Professional Cake Decorating Techniques For The Newbie

There are plenty of ambitious new cake decorators out there who have watched the televised cake competitions and thought I’m going to make my daughter’s wedding cake. Viewers don’t realize all the work that goes into making an intricately decorated cake and try to learn techniques that are way past the beginner level. The best way to get good at cake decorating is to take on one new technique at a time, working until you master the lower level techniques before taking on more difficult ones. It takes a lot of practice and skill and bad results can be discouraging. One way to make your cakes look professional using very simple techniques is to work with icing sheets.

Icing sheets are actual icing that has been spread thin to resemble paper. Because it comes in paper-like sheets, it can be handled the way paper is. You can cut it, print on it and do very nice decorations using a few tools.

For the Less Artistic

Techniques can be taught and learned but artistic talent is something you either have or you don’t.  Trying to replicate a picture or design can be overwhelming for the new cake decorator who doesn’t have artistic ability. But, that newbie can scan any picture or pattern, print it out in edible ink on an icing sheet and have a beautiful, edible design to incorporate into the cake design.

Let’s say that ambitious mom wants her daughter’s wedding cake to incorporate the theme of the wedding invitation. She takes that invitation, scans it into her printer and prints it out on to the icing sheet. She can print as many as she needs and have that design ready to cut to either apply to the fondant cake surface or to adhere to gum paste flowers, cut borders, or punch out individual designs with a punch from a craft store.

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Easy Stuff

Everyone knows how to use a pair of scissors. You can cut out any shape you want and stick it to the cake using moisture.

Check out the punches sold in the scrapbooking section at Michaels. They’re great for creating quick designs. You insert the icing sheet, squeeze and voila!

Roll out the fondant or gum paste, brush on some piping gel and smooth the icing sheet over it. Now you can cut out shapes with any cookie cutter. Use a flower shaped cookie cutter and then just add a small ball of a different color in the center for a unique flower to match your design.

Can’t paint? Smooth a print over the entire surface of your cake. I’ve seen cakes covered to look like Monet’s water lily painting. They’re gorgeous and very little else is needed to complete the cake when you have an interesting print on the cake.

Whether you cut out solid color icing sheets or print your own designs with edible ink, they truly are one of the easiest mediums for the novice cake decorator to work with.

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