Baking Shortcuts Every Beginner Should Know

Are you getting ready to decorate your first cake, but you are not sure how? Perhaps you are intimidated by those amazing and exquisite creations that you see in the bakery store window or on the cover of the glossy food magazines? But just remember that cake decorating, like most things, operates on a step-by-step basis. Remember that you too can create something beautiful if you just take your time. Here are a few simple tips; suggestions and guidelines that can help you get started.

Tip # 1 – Take good care of your border. This is a classic beginner mistake. Perhaps you have succeeded in applying a beautiful and impeccable border. But then, just when you think you are about to put on the finishing touches, you go an smear the border. This can often happen when you apply a decoration on the cake. Always apply your cake decorations before you do your border work. That way, you will prevent smearing your border.

Tip # 2 – Choose your bag of choice. As a cake decorator, you have the choice of many different types of pastry bags. You can use a plastic reusable bag, a disposable bag, parchment triangles, a paper cones, or plastic cones. Practice and experiment with all of these different kinds of bags before you get started and pick your favorite bag.

Tip # 3 – Don’t be afraid to use different types of icing. Many would-be cake decorators believe that they have to make their own icing or use very elaborate icing. The truth is that you can use grocery store frosting to ice most of your cake. However, this frosting will generally not work for decorative work, because it is too thick. The Wilton company makes tubes of icing that are ready to be connected to couplers and your metal tips. For the beginner, it is not altogether a bad idea to start off with grocery store icing, since it is easy to work with.

Tip # 4 – Make your own parchment bag. Even if you are a novice cake decorator, you can easily make your own parchment bag. It is simple enough. First, place the parchment triangle in front of you. Lay it down on a flat surface. Have one corner of the flat parchment bag pointing down. Next, fold two of the triangle corners down, allowing them to be joined with the bottom corner. Next, pickup the folded triangle and form it into a cone. Pull the three peaks of the cone together until you have a very tight point at the bottom. Use tape to secure the three peaks together. Or you can make a slight tear in two places and then fold down the notch to keep it in place.

Tip # 5 – For fast, easy cake decorating, use stencils. Using a stencil is one of the easiest ways to decorate your cake. You can buy cake stencils at your local crafts store or kitchen supply store. Make sure to buy a stencil that will not absorb grease.

Tip # 6 – Filling a disposable bag or a featherweight can be tricky. Here are some tips for doing it right. First, make sure to point the bag with the point facing down. Put it in a glass. You can then fold down the sides of the bag into a cuff. Fill it halfway with icing. Do not fill it any more because then you risk icing squeezing out the top of the bag. Fold the cuff up and twist it close. You can wrap a twist-tie on top of the bag to make sure that the icing does not squeeze out.