I have a very special guest today, please help welcome Michelle. She will be giving us some great tips for decorating a cake.
How to Decorate a Birthday Cake Like a Professional
Professional bakers decorate cakes in ways that are almost impossible to mimic at home. Fortunately, we have dug into the science of cake baking to give you the most effective tools to decorate a birthday cake as if you were a professional.
Successful cake decorating requires attention to detail and several essential tools and moves which we will discuss below. Let’s see how to decorate a birthday cake any style you might think of!
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Work on a Firm Foundation
You cannot professionally decorate a cake unless you have a firm foundation. Some decorations such as chocolate bars can alter its shape. A safe cake to decorate is a square or round one with a flat top. If you’re lacking the perfect recipe or you’re not confident in your baking abilities but want to decorate a birthday cake for a close friend or family member to give it that personal touch, you can always buy a simple ready-made cake from your local supermarket or baker.
Standard cakes have prices that start at $19. An accessible option is your closest Costco, which bakes round or sheet cakes for different occasions. You can learn more about Costco cake prices from Cakes Price experts before leaving your home. This way, you’ll know exactly what you want to buy and save time at the supermarket.
Prep the Cake for the Decorations
Keep the cake in a fridge for a while – no one wants to work with a warm cake as you need everything chilled in order to pull off the professional decorator look. Chilling the cake base also ensures a smooth and straight dessert.
Before we continue, let’s understand what a crumb coat is. The term is used by bakeries to describe a thin layer of frosting which is the first one spread over the cake. When you chill the cake, you let the crumbs harden so that you can later cut them and get an even surface.
You can apply a second layer of frosting on the crumb coat or carefully cut all imperfections. The second scenario will lead to a naked cake with a rustic and unfinished look. Also, you can hide all the crumbs by icing the cake with a smooth layer of buttercream. However, you should check the frosting for potential bits. Rotate the cake while applying the frosting.
Master Piping and Accents
Do you want to learn how to decorate a birthday cake? Don’t start with the cake. First draw on sheets of paper the design you want. Create stars, writings, rosettes, lines, and dots on wax paper. Remember to heat up the icing piping tools beforehand to keep the toppings firm. You can purchase piping tips of different shapes or use pastry bags.
There are also alternative methods for making the cake look colorful and friendly without any drawing skills. You can fill it up with sprinkles, candies, fruit, or confetti-like sweets. You can also use grated coconut for a smooth and all-white look. Cover the cake in rainbow cereals or colored candies. Fresh blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries scattered on the cake look and taste good together on a cake for children.
Decorating Techniques and Tips
Cake decorating techniques are so popular that some colleges even include them in their programs. Here are some expert tips on decorating birthday cakes:
- Gently outline the letters of any words on your cake with a toothpick before filling them. You will accentuate their effect and stick to a predefined pattern.
- You will need to keep the cake clean while decorating it. Line the edge with 3-to-4-inch-long strips of waxed paper while working on your cake.
- Choose the right piping bag tips for your cake. Round tips are good for lines, dots, and writing. Star tips make stars, flowers, borders, and rosettes. Basket-weave tips make ribbon-like lines, while leaf tips create leaf shapes.
- Follow a simple decorating technique, fill two-thirds of the pastry bag with frosting, fold corners over and roll the bag down. Grip the container close to the roll and above the glaze, then apply pressure with the palm of your hand. Keep a constant pressure while decorating.
BONUS: Decorating Ideas
- Use differently-colored sprinkles to decorate the cake in slice shapes and create a rainbow cake.
- Dare to go for jelly beans or licorice strips on one side of the cake.
- Don’t avoid liquid food dyes. They are used by home bakeries and top-rated restaurants.
- Run a table fork through the frosting in a wavy motion to create waves before putting the cake in a fridge.
- Use a skewer to create a heart design out of sugar.
- Melt more types of chocolate and use a spoon to create a drizzled pattern.
- Gently whisk an egg white in a small bowl. Then, paint a petal with egg white and cover it in caster sugar. Shake off the excess and repeat to create crystal rose petals.
You can quickly learn to decorate a birthday cake if you pay attention to detail. You should know the event’s concept, its exact date, and the personal preferences of the Birthday Girl or Boy first. Once the result is stored in the fridge, you will only need to ensure its delivery. Let the guests enjoy the end product and practice as often as you have the chance. And remember: the more you work on your skills, the more creative you get. Turn your cakes into dessert art!
Michelle Ting is a passionate baker. Cooking desserts has always been her main passion. She graduated from Culinary Arts program at Sullivan University. Currently, Michelle writes for CakesPrice about choosing the perfect cake for anniversaries, graduation parties, birthdays, weddings or engagement celebrations.