s important to take them out of the tin to cool so they don’t become misshapen.
2. Icing a layer cake
Still on the theme of preparation, when tackling a layer cake a few simple steps at the beginning of the process can help you master getting that ‘wow’ factor. Start by putting a small dab of frosting on the cake stand underneath the first layer to stop it from sliding around. Tucking overlapping pieces of baking paper underneath the edges of the cake will keep the stand clean and can be removed when you’re all done.When it comes to assembling the layers, it’s best to use a bigger dollop of icing to spread on each layer to start with. You can always scrape some off if you’ve put too much on, whereas if you use too little you’ll end up pulling up crumbs into the icing. Make sure you spread the frosting on each of the layers just beyond the edge of the cake; this will help you when it comes to frosting around the side of the cake.
When working on the edges, it’s best to tackle the cake in quarters, turning the cake stand as you go. Just focus on getting the whole cake covered before you move onto smoothing the icing out or working in any patterns.
3. Conquer those cupcakes
To make perfectly fluffy buttercream icing to top your cupcakes, try our recipe from the Cook & Create app, and whip it to perfection using the Total Control Folding Stand Mixer . You can currently get 10% off the mixer using code TOTAL10.
Once you’ve made your icing adding it into a piping bag is an easy way to give your cupcakes a professional looking finish. When filling up your piping bag, try folding the top over a cup to give yourself a stable base to work with and make filling the bag far less messy. Experiment with different nozzles to create different effects. When piping the icing, start in the middle then loop around the edge in a circle, then finish with a swirl on top, back towards the centre.
If you’re not feeling confident enough to use a piping bag, try smoothing the butter icing on using a spatula. Measure it out equally among the cakes first using an ice cream scoop to make sure all your cupcakes end up looking the same.
If all these tips aren’t enough, look out for another video from My Virgin Kitchen’s Barry Lewis next week, when he’ll be demonstrating how to fix cake decorating disasters. And remember, if all else fails, there’s nothing a generous dusting of icing sugar can’t fix!
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