Tips for Making a Cake
Making a cake can be a fun project, but it can also turn into a frustrating mess when things don’t seem to go your way (at least that I know things don’t always go my way). Here are a few simple steps and tips to help your experience run a little smoother.
Baking your Cake
-Make sure you fully grease the bottom of your cake pan. (When your cake is done baking you will flip it upside down and you want a smooth surface.)
-Before you bake your cake make sure your oven is fully preheated and your cake is on the middle rack. You also don’t want to overload your oven with a lot of pans, so your cake cooks evenly.
-To see if your cake is done baking stick a toothpick inside and pull it out. If there is a little cake stuck on the toothpick it is not quite done. If your toothpick comes out clean then it is ready.
Preparing your Cake
-If your cake has a large bump in the middle take a serrated knife and slowly cut off the top, so your cake is more flat. Now flip your cake upside down on a cookie sheet or wherever you would like to keep it.
-Stick wax paper underneath the sides of the cake to help eliminate a mess when frosting. When you are all done you can slide the paper out and toss.
Picking your Frosting
-You can make your own frosting or buy it from the grocery store. There are plenty of recipes out there if you are interested in making your own. Here are a few different types of frosting:
Buttercream is the most popular frosting used. This smooth frosting can also be used for fillings and can have a variety of tastes. If your cake will be sitting outside or in a warmer temperature you might want to go with a fondant frosting to eliminate any chance of the frosting melting.
Fondant is becoming more popular and trendy. It is typically made of sugar, water and cream of tarter. After this frosting is cooked and cooled down, it is then kneaded and rolled out. After the frosting is rolled out it is put over the cake and smoothed out to give your cake a smooth look. This frosting is a little sweeter than buttercream and a lot thicker. It creates a matte finish coating on the cake. This frosting provides a very fun finish but is harder to cut. These cakes usually cost a little more than buttercream cakes and hold up better in various weather conditions.
Whipped frosting is a very light frosting. Even though this can be a popular choice you need to be careful when using it, because it does not stand up to heat very well.
Frosting the Cake
-Keep your frosting at room temperature; if it is cool it will be hard to spread.
-After your cake has cooled, put on a “crumb coat”. This is simply a thin layer of frosting on yo ur entire cake. Then stick your cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. This will help the frosting set and lock any loose crumbs into place.
-After your crumb coat is set, frost the rest of your cake and stick it back in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to help set up the frosting. Then heat up your spatula by dipping it in a cup of hot water and then drying it off. Now you can go over your cake one more time, evening out your frosting a little better.
Decorating your Cake
-Now if you are interested in adding more to your cake, here are some things you can do:
-Stencils – When using stencils it helps if your cake is cooled so your stencils do not stick to your cake. You can use spray coloring, powder sugar or sprinkles for your stencils.
-Spray Coloring – This coloring allows you to add many different colors to your cake by spraying them on. You can use stencils to help make your design or free hand.
-Edible Markers – You can find these at most grocery stores with their frostings. They work just like a marker; you can draw fun designs onto your cake.
-Edible Sugar Decorations – There are a many different edible decorations made from sugar to help compliment your cake.
-Small Plastic Toys – There are a number of small toys you can use on a cake, from plastic animals to hot wheel cars.
-Frosting/Icing – There are many different frosting tips that can be used in creating many different effects on your cake. Practice on a paper plate if you are new at using them.
-Nuts and Candy – Nuts and candy can help add nice touches to your cake.