Cake Decorating Tips To Help You
I’ve asked the baking community on Instagram to share cake decorating tips that could be helpful for fellow bakers. I’ve gotten so much great feedback from the amazing baking community! Scroll on to read the tips that could be useful for you. Make sure to click on the username to check out their Instagram feed of cakes!
My tip: Use the baking strips if you want flat cake layers. Otherwise, there will be a dome when the cake layers are done. This is a personal preference but I like using baking strips!
I never have buttermilk, so I always use 1 TBSP of vinegar and then fill my 1 measurement cup with whole milk to make 1 cup of buttermilk.
Make sure your ingredients are room temp.
Cut butter into small pieces so your butter will go to room temp faster.
The smell is very important. I used to go by recipe instructions but once you smell what you are baking, keep an eye on it. No two ovens are the same.
Use all of the room temperature ingredients. Make sure the baking soda is not expired and to check for the bubbles in the vinegar.
After letting your cakes cool, wrap them well with cling wrap and freeze your layers for easier handling when putting your cake together. This also helps to avoid having to do a “crumb coat” on your cake. You can also level the layers and add simple syrup to each cake layer for additional moisture.
Always refrigerate all of the cookie dough before baking. It keeps its shape. Also, always freeze the cake layers in plastic wrap before assembling because it turns out better and straighter.
For baking cakes, always use parchment paper liners. No sticky and easy release for the cake.
I am definitely a clean as I go baker. By the end of any of my desserts, the dishes are done.
- If it needs eggs at room temperature, I will put them in a large bowl with warm water for 15 minutes.
- If a recipe calls for “room temp” ingredients, don’t overlook this!
- Add a grip mat in between your cake board & turntable so it doesn’t slide when you decorate
If you have uneven baking in your oven, what you can do is: if you are using a regular cake pan, put it in a larger pan and pour hot water that comes to about half way of the pan and bake it. Your cake will have a flat layer and will bake evenly. You can do the same for a springform, just wrap it in foil first.
Sub vanilla protein powder for milk powder when in a pinch.
- To avoid sunk cakes, do not open the oven door while baking.
- Chill the cookie dough before putting it in the oven to avoid it spreading too much.
- Always use cake dowels for big cakes & crumb coat and chill before final coating.
Homemade release: 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, 1/3 cup of flour, and 1/3 cup of shortening. Whisk together until smooth and store in the fridge. Use a paper towel or a pastry brush to apply to cake pans and your cakes will never stick! Good for a week in the fridge but I’m a stickler for not letting stuff to get near expiration.
- Hand mix buttercream before piping or frosting your cakes to get rid of pesky air bubbles
- Warm up your metal scraper for a super smooth finish on your final coat of frosting!
Always crack your eggs in a separate bowl then whisk together. It will make whatever you are baking more fluffier.
Cake Decorating Tips
My tip: Organize your baking and decorating supplies! Makes it so much easier to find what you need.
When you are using chocolate chips or chunks for decorating your cakes, don’t forget to spray & stir them with a very little bit of oil to coat them. You want to lose the dull finish they get from running into each other in the bag. This problem is most pronounced with semi-sweet chocolate but all types are better off after this. I stir with a clean finger (to avoid more damage to the chocolate with a spoon) for a good while until it is well distributed. If you accidentally use too much oil, then use a napkin or paper towel to dab it off. I’ve done this with most of the cakes posted on my page that have chocolate chips.
Cake Safe discs are a game changer!
Use a new pair of dog nail clippers to cut wooden dowels. So easy and perfect cut everytime! They are available at the dollar stores.
If you mess up a design on a cake (border, flower, writing, and etc), freeze it and then use a knife to carefully cut it off the cake. I never try to fix it or remove an error unless my cake is VERY cold so I don’t blend colors, and my base coat of icing is saved!
Work with a cold cake. A cold cake makes a HUGE difference when stacking cakes and helps to prevent wobble and slipping.
I add melting chocolate to my homemade fondant so it makes the fondant more pliable and fun to work with. It’s like play dough for adults!
My favorite trick to roll frosting or icing into tubes using plastic wrap. It keeps your decorating bag clean!
Heat up your cake combs! Will make for the smoothest cake.
I use reusable piping bags and roll my buttercream in parchment paper and put into the piping bag. When I am done, I pull out the parchment paper for easy cleanup of the piping bag and no plastic waste!
You can custom color sprinkles with white sprinkles and food coloring. Put white sprinkles in a ziplock bag and a smidge of food coloring then shake shake and shake. Let it sit for a little bit before mixing it with other sprinkles to make a mix.
My tip: Buttercream works differently in warmer climates. I learned this hard way because I live in a humid and warm place. If a recipe calls for certain quantity, you may need to increase it, so it can stay firm in warmer climates. High ratio shortening may be needed. I personally haven’t used it in my buttercreams yet. Experiment with what works for your climate.
- For American Buttercream, you don’t actually need to sift the powdered sugar.
- Stir your buttercream with a wooden spoon to get the air bubbles out.
Using salted butter in American buttercream makes it extra delicious!
For sharp edges, a metal scraper is your best friend. Heat it for a final scrap.
Make meringue buttercreams quicker by placing ice packs around the bowl to cool it faster.
Color your frosting the night before you want to use it! It will result in a deeper color.
Always do a crumb coat on cakes.
To take the yellow out of buttercream, add a drop of violet gel coloring.
Airbrushing is an easy way to turn a white buttercream cake to black.
To get a white buttercream, add a little bit of purple gel color instead of adding a lot of white gel color.
When I make chocolate buttercream, I use half cocoa powder, half hot cocoa mix!
After you make SMBC, let your mixer run on medium-low for 5-8 minutes. Perfectly smooth! Works like a charm and you don’t have to work your arms!
A tip I read across baking blogs: Use egg white powder as a stabilizer if you live in a humid climate. Lessens the chance of getting hollows.
Undermixing the macarons is so much worse than overmixing. Don’t be afraid to mix.
Never undercharge yourself. Once you have quoted your price, stick to it.
Have confidence in yourself! My biggest setback has been my own confidence, especially with cake pricing! If the customer expects to get a $100+ for $50, maybe they shouldn’t be your customer. Know your worth and all of the time it takes to put into a cake is super important. If they can’t realize the time and effort to decorate, cleanup, plus the cost of the utilities, then there are always grocery store cakes.
Social Media Tips
My tip: Interact with other bakers on the social media (whether it is Instagram, Facebook, or social media of your preference) and you’ll find out that most of the bakers are willing to help and are friendly!
Make sure to save all of your work to Pinterest! It is really easy to do from Instagram.
Don’t compare yourself to other bakers on Instagram. Everyone started somewhere and has their own journey!
Know that your work is great. Don’t dwell on getting the likes, the comments, the followers. If you love baking and designing and you love what you make then that’s all that matters! Be confident in yourself and know that everyone is learning new things (even with thousands of followers!)
My photography tip: Buy a poster board or two for a white background. Set it on a table by where there is a lot of natural light. You would be doing yourself a disservice if your photos are dark and the cake is set on a counter under dark lighting. It doesn’t show how beautiful your cake is. A poster board can be immensely helpful in getting your cake to stand out. The cake I did above was set against a poster board taped on a folding board and the cake was also on another poster board on the table under a lot of natural light.
My Photo Editing tips: A photo editing software such as Adobe Lightroom and photo editing app such as Snapseed are very helpful to fix the color corrections and brighten your images up. Snapseed is a free app, so you can download it from your mobile App Store. The Adobe Lightroom has monthly plans from Adobe Cloud services and it can be $10 dollars or more per month depending on your preferences. You can download it on your phone and desktop. I personally use both Adobe Lightroom and Snapseed. They’re amazing!
The best tip I received was to always take photos using natural light.
Always take pictures in natural light! The cakes will be so much better looking.
Whenever I need inspiration, I look at wrapping paper/gift bags. Lots of colors and patterns.
Be creative, look outside of the cake world. What makes you stop and think it’s beautiful, fun, or amazing? It could be something as simple as a sunset or a curve of a line on a dress. Is it the colors, textures, contrast, silhouette or the lines that make it interesting? Play with the idea in your head and with your hands. How could you incorporate into your cakes? Free yourself to happy mistakes because it’s play after all.
Never be afraid to try something new and experiment with a new style. Push outside of your box. It breaks creative boundaries and it’s incredibly rewarding.
A HUGE thank you to all of the bakers who submitted these wonderful tips! It is much appreciated! <3
For more amazing cake inspiration, follow my Instagram!
For more cake resources (blogs, YouTube links, and etc) – go here.
Do you have a tip that you can share? Comment below!