Friday, August 19, 2011

Cake Decorating 101 - Easy Birthday Cake

Making and decorating a homemade birthday cake can be really simple if you have the right recipes, a few tools, and some easy-to-follow instructions. Making your own birthday cakes will save you money, make you proud to serve your birthday guests; and it’s fun. You can do it!

What you need:
8 or 9-inch round cake pan(s)
Cake mix
Decorator Icing
Icing Colors
Cookie Cutter(s)
Piping Bag(s)
Tip #3
Tip #18

There's no shame in using cake mix! You can “doctor” your cake mix to make it taste a little more homemade by simply substituting melted butter for the oil and using buttermilk instead of water. I also add either 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder to a chocolate cake or 1 Tbsp. vanilla to a yellow or white cake to give it some extra homemade flavor.

When you remove the cakes from the oven, immediately place the pans on a cooling rack. After 10 minutes, flip the cake out of the pan, onto a cooling rack to cool completely. (You want to use a cooling rack, and flip the cake out of the pan, so that the cake will cool properly. Cooling the cake in a pan directly on the counter top leads to a gummy cake bottom, crumbs and possibly a cake that sticks to the pan.)
Note: If your cake has a large dome on the top, be sure to cool the cake on its bottom on the cooling rack or it can crack the cake.

You can use any kind of icing for your simple cake, even canned icing, if you really want to. If you do use canned icing, it will be a little harder to spread, so it may give you more crumbs, and it won’t be as smooth as my Basic Decorator’s Icing.

You will need to level your cakes before covering them with icing. You can use a cake leveler, or if you’re good at eye-balling it, you can use a bread knife. (In my opinion, for about $4, you really can’t beat the ease of a cake leveler. I’ve destroyed too many cakes trying to cut a straight line with a knife.)

If you’re using just one taller cake (like the one pictured above from an 8” x 3” round pan), you’ll also want to torte the cake – cut it in half – to make an extra layer.

Place the top of your cake on a cake board or on your serving plate. You always want to decorate your cake upside down. The top of your cake is on the serving plate, and the bottom of the cake becomes the top for decorating. (This helps keep your cake level and crumb-free.)

If you plan to color the icing for the outside of the cake, I recommend also coloring the icing for the filling. Begin by coloring about 3-4 cups of icing. Then remove ¾ cup of that icing to use for your filling. Add 1 tsp. of water to the filling icing, to make it easier to spread inside of the cake.
Spread the icing on top of your first layer of cake, leaving a ¼ -inch ring uncovered around the outside of the cake so that you do not push crumbs into the icing that will cover your cake.
For a complete tutorial on getting a crumb-free cake, check out my tutorial on How To Ice a Cake
In short: 
Start by wiping off any crumbs you see from the cake itself and from the cake plate.
Spoon a big glob of icing (about 1 cup) on top of the cake, and spread it so that it hangs over the edge of the cake like a snowdrift.
To cover the side, load icing on the back of your spatula, and work in small 2-3-inch sections until you get the whole side covered with messy frosting.

To smooth the icing, go around the sides, and the top, using as few strokes as possible, and wiping off excess icing from the spatula as you go.

Making any outline is really simple if you use a cookie cutter. Choose your shape and set the cookie cutter on the cake where you want the design to be. Lightly press the cookie cutter and carefully remove. (If your icing is a little sticky, be extra careful when removing the cookie cutter.)

To make the icing outline, use your Tip #3 and trace the outline made by the cookie cutter. To make a nice, round line, keep your bag at an angle, with the back of the bag pointing to your right (or left if you're left-handed). Do not hold it straight up r your outline will look flatter and uneven. 

Using tip #18, fill your outline in with stars. Hold the bag straight up just above the surface of the cake (about the thickness of a nickel). Squeeze. Let your icing star get nice and fat. Stop squeezing and pull straight away. Be sure to place your stars right next to each other to fill in the space with no gaps in between.

If you wish, you can also add a star border around the bottom of the cake. Using the star tip in the same way, place the stars at an angle between the bottom of the cake and the serving plate.

This simple design won’t take you more than a few hours to complete. If you want to add writing to the cake, you can do that by using your Tip #3 in the same way you made the outlines for the decorations.
To make your candles stand out, add a star to the cake where each candle will go. That will set the candles apart from the cake, and make it look a little more special.

Click the Links Below to See:
Basic Cake Decorating Techniques
Simplify Clean-Up with an Icing Bag Bullet
Decorator's Buttercream Icing Recipe

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  1. Excellent cakes decorating process. There is no doubt it helps many people who wants to make birthday cakes. Simply great idea. Thank you for this valuable post.

  2. Nice Post..!! Actually i am also trying to organize a birthday party actually a surprise birthday party for my son and looking some online event organizers for this. Thanks for sharing this..!!


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