Monday , June 30, 2014 - 9:31 AM
Hands cramping, fingers stained like the rainbow and powdered sugar covering you from head to toe are just a few of the outcomes of cake decorating.
Cake decorating is something that didn’t seem to be very common until a few years ago when “Cake Boss” came around. Buddy, the main decorator on this TV reality show, makes it look so easy, so why not give it a try, right?
Well, that’s what most of the people in my first cake decorating class thought. In cake decorating, most people think that the first thing you need to learn to do is make big, beautiful cakes with giant realistic flowers, like you see on TV or in pictures. They don’t realize the most important things to learn are the very simple ones.
Some of the first basic things you’ll learn when in cake decorating are how to hold the bag correctly for each technique, and how to make frosting stars. These simple things may seem easy when you look at them, but in reality you will have a harder time making anything else if you don’t know how to hold the bag right or make these simple stars.
In my first decorating class, we all had a dozen sugar cookies to decorate in order to practice making stars. Since it was our first time decorating, we didn’t use homemade buttercream frosting, but we used store-bought cans or icing. This is a bit harder to use but it was a very good starter.
To make stars out of frosting, you follow these steps:
• Get a decorating bag (can be found at any craft store) and fit it with a star tip (also found at craft stores). Many decorating companies have websites that you can look up to see what number a star tip is.
• Fill your bag half-way full with a medium consistency buttercream icing. To get medium consistency icing, add one tablespoon of milk to your icing at a time. When you put your knife into the bowl and shake it slightly, the icing should move just a little bit — that is medium consistency.
• Hold your bag at a 90-degree angle (straight up and down) above the surface of your cake. Keep the tip about 1/4 inch above the surface of your cake. You want to have leave enough space to make the star.
• Squeeze the bag to form the star. Increase and decrease pressure to change the size of the star. Do not put the tip directly on the cake surface, as this will cause the star to have a hole in the center.
• Stop the pressure and pull straight up and away. When you finish squeezing out the star, make sure pressure is completely stopped before you pull the tip away, as to not have extra frosting on the star. Also, remember to pull straight up and away, not to the side. Going to the side will cause the star to deform.
• Another tip — if you want bigger or smaller stars, try using different star-tip sizes.
Stars are used for decorating many cakes including character cakes, small borders and flower centers. A lot of stars are used to decorate cakes baked in shaped pans. Shaped cakes — like elephants or cartoon characters — are very popular, especially with kids.
I love to decorate cakes; whether it’s for a birthday or just for fun, I always try to come up with something new to design. My favorite cake that I have decorated so far was a gender reveal cake. A gender reveal cake is a cake that is colored either pink or blue on the inside to reveal what the gender of the baby is. When the couple cut open the cake and showed their family the gender, it was very fun.
While cake decorating is fun and beautiful to look at, it’s not easy to do. If you are interested in getting into cake decorating, check out your local craft store and see if they offer classes.
Cake decorating is great, just remember to have fun with it and be creative.
Jordan Thornblad will be a junior this fall at Viewmont High School. She enjoys playing soccer, photography and decorating cakes. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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