Let them eat a decorated cake

It was my sister Jennifer’s birthday on Thursday, and it’s my niece Ava’s birthday tomorrow.  Birthdays make me think of cake.  There is so much that goes into a good cake, both the recipe and how it is decorated.  I’m going to touch on the decorating portion right now.

First step is the frosting.  Butter cream of all flavors, ganache, cream cheese, royal icing, and fondant are just a few of the ways to dress your cakes.  It’s all a matter of preference.  I’m a sucker for cream cheese frosting and I enjoy a good vanilla butter cream.  Taking taste out of the equation, fondant and marzipan cakes, if done properly, look so tailored and beautiful.  Pick the frosting that you and your company prefer and play around with the color if you would like.  Tip: never, ever frost a cake before it’s cooled…trust me, it’s not pretty.  Patience is a virtue.

Now that the cake is frosted use your creativeness.  You don’t have to be an artist or even the most creative person to decorate a cake.  Think of different candies and fruits that you could use on the cake.  M&Ms of all different sizes, Oreo cookies, licorice, Goldfish crackers (sweet flavors), berries, lemon or lime wedges, etc.  These ideas are just a jumping off point, let your creative juices flow!  I would pick a decorative feature that compliments the flavors of the cake and frosting.  Another tip: if you’re using berries, make sure they aren’t too wet.  A wet berry will bleed onto the frosting and that’s simply not appetizing.

If you need some inspiration for your decorating, look at this page from Everyday with Rachel Ray.  This is similar to an article I saw in the magazine back in 2008, and it’s been in my mind ever since.  It makes me look at candies and cookies differently…now I see them as tools for decorating.  If you want to try some more daring cakes, I love the ‘Quick and Easy Party Cakes’ cookbook.  It’s a little more challenging (contrary to the title of the book), but is a great way to step into the world of a professional cake decorator!  Don’t forget cupcakes, they are great for birthdays and special occassions.  Plus it can be easier to decorate on a smaller scale.  I love the cookbook ‘Hello Cupcake!’-it is a wonderful tool for decorating and frosting!

Don’t be afraid to decorate your next cake!  You’ll feel creative and proud…let the perfectionist in you fade a little and have fun with it.  Let me know if you’ve got any go to decorating tips for me, I’d love to hear them!

In the meantime, Happy Birthday to all you August babies.  Happy Birthday to my sister and my niece…I’ll bake a cake for you next time I’m back!

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