Newbie Cake Tips

Decorating By alaurence Updated 25 Jul 2008 , 8:49pm by alaurence

alaurence Posted 24 Jul 2008 , 1:47pm
post #1 of 16

I apologize if this is covered somewhere else, but I've dug through the forum for days without the answers I'm really looking for.

I'm a part-time caterer and would like to start doing wedding cakes as well. I've got the Wilton round and square cake pans in the 3 inch and the 101 piece decorating kit to start off. I'm going to take some decorating classes, but for now, I'm just looking at buttercream, no fondant.

First question - are there any other MUST HAVES?

Second - for stacked and tiered cakes, what is the best white and chocolate cake recipes? I know its subjective, but I want to make sure the recipes not only taste good, but can stand up to the weight. I know fondant cakes need a firmer cake, like a pound cake.

Third - if you could only give one piece of advice to someone starting out, what would it be?

I need all the help I can get. Thanks. icon_smile.gif

15 replies
LeckieAnne Posted 24 Jul 2008 , 2:54pm
post #2 of 16

Start with this recipe - it's really, really good - and has lots of flavor variations. Also - the regular vanilla recipe with mini-chocolate chips is a favorite of mine.

If you're going to bake 3" high layers - you're going to need a leveler to split/torte your layers.

Also, I'd recommend checking out the cake decorating videos on youtube.

alaurence Posted 24 Jul 2008 , 6:33pm
post #3 of 16

My cake kit did come with a leveler so I can torte.

Was there a recipe attached in your message that I missed somehow?


LeckieAnne Posted 24 Jul 2008 , 6:49pm
post #4 of 16

Nope! I'm a dork and forgot to paste the link! icon_smile.gif

Sorry! Here you go...

cassi_g16 Posted 24 Jul 2008 , 7:41pm
post #5 of 16

Patience..... That's my one word! And for someone who is just beginning I would recommend a High density foam roller. they are found in the paint department at walmart or hardware stores. They were an invaluable tool when I frist started out. You use them on crusting butter cream...I would suggest buttercream dream found in the recipe section. After the buttercream has crusted use light stokes to finish smoothing out the cake.

LeckieAnne Posted 24 Jul 2008 , 8:21pm
post #6 of 16

Can you do borders, flowers, roses, etc. with the buttercream dream recipe? It obviously must crust - because you mentioned it.


angelcakes5 Posted 24 Jul 2008 , 8:31pm
post #7 of 16

I think the best tip I learned was using Viva paper towels for smoothing buttercream cakes. People think that its fondant, and its not!

cassi_g16 Posted 24 Jul 2008 , 8:33pm
post #8 of 16

Oh yes you can. I was saying it must crust to use the roller method. You can't use this method with IMBC or SMBC

sweetenedcakes Posted 24 Jul 2008 , 8:42pm
post #9 of 16

hi! How can you use viva towels; you have to wait to be crusted the buttercream, right?

sari66 Posted 24 Jul 2008 , 8:50pm
post #10 of 16
Originally Posted by sweetenedcakes

hi! How can you use viva towels; you have to wait to be crusted the buttercream, right?

First off welcome sweetenedcakes and the answer is yes!

ponderiffic Posted 24 Jul 2008 , 8:53pm
post #11 of 16

I think that a cake turner is a must have item. It really helps move the cake to where you want it so its easier to decorate.

As far as recipes go, I LOVE the "darn good chocolate cake" recipe from The Cake Mix Doctor book. I get tons of compliments on this every time I make one.

My best advice for starting out is resist the urge to splurge. Once I got started with my classes I just couldn't stop myself from buying more and more cake supplies. Although if you do catch the cake decorating bug, make sure you find coupons and use them frequently.

alaurence Posted 25 Jul 2008 , 3:56pm
post #12 of 16

So if I use a crusting buttercream to ice the cake, do I use the same icing for scrollwork? Maybe add more meringue powder first? Or should I use royal icing?

Do you typically freehand scrollwork or do any of you use the templates you press into the side? I'd be afraid the icing would pull away with the template.

robinleah Posted 25 Jul 2008 , 4:08pm
post #13 of 16

I am still learning. for scroll work I use both a template and free hand. I haven't tried the viva mehod but I have tried Melvira's roller method. I like it a lot. I agree with ponderiffic rest the urge to sluge unless really needed. I fell into that trap and now I am really selective or try to be. I still have a weakness for books.

LeckieAnne Posted 25 Jul 2008 , 4:13pm
post #14 of 16

I use the same icing - you ice your cake with thin - so just save out some of your icing in medium consistency for the scroll work before you thin it out.

I do scroll work both ways (with and without the template) - you just press the template in very lightly to leave a indent - the icing will not pull away if you've let it crust.

liapsim Posted 25 Jul 2008 , 4:16pm
post #15 of 16

My advice would be to practice your scroll work on parchment paper before you do your cake so you know what your design needs to be and it will be smooth.

Also, a pastry scraper comes in real handy when icing cakes!

alaurence Posted 25 Jul 2008 , 8:49pm
post #16 of 16

I've read a couple posts that mention getting putty or mud spatulas for smoothing icing. Is that the home depot version of a pastry spatula?

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