Tip #1- Leveling a layered cake. When you want to created a layered cake, it's important that both cake layers are fairly level. Most cakes come out with a rounded cake top. You can take a knife and cut that round part right off. I actually use a cake leveler that I bought at Michael's. It looks like the picture shown off to the right. I love it because it's got a thin wire that cuts through the cake better than a knife, it has notches at each side that you can set higher or lower, depending on the thickness that you want to cut off, and it helps produce a more even cut.
Tip #2- Frosting with a crumb coat. Do you ever wonder how some cakes look so smooth and perfect? Well, the professionals accomplish that with what's called a crumb coat. All that means is that they frost the cake more than once. The first layer is a thin coat of frosting over the cake. It shows all the crumbs that get stuck in the frosting. Once you frost the cake with a crumb coat, let it set out for about 10 minutes so that the frosting has a chance to get a bit crusty, trapping in the crumbs. If it's not getting crusty by sitting out on your counter, then throw it into the freezer for a few minutes to let it harden a bit. After it's hardened, pull it out and frost your cake a second time. The second time make it a thick coat of frosting. You'll find that no crumbs appear in that second coat because they've been taken care of by the crumb coat!
Tip #3- Using a protective base while frosting. I don't know about you, but when I frost a cake, I like to put it on the plate that I'll be serving it on and then frost it, so that I can avoid having to move the cake after it's been frosted. But frosting can be a messy business, so I've started using a protective base on my serving plate while frosting. What I do is cut a few large triangles of wax paper and place them on the serving plate, edges either touching or overlapping slightly. Then I put my unfrosted cake on top of the wax paper and begin frosting. Right after I'm done frosting with my second and final layer, I gently pull the triangles of wax paper out from under my cake, one by one, and wipe away any minor frosting smudges or crumbs that may be lingering on my serving plate. I often pipe a shell boarder of some kind on the bottom too, just to make the cake look prettier.
Okay, I think that's all the cake decorating tips I have time for. These work for me. Maybe they'll work for you too!
If you'd like to share something that works for you, please leave me a comment. And be sure to link yourself over at Shannon's, the host of Works-For-Me Wednesday.
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