As far as our tradition of festivals and parties goes, well decorated cakes are pretty much at the top of the list of must-haves. Cake decorating basically is a way of using colored sugar icing to make an otherwise plain cake more visually interesting. A decorated cake is a perfect way to add an artistic dimension to any celebration, from birthdays to religious holidays to graduations and many more – virtually any reason to celebrate is reason enough to have a beautifully decorated cake!
Learning the art of cake decorating can not only be an enjoyable and artistic hobby, but can be a great way to earn money from home, as many people do not think they have the artistic capability to professionally decorate a cake and always get their cake decorated by professionals. However, you will realize that it can be a real fun and also a rewarding hobby after you get the hang of it!
There are two basic types of cake decorating. One is decorating with words and objects on a flat cake surface, such as icing a simple sheet cake and using good penmanship and a steady hand to write the message on the cake with the icing, along with some basic borders and small objects, such as flowers.
The second type of cake decorating is making an object out of a cake, which can be more difficult, but certainly more fun and appealing to the eye. This type of cake decorating involves building an object out of several cakes, such as a popular cartoon character, and detailing that character by using icing techniques.
There are two basic types of icing that anyone who is interested in cake decorating should be familiar with.
First of all, there is butter-cream, which is an icing made with powdered sugar, butter, cream, and usually vanilla, however, one of the nice things about butter-cream is that it can be flavoured with other extracts, such as rum, almond, lemon, etc. This frosting is usually noted as being the nicest in flavour.
The second type of icing commonly used in cake decorating is fondant icing. Fondant icing is not as nice in taste, as most people feel that it is very sugary and chewy, where as butter-cream tends to have that melt-in-your-mouth quality. However, when trying to achieve a perfectly smooth and flawless look on a decorated cake, fondant icing is your best bet.
Here are two of our favourite icing recipes, one for butter-cream and one for fondant. Try each recipe and see which one you like best!
Basic Butter-Cream Cake Icing:
- 2 cups unsalted butter or vegetable shortening, room temperature
- 1 cup cream, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons vanilla or other desired flavoring
- 4 pounds confectioners’ sugar
In a mixer, mix your butter or shortening with the salt and vanilla and slowly begin to add the sugar in small amounts until you have almost reached the end of the sugar. Be sure to stop every few minutes and scrape the edges of the bowl and taste the frosting to make sure that it has the flavour you want. At the very end of the mixing process, add the cream and mix for about 20 seconds. Refrigerate as soon as possible.
Basic Marshmallow Fondant Icing:
- 16 ounces white mini-marshmallows
- 2 to 5 tablespoons water
- 2 pounds icing sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
Melt the marshmallows in the microwave with the water until totally melted. Place on a workspace with 3/4 of the sugar and grease your hands with the vegetable shortening. Begin kneading the marshmallow mixture into the sugar to make a dough and make sure to keep your hands greased with the shortening. Once everything is totally blended, roll out with a rolling pin, lay over the cake, and cut to size.
Now you have enough ideas to get started. So go ahead and let the fun begin.
Check our cake decorating course here if you want to learn more about cake decorating.