A well decorated cake can be a piece of art, but it is all too easy to make a mistake and ruin your masterpiece when you are under pressure to create something for a special celebration. You can avoid mistakes by being aware of the most common ones, and it may not be impossible to fix things if something does go wrong.
Go through the tips given here and you will be more than ready for the special occasion...
The cake should be prepared far enough in advance to cool and settle properly before you begin to decorate it. You will also need to allow plenty of time to decorate it, and to allow the decoration to set if necessary.
Make sure you are beginning with the best possible base. If the cake sank, flatten it out with jam or frosting, or by cutting it down. If the frosting is pulling up a lot of crumbs, then put a think layer of icing on first, and add the main layer only when it has set.
You should always ensure you have plenty of frosting or icing to cover the cake, as it will look uneven if you try to spread it too thin, and fondant icing will crack and tear. Fondant can also tend to buckle around the base, but if you are quick you can fix this by lifting the icing and smoothing or re-moistening the sides of the cake. If the fondant has already set, then you could tie a ribbon around the cake to conceal the problem.
If you are making your own icing then be very careful with your ingredients. If you substitute white chocolate for plain or milk, or a more spreadable fat for butter, then the result will be runnier and will take longer to spread. Be particularly careful too when melting white chocolate as it will melt quicker than other types.
Coloring should be added only very gradually to icing, as it is easy to end up with bright red rather than pale pink. Make sure you wash all the coloring off your hands too so that you don't accidentally add any to your other cake decorations.
Take care to space the letters evenly when writing with icing, and make sure you spell your message correctly. The color from writing icing can sometimes leech onto the base icing. You may be able to cover this up by re-writing over the message with a thicker nozzle. You can prevent leeching by using a colorfast fondant icing, or leaving the writing until the last minute so it doesn't have time to leech.
Store your finished cake in a cool, safe place. If it is a tight squeeze to fit the cake into a tin, then try using the lid like a plate and putting the body of the tin over it as if it were the lid- as long as nobody comes along and turns the tin the right way up, it will be easy to lift the tin off and get to the cake.
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