Embellishing a Cake

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a professional cake decorator; I just really love baking and love to learn new things. Along the way, I have picked up some tricks that help me with my end product.

Last Thursday was my daughter’s 15th birthday and she wanted a “very chocolate” cake. Easy enough, right? I love chocolate too and was excited for her choice. I tried something a little different and made a triple layer cake with chocolate frosting. I placed crushed Oreos around the base of the cake and added dollops of vanilla buttercream frosting on top with a variety of candy bars.

The kids tore through that cake like it was their first meal in a week. Dibs were placed on candy bars as well as the first through fifth slices of cake. Some girls were more reserved and waited until a slice become available but they all had a piece.

They were amazed that I made the cake and quite frankly, it wasn’t my best work. However, I was thinking about the many ways that cakes can wow with a few, simple, embellishments. If you have a shaky hand and have difficulty getting a smooth finish, you can still make a lovely cake with some easy additions:

1. Fruit-dried, candied or fresh fruit make lovely additions. Cut fruit can bleed onto your frost so be careful.

2. Flowers-edible flowers can bring beautiful colors to plain cakes.

3. Cookies

4. Candy

5. Coconut- wonderful to pat onto uneven frosting

6. Powdered Sugar-looks great on a darker cake

7. Cocoa- go easy with this one; it can be bitter.

8. Morsels-

9. Sugar works

10. Nuts- make sure no one has an allergy

One thing I like to do is microwave frosting for about 15-20 seconds so that it is pourable. I get a smooth finish every time by placing my cake on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet. Excess frosting runs into the cookie sheet and I’m left with a nice and smooth frosted cake.

Another tip that I’ve learned is to dip my spatula in hot water before spreading frosting. It really helps to create a smooth surface that is nice to look at.

I’d also like to share that I have struggled in the past with icing bags and frosting tips. I always make a huge mess and get icing everywhere. One thing that has really helped a simple home cook like myself is a frosting gun. The brand that I use is Wilton and it has made a huge difference in the quality of my frosting efforts.

One thing the girls did notice was my Dollar Store birthday sign that read, “Harpy Bipthday”. It was a huge surprise and laughable moment. We ended up singing “Harpy Bipthday” to my daughter and everyone laughed and enjoyed the new rendition.

I don’t have a new recipe for this post, but I did want to share some ideas for cake decorating to make anyone look like a star!

Have a great day!

πŸ˜‰ Jennifer

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