Free Cake Decorating Ideas

Cake decroating techniques. Baking cakes can be difficult enough, but decorating them is far more challenging. There are so many things to consider like flavor, texture and design, as well as ornamentation.

Baking cakes can be difficult enough, but decorating them is far more challenging. There are so many things to consider like flavor, texture and design, as well as ornamentation. The whole process can be daunting if you don't know where to start. But with a few hints, you can be on your way to decorating sweet masterpieces.

To start, select a cake to bake. Whether it's made from scratch or comes from a box, a cake's flavor dictates the look and taste of the cake's finished exterior. For instance, a carrot cake will likely have cream cheese frosting and simple orange colored mini-carrot designs on the cake, while a yellow cake's decorating possibilities are endless. You can choose virtually any frosting flavor from strawberry to lemon and your design choices can range from flowers to piped trim. Once you've chosen your cake and your frosting flavor, you'll be ready to start the decorating process. Creating cake designs and implementing your creativity starts simple and then proceeds to get more complex.

Frosting a cake can be messy, but it's the first step in the cake decorating process. While it can be difficult to ice a cake smoothly and completely, the following tips may help.

1). Let the cake cool after it bakes---giving the cake at least 30 minutes cooling time will help your frosting stick to the cake better, rather than melting and running out of control.

2). Using a whipped cream frosting will ease the decorating process---the whipped cream is not sticky like many store bought frostings so it can be applied more smoothly.

3). Always start with the corners--they hardest to frost. When it comes icing the sides of a square or rectangular cake, apply dollops on both sides

of a cake's corners and smooth the dollops over the corner.

4). Frost the sides of a cake with lots of icing and a steady hand. Remember to start icing with thin layers and then work your way up to thicker ones.

5). Apply dollops of icing in the corners and in the middle of the cake. Start in a corner on the top of the cake and connect the dollop dots until the entire top of the cake is covered with a thin layer of icing.

6). Make sure the knife only touches the frosting-not the cake. You'll likely get crumbs in your frosting if you let the knife touch the unfrosted cake.

7). Apply the icing thinly. If you apply thick layers of icing, it won't go on smooth and can appear lumpy.

8). More icing can be applied as necessary, but be careful not to smear the icing that you already applied. You never want cake crumbs to show through the frosting.

9). Use smooth, even strokes to spread the icing. If the icing is difficult to spread, try dipping your knife in hot water, which makes the icing melt a bit and thus become more manageable to spread.

To style the frosting once it's applied, try using your imagination and some handy kitchen tools. A fork can be dragged across the top of the cake to create a lattice effect or use a knife to make swirls along the top edges of

the cake. These techniques will texture the cake and can look innovative alone or when paired with colored icing. Icing can be colored with a few drops of food coloring or can be purchased at the store in pre-made colored and flavored varieties.

Icing can put the finishing touches on a cake for any occasion from a birthday to a wedding. Use thicker icing for decorative accents like flowers, balloons and any types of writing. Buy a decorating bag at any craft or food supply store and experiment with the different tips before you select a final design. A small round tip is ideal for writing; a large round tip or a half-moon tip can be used to trim a cake's edges. Other tips are available to help you specialize the looks of your cake tops. There are star tips, which are ideal for creating zigzags along a cake's border or for making stars and shells on the cake top.

A leaf tip will make perfect accents to any flower that adorns a cake. To make a flower, you'll need what baker's refer to as a nail, a plastic round surface with a stick under the round surface. This nail's flat, small top should be used to hold roses that are created for decorating. Use thick icing to make roses, daisies or other flowers and then refrigerate or freeze the nail to harden the roses, so that won't smudge when placed on the cake.

There are more simple ways to decorate a cake. The following ideas are starting points for kids and beginning cake decorators. After frosting the cake, try using stencils to create images on the cake. For example, a heart stencil can make a heart shaped outline on the cake, which can be filled in with cinnamon candies, or red colored sugar and trimmed with colored icing. Or you can try using cookie cutters in place of stencils and create large and small designs on the frosting.

Other toppings for design include nuts, coconut, sprinkles, rainbow or chocolate; non-pariels, either colored or white (on a dark colored frosting); gumdrops, which can be cut into designs or left whole. Fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries and peaches can adorn the sides and top cakes for natural look. Be careful to drain the fruits' natural juices before applying to the cake, or you risk letting the fruit juices run on the icing and bleed into the cake's decorations.

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