Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Let them decorate cake

If you've read my "about" page then you know that I've enrolled in a cake decorating class. It's something I've always wanted to do so my wonderful husband gave the class to me as a Christmas present. My mom says I've got the talent for it, but she's my adoring mom, so she can't be trusted on those matters.

My cakes taste good. And that's really all that matters for the most part. But the more years of cooking I get under my belt, the more I'd prefer my cakes not look like this:

My sagging, but delicious strawberry chocolate chip cake that's sitting on my kitchen counter right now

No complaints have risen so far, but wouldn't it be fun if it tasted great and looked pretty? I agree. Hence the cake decorating class.

Not all of my cakes are the baking equivalent of Debbie Downer (anybody else remember that SNL skit?).

Here is the cake from my son's first birthday party. You would not believe the collective sigh of relief by all the women in my kitchen when we realized that the duck was going to stand up on its own. It was a coin toss, I'll tell ya.

I love to bake. I like to think of it as my stress reliever. But I would also include wiping down surfaces with Lysol on that list as well, so I don't think that means too much.

Here is my very first from-scratch buttercream frosting. I laughed as I took this picture because it looked more like cookie dough. I'm working on that.
Helpful Tip: If you're wanting an ivory buttercream frosting, don't mess with food coloring or gels. Just use butter flavored shortening. In this picture, I had made a double batch, so I used half regular, half butter flavored. I liked the results!

Have you discovered the cake levelers out there lately? Sure beats using thread or a knife to split your cake.
No matter how hard I try, I can't keep my cakes from rounding out on the top. So they always endure a cake leveler beating. No matter...it's all covered with frosting in the end.

Do you fight your frosting? Because I do. I smooth it all out one way, only to have the other side of the cake look like a mountain range. This was the best I could do, using only my spatula. But get a hold of this great tip!...
Excuse the lighting. I was racing against nap time to get this finished before my class.

Helpful Tip:
Iron your cake. Yep, you heard me. Using a fondant smoother (it looks like a thin, white plastic iron), iron your cake with light pressure, keeping a pattern-less paper towel in between your cake and the smoother. You can buy one at your local crafts store, but they look like this.

If you do that, your lumpy cake will become this:

I was so excited! Fondant is beyond me at this point, but I hope to learn how to better use it in the future. In the meantime, a good ol' buttercream will do the trick!

Let me know if you try this at home! I'd love to see pictures of your cakes!

PS - I would post pictures of my final decorated cake, but as I was cleaning up my work station, I dropped a notebook right on top of the cake. I hadn't even left the building yet. Only me. It was just one of those days, but it was good for a laugh!

I'm linking up to the following. I hope these ideas/tips help you as you're baking!


  1. i came over from the idea room.
    my favorite tip: the fondant "iron"! that's amazing! i'm so glad you shared! i never would have thought of this, and icing ALWAYS frustrates me b/c i can never get it perfect! thanks for contributing to my ocd! =)

  2. Michelley - I'm so glad you found that helpful! I tell ya, when I first learned that tip myself I could hardly believe it. How had I made cakes all these years without one of those fondant smoother irons?!


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