Most bakers and pastry chefs, whether newbie or professional, put a lot of effort into creating the perfect cake. They choose the best ingredients, combine delicious flavors, and follow recipes to the T to create a base that is moist, sufficiently dense, not overly sweet, and melts in the mouth.
Since the base is the largest and most filling part of the cake, bakers won’t be faulted for focusing on this element. However, since nearly everyone also eats with their eyes, it is also important to put the same effort into making the treat beautiful and appealing.
This means decorating the cake to turn it into a lovely work of art.
Being an expert in decorating cakes creatively and artistically is the first step in producing baked treats that capture people’s attention and please the eye.
Signing up for a cake decorating training program can help you learn and master the different techniques for making decorative pieces out of sugar, fondant, gum paste, and cream. Once you have mastered these skills, you can create sweet, edible works of art that meet your customer’s expectations.
Moreover, with your decorating skills, you will be able to produce cakes that you can be proud of and impress everyone, whether you are a professional pastry chef or a baker by hobby.
Cake Decorating Techniques to Master
Below are six cake decorating techniques you can learn when you take up the right training program:
1. Preparing the base
One of the most important skills you need to learn and master in a cake decorating class is creating a smooth frosting base.
If you want to have a great-looking cake, you need to have an even frosting base. Doing so allows you to have a smooth canvas that can help you create your works of art and hold them in place.
To make a cake that looks professionally made, create a crumb coat first. This step also helps prevent crumbs from separating from the frosting.
To smoothen the base, spread a thin layer of frosting over the cake using a warm spatula. Once done, chill the cake for 15 minutes to let the frosting set.
After 15 minutes, apply another layer of frosting. Use a cake turntable to create a smooth finish.
2. Piping buttercream
Buttercream continues to be a favorite cake and cupcake topping. It is one of the easiest types of frosting you can work with as a newbie baker.
Under an expert, you will learn different piping techniques that will allow you to decorate cakes beautifully. Some of the shapes you have to create using this method are:
Swirl drop flowers
Grass and fur
In a cake decorating class, you will learn about the different piping tips and how to use them properly. You will also be trained to use other tools to improve your designs.
Finally, under this program, you will be taught to create the different types of buttercream frosting, which include classic or simple, rolled, meringue, and French.
3. Piping royal icing
Royal icing is another type of icing that is popularly used for piping designs on cakes.
Unlike buttercream, royal icing is hard and brittle. Because of this, it is a more difficult ingredient to work with. However, with the right patisserie class, you can be an expert in using this type of frosting.
Under the program, you will learn how to make royal icing with the perfect consistency. You will practice different piping techniques, including texturing, over-piping, and advanced reverse and anti-gravitational drop-string designs.
Additionally, you will be trained in using the essential tools for piping and designing cakes with royal icing.
4. Applying sugar paste
Fondant, or sugar paste, is a popular decorating element in modern cakes. It can be molded into various shapes and designs. Moreover, it creates a flawless, uniform layer that instantly completes your baked treat.
Under the right training program, you will learn how to create traditional and marshmallow fondants. Additionally, you will learn how to prepare it to make it easy to work with and use to decorate your cakes.
You will also master these techniques for decorating cakes with fondant:
Creating a basket weave
Embossing and texturing to create fabric appearance
Making drapes, frills, and crimps
Creating fondant figures
5. Creating sugar flowers
Flowers are staple decorative pieces in numerous types of cakes. They are great for customizing your baked treats and making them more vibrant, colorful, and appealing.
Aside from piping buttercream and molding fondant to create them, you can use sugar to make these beautiful edible decorative items.
When you take up a cake decorating class, you will learn how to create both edible and non-edible sugar flowers. You will also develop skills in making them manually and with the use of specially designed cutters.
Lastly, you will also be an expert in creating focal or centerpiece and filler flowers. You will also learn how to color and paint them to produce realistic and eye-catching floral pieces for cakes.
6. Cake writing
Whether you are an amateur or professional baker, people will expect you to be proficient in writing dedications and other messages on cakes. As such, this is a skill you have to master in a cake decorating class.
You will learn how to pipe words in cursive and block letters. You will also be taught how to choose the right piping tips so that you can create the best-looking texts and how to space the letterings properly.
Additionally, you will be taught other techniques that can help you become an expert in cake writing. You will also be given opportunities to practice inscribing different fonts so that you can become more confident about handling this part of cake decorating.
The right cake decorating training program also allows students to master the use of different tools and equipment and using the best ingredients. Moreover, they are given opportunities to practice everything they learn inside the kitchen, which is always an excellent training ground for newbie bakers.
Additionally, the best training providers teach students valuable techniques and methods for handling the business side of baking.
If you are looking for a training provider offering cake decorating classes, make sure you choose one that provides these learning experiences and has qualified instructors who can help you become a versatile baker or pastry chef and achieve more in the field of baking.
Shanaaz Raja is the Course Director at International Centre for Culinary Arts - ICCA Dubai.