Seven Cake Decorating Methods That Every Chef Should Understand

These seven cake designing methods are essential to know whether your dream is to become a pastry chef with a broad skill set or a wedding cake designer.

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Beside their bench scraper and spatula, every pastry chef should have a few cake decorating methods stashed away. This is valid whether your goal in life is to spend all of your time crafting elaborate seven-tier cakes, if you’re just starting to get proficient at preparing cupcakes for your kids, or if you’re still researching professions in baking and pastry.

You can bring your cake designs to life if you have these seven fundamental skills under your belt along with a little ingenuity.

1. Spatula Icing

Same as a room needs a nice coat of paint before its d├ęcor pops, a faultless coat of icing is the first step towards making a gorgeous cake.

Even though cake icing seems simple to the experts, you’ll need the right equipment and some practice to get the hang of it. Using a pastry spatula is the most convenient method for applying icing, regardless of whether you want a rough or smooth finish.

Practice the following designs: vertical lines, smooth coats, and the spatula painting method.

2. Piping

You won’t be able to avoid piping if you work in cake decorating. This timeless method is used in everything from sophisticated tiered wedding cakes to whimsical sheet cakes for birthdays.

You must fill a pastry bag with icing and select the appropriate tip before you start piping. Choose the piping tip that will enable you to finish the pattern you’ve intended because they are available in a range of sizes and forms.

While some cake decorators let their imagination run wild and use their pastry bag like a painter, most pastry cooks should be familiar with these basic piping methods.

Squeeze the pastry bag just once and use a star tip to create stars. Multicolored stars can be used as individual decorations or combined to make textured borders or tops.

Similar to stars, dots are made with a circular tip as opposed to a pointed one.

With little effort, rosettes provide a floral-inspired touch.

Shells can be used to cover a cake with a subtle texture or as the basis for one of the most famous cake borders.

Zig-Zags are exactly what their name suggests. They may be used to fill in shapes, cover sides, and form borders.

3. Fondant Work

A rollable frosting called fondant is another essential tool for every cake designer. You may expand your cake decorating repertoire by experimenting with other techniques after you get the hang of working with this solid yet flexible substance.

Professionals in pastry arts should, at the absolute least, practice coating cakes with fondant to achieve a smooth, refined finish. After you’ve mastered cake covering, you may experiment with giving the fondant texture and patterns.

Eventually, you should be able to utilize fondant to build structures and forms in addition to completely covering cakes. These range from straightforward polka dots to elaborate flowers. Continue honing your fondant techniques if you want to make elaborate cakes like those seen on programs like Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss.

4. Painting by Hand

It’s time to use hand painting to add some flair to your cakes after you’re comfortable working with fondant. As the name implies, hand painting entails painting designs on a fondant canvas using edible paints. Decorators may create settings that equal Vincent van Gogh’s paintings or basic things like dots and lines with this approach.

5. Sugar Work

Despite being a more sophisticated technique, sugar work makes cake makers distinguish out from the competition.

Sugar work is shaping melted sugar into beautiful shapes and patterns, much like artists do with molten glass to make bowls and sculptures. You may decorate cakes with sugary swirls and sculptures after you’re familiar using this method.

6. Using airbrushing

An air pistol similar to the one used by graffiti artists and automotive detailers is used for airbrushing. Pastry artisans, however, work on cakes, not rims and underpasses.

This method allows you to add color to a cake after you’ve completed with your fondant or frosting, much like hand painting. On the other hand, airbrushing enables smoother color mixing and faster coverage.

The method to employ if you want an ombre appearance is airbrushing.

7. Mirror Glaze

If buttercream frosting and fondant are comparable to a matte paint, then a mirror glaze is comparable to a high-gloss coating. In order to get the ideal temperature for this procedure, gelatin, sugar, and other components are combined. This is the time to pour the satiny mixture over the cold cake.

Both plain colors and the marbled patterns shown on the cake above may be achieved with a mirror glaze.