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Cake Decorations

Now we’re on to the fun part. Cake decorating is simply a form of edible art, allowing you to turn plain cakes into visually spectacular masterpieces – which you can eat! There are hundreds of ways in which you can decorate your cakes, using an abundance of tools, techniques and tricks. To narrow the ever-expanding options down, we’ve compiled a list of exciting decorating techniques that promise to make your cakes pop.

Texturising and Embossing

Embossing is the technique of creating a series of patterned imprints in fondant, adding intricate designs and dimension to a plain cake. There are many different tools available which will enable you to add texture, each working as well as the next – it's really just up to personal preference. Pattern embossers allow you to roll basic designs directly into your cake quickly and easily by applying an even pressure, covering a large surface area. Using an impression mat is a lengthier process, but the designs are far more detailed, intricate and luxurious, coming in either a large 'endless design' size or smaller embellishment sizes. Stamps cover the smallest surface area, so are ideal for adding smaller textured impressions to enhance your existing design.

Airbrushing

If you want to enhance the colour and texture of your cake simultaneously, then airbrushing is the answer! Allowing you to create incredible optical illusions, this technique enables you to add depth, gradient, shading and a multitude of tones to your cake, completely transforming its appearance. Ideal for finer details as well as overall coverage, you will require an airbrushing machine and a variety of food-safe airbrush paints. Although this technique may take a little while to master, it's an invaluable skill that will no doubt produce that stunning professional-looking result you've always dreamt of! Below is a video from Dinkydoodle, demonstrating how this method works and showing you the kind of design you could produce.

Frosting and Piping

Piping borders, patterns and designs onto cakes is one of the most popular methods of decorating. This technique involves a decorating bag, a coupler, a variety of decorating tips and your choice of icing. Depending on the decorating tips used, you could create anything from flowers, leaves and stars to basketweave designs, fancy ruffles and even personalised written sentiments. Have a look at our Decorating Tips Chart below for more information on the sort of things you could create, using a range of different tips.

View Decorating Tips Chart (Click to expand)

Baking Sheet

These versatile cone-shaped tips have a round opening and are available in a large variety of sizes. Use round tips for writing, outlining, creating dots, scrollwork and much more.

Drop Flower Tips

Usually used at a vertical angle, drop flower tips have a flower-shaped opening which allows you to create precise flowers with one squeeze. The amount of petals created varies with each tip.

Leaf Tips

Leaf tips have a V-shaped opening which allows you to create perfectly pointed leaves with ruffle detail, however they're also ideal for creating pretty pleats and edges.

Petal Tips

With a long – and sometimes curved – opening, petal tips are perfect for producing a variety of petal shapes, from blossoms and pansies to roses. They're also fantastic for creating intricate ribbons.

Open Star Tips

The first type of 'star' tip available, open star tips have a wide star-shaped opening with jagged teeth, allowing you to create pointy stars, grooved shells or finely cut borders.

Closed Star Tips

The second type of 'star' tip is the closed star tip. These tips have a more rounded, closed end with the teeth meeting inwards, allowing you to create softer stars, flowers and swirling borders.

Ruffle Tips

Ruffle tips have varying shaped and sized openings, depending on how large or detailed you want the ruffle. These tips are primarily used to add texture and dimensional effects to borders.

Basketweave Tips

With one smooth side and one serrated side, basketweave tips are specifically designed to create striped, woven designs. Use these tips to make textured borders, pleats and thatched patterns.

Speciality Tips

For an entirely unique appearance, specialty tips each have distinctive shaped openings that are a little out of the ordinary – find anything from Christmas trees and hearts to crosses and ropes.

Multi-Opening Tips

Multi-opening tips allow you to pipe rows or clusters of designs. Each design varies from tip to tip, however they all pipe several shapes at once. Find anything from stars and dots to simple lines.

But don't get ahead of yourself – before you begin piping to your heart's content, you must ensure you correctly prepare your piping bag. We've teamed up with Wilton to show you exactly how this is done.

Once you've filled your piping bag and you're ready to go, hold the twisted part of the bag between your thumb and index finger, with the rest of your fingers wrapped around the top of the filled bag so that you can easily squeeze the icing out. For creating one-squeeze flowers and stars or for writing, hold the bag at a 90 degree angle. However for trim, more advanced flowers and continuous designs, you should hold it at a 45 degree slant. You should always practise your design before piping directly onto your cake to make sure you're completely comfortable with the way your bag works. If you're interested in learning how to create your very own piped flowers, please watch this handy tutorial from Wilton.

Using Edible Decorations

Edible decorations are the perfect way to embellish and enhance your designs, and the great thing is – they come in so many different forms! Perhaps the most commonly used decoration, other than fruit, chocolate and sweets, is sprinkles – which can be found in a whole host of different colours, shapes and sizes.

Edible dust is a firm favourite among bakers due to its versatility – use it directly to add colour and sparkle to cakes, dust over stamped impressions or sugar flowers to make them really stand out, or knead into sugar paste or marzipan to colour. Alternatively, you could also mix edible powders with edible varnish medium to create your own edible paint – a big trend in the baking world right now! Using edible icing paint truly extends your design possibilities, allowing you to use a brush to paint leaves, flowers, berries, bows and much more.

Creating Your Own Edible Decorations

Creating advanced edible decorations may seem like the most work, however they will most definitely give you the most satisfaction once complete. Edible decorations can be made in a variety of ways, but one of the most popular techniques at the moment has to be die-cutting intricate designs. Using a die-cutting machine, edible wafer paper and specialty cake dies, you'll be able to create your own decorative designs in no time at all. What's more, you can adhere your edible die-cuts to your cake with specialist edible glue!

Another firm favourite among bakers is using cuttersmoulds and modelling tools to create flowers and butterflies with sugar paste, marzipan or florist paste. Beginning by cutting out a shape from your chosen modelling paste, you then need to press it into your choice of mould to create a deep emboss, imprinting the finer, more intricate details. You can even use a variety of modelling tools to add more detail to the decoration – ball tools are favoured for frilling flower petals, while veining tools are great for adding veins.

Using Non-Edible Decorations

Non-edible decorations add that final bit of charm to your design. Whether you want to add ribbon around the base of your cake, attach stars or hearts made of pipe cleaners to the top of your cake, stick on plastic figurines of the bride and groom or add those all-important candles, these decorations will no doubt impress.

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