This past year I decided to get into baking. I decided I was no longer going to be the person that runs into the grocery store on my way to a potluck to pick up a bag of two-bite brownies and some bakery cupcakes after I’ve been asked to “bring dessert”. However, I quickly realized that there is a lot more to baking than eggs and flour. Though I find the actual baking portion reasonable, I find the decorating part complicated and daunting. I quickly realized that the key to decorating cakes like a pro is using the right equipment. By using the right accessories, cake decorating will go from a complicated task to a breeze!
Get an idea and a plan
Once you’ve decided to make a cake, you have to decide on a theme and a design. What’s the occasion? Do you want writing on it or just decorations? What equipment do you have? How much time do you have?
A great way to settle on a cake design is to find inspiration from a cake decorating book like The Wilton School book Decorating Cakes: A Reference & Idea Book. This book will teach you how to decorate cakes in a variety of ways at various levels of difficulty. It will also tell you what supplies you will need, which is really useful when you’re just getting started.
Set the scene
Once you’ve baked the cake, it’s important to get you and your cake fully set up before you embark on your cake decoration because once you’ve started, it’s hard to move the cake without ruining the icing. After your cake has cooled, I would recommend putting your cake on a cake circle (check out this cake circle pack from Wilton). Having your cake on a cake circle gives it stability and allows it to be moved easily, making it handy for the decorating process but also for when you have to take your decorated cake to a party or event.
If you do feel as though you want to become committed to cake decorating, you may benefit from investing in a cake turntable. A cake turntable like the Wilton Trim n’ Turn Cake Turntable allows you to turn the cake with complete control so you can smoothly do any trim. If you are interested in doing more details or writing, you may prefer to invest in the Wilton Tilt n’ Turn Ultra 12” Rotating Cake Stand. This stand can tilt at 18 different angles to allow you get to hard to reach places and the non-slip grip keeps the cake from sliding.
Now that you’ve got the cake set up and ready to go, it’s time to get decorating!
There are many different types of cake decorating tools based on the type of icing you decide to use. Most cakes are decorated with two main types of icing: a hard, smooth icing, like fondant or royal icing, or a soft, malleable icing like butter cream, cream cheese icing or frosting. Different types of icing require different types of tools.
The benefit of a hard icing, like fondant, is that it can be rolled out and then put on the cake, resulting in a smooth, matte covering over the cake. It also seals in the moisture of the cake. When decorating using a hard icing, you can cover the cake with a fondant and do the fine details with a softer icing, or you can use a fondant base and then add more fondant in various shapes or letters to give the cake detail.
If you’re just beginning to enter the world of fondant, you would most likely benefit from a starter kit like the Wilton Ready-To-Use Rolled Fondant Kit. It contains instructions on how to knead, roll out and lift fondant. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can upgrade to the Wilton Fondant & Gum Paste Decorating Set, which is a far more extensive decorating set with forming cups and shapes. You can pair either of these kits with the Wilton Ribbon Fondant Cutter to give your cakes an even more unique design. You can also use something like a fondant mold or imprint mat.
The benefit of soft icing, like butter cream, is that you can use it for filling and frosting the cake. The malleability of this icing also means that it can be squeezed into small shapes and designs to give your cake a unique design. If you are just getting started with butter cream icing, a starter kit like the Wilton Beginning Buttercream Decorating Set will be just what you need. This set comes with various icing tips that allow you to do anything from make petals on a flower to pipe the edges of your cake.
The Wilton Icing Colour Kit will let you add a wide range of colours to your frosting and decorations to give your cake a unique look and design. Something like the Wilton Icing Bag and Flower Holder (and Wilton Disposable Decorating Bags) is also handy as it gives you a place to store your different coloured icings while you use them and also has nail grips so you can easily make and hold flowers.
If you’re interested in getting into both icing types, it might be a better idea for you to invest in the Wilton Ultimate Decorating Set. This is the big kahuna of cake decorating sets! This kit has 177 pieces including icing tips and bags, a fondant cutting set, a dusting pouch and spatulas.
Get it to where it needs to go
After all the work you’ve just put in to flawlessly decorating your cake, it’s important to have something to get it to the party in! Without a proper carry case, it will only take one jostle for all your hard work to completely ruined. When traveling with my creations, I like something simple like the Wilton Round Cake Caddy. The bottom is sturdy and the lid is spacious enough to fit even a larger cake without ruining the decoration.
Whether you’re hosting the event or bringing your cake to someone else’s house, invest in a cake pedestal so you can show off your creation. You can either go with something simple like the Tannex Square Cake Pedestal, or if you think you’ll be showing off multiple baked goods, you may think about buying something like the Wilton 3 Tier Cake n’ More Stand.
Keep organized and avoid clutter
Cake decorating pieces are small and numerous. It doesn’t take much for pieces to get lost and your kitchen to get cluttered! Keep your cake decorating equipment organized and out of the way with the Wilton Tool Caddy.
Getting into baking and cake decorating can be a daunting task. However, having the right tools can quickly get you from buying desserts at the grocery store to decorating cakes like a pro!