Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cake Decorating

As some of you might know, I decorate cakes.  Wedding cakes, birthday cakes, special occasion cakes....anything you can think of.  I'm the oldest of 6 girls, so I got a lot of practice making wedding cakes.

People ask me why I got started making cakes.  I guess it all started when I wanted my mom to make my wedding cake.  She didn't have the confidence to, so we paid a lady to make my cake.  I kept thinking "It can't be THAT hard".  I took the full 3 course Wilton cake decorating class and graduated with honors. ha ha, just kidding.  Everyone that takes it graduates. ;) I had a great time learning a new skill and I still enjoy decorating cakes for my family and others.

I started making my sisters (4 so far) and sister-in-law's (5) wedding cakes.  I got lots of practice in making the cakes, and they all wanted something a little different so I really got to try some new things.  It's been a lot of fun.  I'm always amazed at how a simple cake can turn out so elegant.  I have photos of all my cakes on my site Michelle's Cake Creations.  (there is also a tab at the top of the page)

My boys all get to choose the type of cake they get for their birthday.  I've done Spiderman, Bear in the big blue house, Blues Clues, Pooh Bear, Pirates, Dragon, Army tank, Shield and Mace (right), football and many other types.  It's fun for them to have a special cake that they requested.

I thought I would share some tips to cake decorating with everyone.
  1. GREASE & FLOUR YOUR PANS.  Use a paper towel and rub shortening all over your pan, especially in the creases and then dust with flour.  Cooking spray is NOT enough.
  2. Let the cake cool completely before trying to frost it.  My husband forgets this step often and we end up with a delicious cake with runny frosting.
  3. If you freeze the cake, it helps control crumbs in your frosting.  Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for a while.  I'm not at all sure why this works, but it does. :)
  4. Start smooth frosting at the top and gently "push" the frosting over the sides of the cake to cover the top and sides.
As far as decorating your basic decorating kit should include:

  1. A decorators bag.  They come in "feather weight", disposable plastic or parchment triangles.  I like the #12  feather weight bags. 
  2. A coupler and ring.  This sits into your feather weight bag and allows you to switch tips without empting the frosting bag. (see photo>>)
  3. Tips #3-writing tip, #16-shell tip, #104-rose tip & #67 leaf tip 
 Have fun with it!  It's okay to try something new.  It's also okay to mess up. People are easily impressed.  ;) HA HA

I taught a cake decorating class to a group of teenage girls.  We were making flowers.  They were all getting frustrated that their "flowers" didn't look like flowers.  I told them to put a green frosting leaf on it and then look at it.  It was so fun to watch them all light up and say "Look!  I made a flower!"

By making your own cake (okay, maybe not a wedding cake) you can save money and I think it means more to the recipient if you made it yourself.  That's why I wanted my mom to make my cake.  I understand why she didn't want to attempt it, they can be quite intimidating.  I was lucky enough to have 9 sister/sister-in-laws that let me practice on their cakes. ☺
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