Cake decorating is a fun way to enjoy some baking and stretch the limits of creativity. There are a number of designs available, even for novice decorators. With a bit of knowledge, some patience, inspiration, and the right supplies, the DIY cake decorator can create an impressive product. For a simple, but attractive cake, top it off with edible treats, such as biscuits, fruit, and sweets. Use several colours of icing to make a rainbow cake, without needing to using fondant, or bypass the icing entirely and just use icing sugar.
More advanced cake decorators can cover a cake with fondant and then decorate it with handmade items. Decorative banners can be used to personalise a cake. For an unconventional design, decorate a collection of cupcakes. For all the essentials for cake decorating, buyers can visit homeware shops, department stores, and eBay, which offers affordable prices, a large selection of products, and convenient shopping.
Creative Way 1: Decorate a Cake Using Edible Treats
Although many may think of cake decorating as delicate flowers and layers of fondant, beginners or those short on time can use edible garnishes such as biscuits and fruit. Those with a sweeter tooth can use sweets.
How to Decorate a Cake Using Biscuits and Fruit
Cover a cake with a generous layer of buttercream icing and then choose the edible goodies to go on top. The possibilities are virtually endless, but consider biscuits and strawberries as one option. Cut some strawberries in half lengthwise, and cut the biscuits in half so they take on a half-moon shape. Press them into the icing along the sides of the cake. Arrange them to create diagonal stripes or other patterns.
As an alternative, top the cake with a circle of meringues. Try other combinations, such as toasted coconut, fresh bananas, whipped cream, and maraschino cherries, or crumble an ice cream cone and mix it with some marshmallows and peanuts. Sprinkle the mixture on top of an iced cake and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Consider topping a birthday cake with miniature cupcakes, and inserting the candles into the cupcakes. Tie a piece of ribbon around the cupcakes for more decoration.
How to Decorate a Cake Using Sweets
Adding sweets to an iced cake can have the same effect as other edibles. For a clean, but unique cake, press lollipops into the sides, letting the bulb rise above the top of the cake. Add some decoration by pressing jelly tots into the icing on the top of the cake. Consider covering the entire cake in sweets, such as Maltesers, or just use small peppermints around the edge. Hundreds and thousands look great arranged in a pattern on the cake. Finally, consider using chewy sweets or bits of licorice to create flowers. Use long strawberry bootlaces to create flower petals. Run the pattern along the sides of the cake as well as along the top.
Creative Way 2: Make a Rainbow Cake Using Multi-Coloured Icing
Decorate a cake with extravagant colour using just icing. This design requires several different colours of icing, separate piping bags for each colour, an equal number of couplers, matching nozzles, and a tray or a holder for all of the piping bags. A medium closed star nozzle is a good choice to start with.
How to Make a Rainbow Cake
These are two ways to make a rainbow cake. First, fill the piping bags with icing. Then create a striped pattern. Start with red or pink icing, and cover a strip of the cake in small red stars. Move on to the next colour, and create a strip of equal width. Repeat until all of the colours have been used and the cake is entirely covered.
Alternatively, choose one colour of icing and randomly pipe small stars all around the cake, leaving space between each one. Choose another colour and pipe more stars onto the cake, and keep going until the cake is covered in multicoloured stars, with no two stars of the same colour touching.
Creative Way 3: Decorate a Cake Using Icing Sugar
For a creative and less sugary decoration, bypass the icing altogether. Make a chocolate cake or use food colouring to turn a white or yellow cake another colour, such as red or violet. Let it cool completely. In the meantime, choose a doily or a clean piece of lace with an appealing pattern. For a personalised touch, take a craft knife and cut a letter or word into the solid part of the doily. This creates a monogram effect on the cake. Gently lay the doily over the cake and gently sift icing sugar over it. When finished, carefully lift the doily up and away from the cake. It may be helpful to practice on a piece of coloured paper beforehand.
Creative Way 4: Use Fondant to Decorate a Cake
Applying fondant to a cake is not as difficult as it may seem. It only requires a few pieces of equipment and some patience. In addition to the cake, some icing, and the fondant, cake decorators need an offset spatula, a fondant smoother, a knife, a non-stick rolling pin, and a small pastry brush. Firstly, bake the cake and let it cool completely. Cut, level, and stack the cake as needed until it has the desired shape. Then, apply a thin layer of icing to the cake. This is called a crumb coat and it helps the fondant go onto the cake better. The crumb coat is likely to have some cake crumbs in it, but do not worry about this. Freeze the cake, and when the icing is stiff, apply another, thicker layer. Freeze again, before applying the fondant.
How to Cover a Cake in Fondant
Use fondant colouring to turn it the desired hue and knead it until the colour is evenly distributed. Begin rolling out the fondant, preferably on a roll-and-cut fondant mat. The fondant should be large enough to cover the cake in one go. When it is rolled out to the right size and thickness, which can be anywhere between 3 and 6 millimetres, roll the fondant onto the rolling pin and drape it over the cake so that it covers the entire cake on all sides. Trim away the excess.
Run the fondant smoother all over the cake, gently smoothing it and working out any pockets of air. Ideally, there should be no creases in the fondant, but for novice decorators this may be difficult. Instead, try to direct the creases towards the back of the cake and use decorations to hide them. If decorating in stages, then keep the cake in the fridge, do not put it back into the freezer.
How to Create Fondant Decorations
Use fondant to create additional decorations for the cake. Cut flowers and other fun shapes and apply them to the cake. Fondant is also perfect for creating vines for flowers or stencilling a more intricate pattern, such cartoon characters. To attach the fondant, take a pastry brush and apply a tiny amount of water to the back of any decorations and gently press them onto the cake. Do not use too much water as this may damage the fondant.
Creative Way 5: Create a Banner on the Cake
Use the fondant decorations method to adorn a cake with a banner. This can be anything from "Happy Birthday" to "Good Luck": customise the message to the occasion. Before creating the banner, cake decorators should do some sketches and take measurements so that they know how the banner is to be laid out.
After covering the cake with a layer of fondant, roll out more fondant in different colours, then use sugarcraft cutters to cut out geometric shapes, such as squares, circles, or triangles, and each letter in the banner message. Make sure that the colours of the letters stand out sufficiently from the geometric shapes. Attach the letters to the shapes with a brush and a little bit of water and then mount them onto the cake. Pipe icing to connect the individual shapes as if the pieces were an actual banner. Embellish the design with sprinkles.
Creative Way 6: Create a Cupcake Cake
Cupcake cakes are great for creating unconventional cake designs, without having to worry about carving cakes or purchasing cake moulds. Simply bake a batch of cupcakes and allow them to cool. Place them on a cake board or a piece of cardboard lined with aluminium foil. First arrange the cupcakes in the desired pattern, such as a rainbow, numerals for a birthday party, a pumpkin, heart, or Christmas tree for special celebrations. After the cupcakes have been arranged perfectly, take one at a time, turn it over, and apply a small dab of icing to the bottom of the liner, then reposition the cupcake on the board. The icing works as a glue to prevent the cupcakes from sliding and ruining the design.
How to Decorate a Cupcake Cake
Once the cupcakes are secure, the decorating can begin. Apply a layer of icing over the entire cupcake cake or ice each one individually. For example, a tree shaped cake may have some cupcakes with red icing rosettes to represent apples. Fill a piping bag with coloured icing and choose a nozzle with a pretty design to pipe around the edges of the cupcake cake to create a frame. Add other embellishments, for example, use sweets to create stripes in a candy-cane shaped cake, or write letters of a message out on individual cupcakes. The possibilities are endless.
Buying Cake Decorating Supplies on eBay
Visit the online auction site eBay for a great selection of cake decorating supplies. Start by creating an account so that you can save searches and buy items. You can also manage the your account settings using the My eBay service. If you are new to eBay, you can visit the eBay Help Centre to learn about topics such as buying basics and how to choose a payment method. Also take some time to learn about how feedback works. Sellers rely on the feedback left by buyers to establish their reputations. You can use the feedback provided by other buyers to gauge a seller's reliability and the quality of his or her customer service.
How to Search for Products on eBay
Finding cake decorating supplies is easy with eBay's search engine. Enter a keyword, such as "cake decorating kit". You can narrow down the results that are displayed by choosing the product features and then using the filters to specify a price range or condition. Your keywords can be as general or as specific as you want. In addition, use eBay's advanced search function to make the search process even easier.
Cake decoration opens up many creative possibilities for anyone with an artistic side and an interest in baking. Beginners or those who are short on time can use simple, but unconventional decorations by adding sweets, biscuits, and fruit to a cake. Use several colours of icing to create a rainbow cake, either in a traditional striped design or a random, dotted pattern. As an alternative, consider bypassing the icing all together. Instead, use a doily or lace as a stencil and sprinkle icing sugar on the top of the cake.
For a more polished look, cover the cake in fondant and then use fondant designs in the form of flowers or geometric shapes. Consider creating a banner using fondant letters and some simple decorations. Finally, consider swapping a traditional cake for cupcakes, which give bakers the flexibility to create many shapes and patterns without having to spend time cutting and carving cakes. When it comes to stocking up on cake decorating supplies visit eBay, where you can locate everything that you need.