The cake is the first thing that we think about when it comes to events, parties, or weddings. Sometimes, we are amazed by seeing some wedding cake or birthday cake and wonder how they are made perfectly. Behind such cakes, there is a lot of hard work. A perfect cake means the icing job is done perfectly. Most beginners find it difficult to make the icing on their cakes and fail many times.
But once you learn the tips and tricks about icing, it is just a piece of cake. In this article, you will explore what are the tools needed to make icing decorations and how to make a perfect icing decoration.
1. Tools for Icing
These tools are the most important tools to put icing on the cake and they cannot be ignored. Let’s see the details about these cake-decorating tools.
The turntable is the most important tool to make your whole cake decoration process easier. It is rotatable, and you can make alterations to your cake without much tension.
1.2 Piping Bag
Piping bags are the main tool used to make the icing for your cake. All the filling work and most of the decoration work can be done with this piping bag. It comes as use and throw type as well as reusable. So, you can choose according to your wish.
1.3 Piping Tips or Nozzles
There are various types of piping nozzles such as large round, large star, drop flower, open star, and so on. You will insert these nozzles at the end of the piping bag after cutting the corner. These nozzles are used to add textures to your cake and come in different shapes.
1.4 Offset Spatula or Palette Knife
This spatula or knife is a tool that is used to spread the frosting easily onto the cake before smoothing it. You can tidy up the top edge and sides of your cake to get nice sharp edges using these spatulas. The palette knife can be used to decorate the cake and create textures in frosting and coloring. To create a spiral drip design on top of the cake you can use spatulas.
1.5 Cake Scraper
These cake scrapers are used to smooth the spinning cake and make the sides of the cake smoother. It comes in plastic, metal, and acrylic material. When it comes to cake scraper, the metal type will be best as you get a good grip over it.
2. How to Make Cake Icing Cream?
Now, let’s see how to make the best buttercream frosting recipe for icing.
- Unsalted Butter
- Vanilla Essence
Take a clean and dry mixer along with a 100-gram glass. Use this glass to add 100 grams of sugar to the mixer. Again, add half a glass of sugar to the mixer. Grind the sugar in a fine powder without being coarse and keep it aside. In a clean bowl, add 150 grams of unsalted butter. Make sure the butter stays at room temperature for 2 hours before using it. Now, use an electric beater to beat the butter for 5-7 minutes. Beat until the dark yellow butter changes into a light-yellow color.
After the color changes, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat it. Once you add some amount of sugar, beat it for 30 seconds and repeat it until you add all the powder. After adding sugar, beat it for 5 minutes. The cream should be stiff and strong. Then add ¼ teaspoon of vanilla or any essence of your choice and beat well. Finally, this cream should be stiff and not fall if you put the bowl upside down. Now, your vanilla buttercream is ready for icing.
3. Crumb Coating and Smoothing
Crumb coating and smoothing is a basic step of decorating a cake, and let’s see how to do it.
3.1 Preparing Cream
In the previous step, we saw how to prepare the cream for icing. After refrigerating it, you will take it out during icing. Icing will be perfect only if the cream is in the correct consistency; it should be soft and stiff with zero air bubbles. If it is loose or over-stiff, icing becomes difficult. Mix it continuously until the bubbles are released. Next, let’s use this buttercream icing for decorating cakes.
3.2 Stacking Layers
Take the turntable and place a small mat on it. Then, keep a cake board over the mat. Take the first layer of the cake and place it on the board. First, apply sugar syrup over it, and using a spatula, apply the cream on the first layer and spread it evenly. Repeat this process for all layers. While you stack the cake layers, it should be in the correct position and level. If you find it is not correct, use the palette knife to cut the uneven parts.
3.3 Using Piping Bag
Take your piping bag and cut the edge of it, like a mehendi cone. Add the buttercream into the piping bag and using the turntable, cover all the sides and top of the cake completely by drawing lines. After applying cream on top and sides, on the top edge, apply one round of cream to get sharp edges.
Getting a sharp edge is important for a perfect cake. Then, use the palette knife or spatula to level the applied cream on top and sides. Whenever you use the knife, don’t hold it straight, hold it in a slanting position to get perfection.
3.4 Using Scraper
Take the cake scraper and hold it vertically. Using the turntable, continuously scrap the cake in the sides. While doing it, you get a perfect finish without making a mess. Then use the palette knife to remove excess cream that is left after scraping.
A quick tip to get a sharp edge is to clean the knife using hot water before using it to remove excess cream from the top. Then add cream to the cake again, where you find it is missing, and use a scraper again to make the sides neat. Again, use the icing bags in the corner of the cake if the amount of cream is less.
3.5 No Air Gaps
After doing this, you can see some air gaps in the sides of the cake. This is formed as there is no cream in that particular place. So put a small hole there and add cream inside it using the palette knife. Then, use a scraper to get neat edges.
Repeat all the steps continuously to make a perfect icing. You should do it fast when it comes to icing, as the cream is at room temperature for a long time. If it is at room temperature for a long time, bubbles will be formed, and you cannot do the smooth frosting.
4. How to Make Cake Icing Decorations?
Let us make a pineapple cake icing decoration now.
4.1 Layering Cake
Follow the same process above for making cream. When making pineapple cake you can use pineapple essence or yellow color food coloring. After you place the first layer of cake in the table turner, add pineapple sugar syrup to it. To make pineapple sugar syrup, add small pieces of pineapple and sugar into the boiling water and let it boil for 15 mins.
Then, apply the cream on the center part and place the small pineapple pieces over it. Then place the next layer of cake over it and follow the same procedure. A quick tip here is to remove cake particles that disturb your icing job. Keep your cake board at 90 degrees to cover the cake perfectly. Apply the cream on the sides using the spatula and clean the corners. Keep this in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
4.3 Making Corrections
Take this out and use the spatula or knife to even the cream on the cake.
Always wash your knife before using it to get the best result. Next, take the scraper and add lines to the sides of the cake.
4.4 Using Nozzles
Now, take your piping bag and add a drop flower piping nozzle to the end of it. You can create a flower-like design on the top of your cake using this. For different colors of flowers, you add different food colors to the cream. Add the cream inside the bag and press it so the air bubbles will be released.
Hold the bag properly and keep some dots over the cake to get a flower design, and also do this in the corners of the cake. Make sure to keep each dot in opposite directions instead of putting it continuously to get it in perfect order. If you are making strawberry cake, use strawberries, or if you are making chocolate cake, use chocolate frosting.
5. Final Words for Making Cake Icing Decorations
Making cake icing decorations is not the toughest process anymore. Once you learn how to crumb a coat and smooth your cake, half of your work is done. Use these must-have icing tools to make a perfect cake icing decoration. Explore the nuances in each step and keep practicing until you get perfect.