When I make a cake I want it to be creative, fun, and easy. I only make cakes on birthdays, so for me that is four times a year for my four kids. I don't want to have to run out and buy all sorts of cake molds, frosting tips, frosting bags, etc. I do not use fondant because I think it is gross and I want my cakes to takes good. This is what I use to decorate:
Yep. That's it. I bake my cakes in circle pans, bundt pans, 9x13 pans and sometimes other random things I already have.
Here are some tips I have had to learn the hard way.
Carving the cake
Always let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan. Then freeze it! You don't want it frozen all the way, so if you put it in overnight like I do sometimes, then let it thaw slightly. Having the cake frozen makes it so much easier to cut. I use a steak knife. Any small serrated knife will do. In most cases it is best to make a pattern of what you are going to cut. I use card stock since it holds up a little better. Also, if your cake comes out with a dome top and you want it flat, cut it off and then flip the cake over so the smooth bottom is now the top.
After you have carved the cake (if you are going to) then you spread a thin layer of frosting all over. It will look terrible. That is kind of the point, believe it or not. You are just trying to get those pesky crumbs "glued" to the cake Then you put the cake in the fridge or freezer for awhile until the frosting sets up. Then you can frost it with out having crumbs everywhere and get a nice smooth finish.
I really only use baggies. I cut one of the corners off with scissors. If I need tiny detail, I cut a tiny bit off. If I need it bigger, I cut more off. It is that easy. And I always have them! Candy is good to add fun detail to a cake. I don't use candy very often. I do most of the detail in frosting. It is just my personal preference. I like things simple. Over decorated cakes, whether it be in frosting or candy, annoy me.
I put my finished cake on a cookie sheet or pizza stone covered in tin foil not because it is the prettiest option, but because it is what I have. I know that you can buy white cardboard squares and circles at bakeries. If the tin foil bothers you, this might be a good option. In the past I have also used ply wood that I have painted a coordinating color. That is a good idea if you have more than one cake and they all go together.
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