Have you ever seen such a beautifully made cake that you did not want to cut into it to eat it? Well, I have and even though I love eating cake, I love decorating them more because of the reactions I get when people see the final masterpiece.
When it comes to decorating a cake, or even cupcakes, the possibilities are endless with the different ideas, techniques, and decorations you can use. Decorating a beautiful cake can be time consuming with all the different steps one must take which include planning, gathering supplies, prepping the cake, frosting and detailing. In the planning stage, before pastry chefs are able to decorate a cake, they must take into account the preferences of the person that they are making the cake for. Some decisions to be made include the size of the cake, flavors, colors, and frosting type. A decorator should also take all of these decisions into consideration and once a plan is in motion then they can begin decorating a cake.
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The first step in the decorating process is to gather all of the ingredients and supplies which include a cake, turntable, bowl, piping bags, decorating tips, coupler, frosting, parchment paper, offset spatula and a bench scraper. Once everything is gathered, decorators should start off by placing their cooled cake onto the turntable so that they can rotate it for easier decorating. The second step is to apply a crumb coat to the cake, which is the initial layer of frosting, in order to prevent loose crumbs on the outside of the cake. This is especially important if frosting a darker cake with a lighter icing. With an offset spatula, decorators should spread an even, thin layer of frosting onto the cake and scrape the excess off into a separate bowl so that crumbs do not get into the main bowl of frosting.
The decorator can reuse the excess frosting for the crumb layer but should not use it again afterwards. Lastly, a bench scraper is used to smooth the edges and then the decorator will need to place the cake into the freezer for ten to fifteen minutes before frosting the next layer. After the cake is removed from the freezer, the decorator should place it back onto the turntable to finish frosting. They should scoop a sufficient amount of frosting onto the top of the cake to smooth out until the frosting is even. For the sides, they only want to apply a little bit of frosting at a time while rotating the turntable. Once all the sides are covered, a bench scraper is used by being placed directly on the edge of the cake and held there lightly while the turntable is slowly being rotated.
This will create smoother sides by gathering excess frosting and filling in any small holes but some frosting will be pushed up towards the top of the cake which can be easily smoothed out by pulling that frosting towards the center of the cake with the offset spatula. Finally, a piping bag can be filled with the remaining frosting which is to be used for a border and decorations. Before adding frosting to the bag, the decorator will need to place a coupler base into the bottom of the bag, cut an opening and push it through the opening. Then they will place a decorating tip over the coupler base and twist the coupler ring onto the base to lock the tip into place. The easiest way to fill the bag with frosting is to place the tip of the pastry bag into an empty glass and fold the opening of the bag over the edges of the glass. Next, a spoon can be used to transfer the frosting into the bag until it is three quarters of the way full.
Following this, the decorator will remove the piping bag from the glass and twist the open end to close it and grip it at the seal before applying pressure to pipe the frosting. They can use the turntable to rotate their cake so that they can pipe the design quicker and with ease. A trick that pastry chefs like to use if they plan to write a message on their cake is to practice their writing on a plate, paper towel or parchment paper. Another option is to gently outline the words into the frosting with a toothpick and then pipe them onto the outline. Overall, decorating a cake is a full time job because of the steps that it requires. These steps include developing a plan, assembling supplies and ingredients, prepping the cake, frosting it and then finally decorating it. Despite this daunting task and all of the steps it requires, decorating a beautiful cake is worthwhile in the end.