Friday, 22 April 2011

Cake Decorating 101 - Part 1: Basic Terminology, Tools & Recipes

Bobbette & Belle Cake
One of my favourite Toronto Designers

I am not a professional cake decorator by any stretch of the imagination, but I have decorated a couple of cakes in the last few years that have managed to turn out pretty well given my limited skills & experience.

I thought it would be helpful to have a set of posts that cover the essentials of cake decorating so that you have a quick reference for an outline of the process, recipes, and techniques.

To begin, here's a snapshot of the steps generally used to decorate a cake:
1) Make your filling & icing  
2) Bake your cake
3) Level, fill and mask your cake
4) Cover your cake with icing/fondant
5) Stack your cakes (if you're doing more than one tier)
6) Decorate

Another Bobbette & Belle cake

I'm going to break down these steps into the following posts:
Part 1 - Basic Terminology, Tools & Recipes
Part 2 - Level, fill & ice your cake
Part 3 - Cover your cake with icing or fondant
Part 4 - Stacking cakes
Part 5 - Basic decorating techniques
Part 6 - Intermediate decorating techniques
Part 7 - Advanced decorating techniques

Let's begin Part 1!

I've done a lot of searching for great videos because for many of the skills you need to decorate, it's much easier to see them in action rather than read instructions and see incremental photos.

If you're thinking to yourself that you could never decorate your own cake, check out this great (and fast!) video that quickly shows the process from start to finish:

I'm SO pleased with this series that I found on You Tube from 'Howcast' - the host is a woman by the name of Amanda Oakleaf who owns her own cake shop.  You can tell she has been formally trained as a baker and she is knowledgeable, skilled and explains things well.

To get you started, I've chosen the following videos:
1 - The difference between buttercream, royal icing & fondant

2 - Introduction to the difference in basic tools used for buttercream vs. fondant

3 - How to make a true buttercream icing (like the ones used in high end cake shops)

4 - How to make royal icing

5 - How to make marshmallow fondant (I've always bought my fondant from McCall's but I've heard great things about marshmallow fondant if you want/need to make your own)

Additionally,  I would recommend having the following tools/supplies:

- Proper Cake Pans (Notice the straight edges and squared off bottom?  This is what gives your cakes clean edges to make it easier to stack together & cover with buttercream and fondant)

- Turntable (Ikea has these for around $10.00)

- Large scraper (you can find a similar shaped tool at any hardware store, you want it to be a minimum of 5 inches wide)

 - Either a long spatula or an off-set spatula

- Long rolling pin without handles (for rolling out fondant)

Up next: Part 2 - Level, fill & ice your cake

- Jacs

1 comment:

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