Writing On Cakes

Decorating By crushed Updated 20 Mar 2011 , 12:41am by Coral3

crushed Posted 17 Mar 2011 , 1:32pm
post #1 of 29

I have to say that nothing is worse, IMO, than horrible writing on a beautifully decorated cake. It seems like people have forgotten how to use good penmanship...

Practice your writing before you put it on a cake, PLEASE!
And maybe while your at it, check the spelling.

28 replies
Marianna46 Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 3:46pm
post #2 of 29

I agree, and I have to say I can't pipe lettering worth a darn, so I usually use cutout letters or I form 3D letters from fondant. But I read a really good idea the other day on how to get perfect lettering: write you letters out in melted chocolate on a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap. You can put a pattern under the plastic so that you can go over the letters exactly. You can even have do-overs if they don't come out exactly right. Then, when they've set, you just pick them up and place them - carefully and well-spaced, of course - on the cake and there you go! Perfect writing every time! You can do this with royal icing, too, but RI letters are a lot more delicate to move around.

Unlimited Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 4:39pm
post #3 of 29

Having good penmanship is totally different from writing on a cakesome people can do it, and some can't. Some can have the most gorgeous handwriting, but they don't "forget" to use it on a cakethey simply aren't capable to convert a pen technique into squeezing a pastry bag with the right amount of pressure and control to achieve the desired result.

Practice might help, but sometimes "you can't teach an old dog a new trick", especially if they don't have the talent or aren't motivated enough to "fix" what they don't think is broken.

Has someone's lack of writing skills offended you? I would like to think that they did the best that they knew how to do and give them credit for at least trying it. Spell check is great, but we all make mistakesit's obvious that some people don't place a lot of importance on correct spelling and grammar.

Marianna46 Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 4:53pm
post #4 of 29

You can chalk this up to personal preference, but before I retired, part of my job was proof-reading manuscripts for publication, so I'm totally allergic to spelling mistakes, but I get that it's not everybody's thing. On the other hand, it seems to me that a decorated cake is something that you're doing your best to turn into a work of art in one way or another, so ugly writing there is in the same category as ugly roses or bad design - it's something that you would just as soon avoid if you can. And if you're selling your cakes, there is no excuse for it.

whisperingmadcow Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 5:13pm
post #5 of 29

**Hangs head in shame** I CAN NOT write well on cakes. I have really nice writing when I do it with a pen. But when you replace that pen with a piping bag, it all goes out the window. Thanks for the tip on the melted chocolate! I am going to try that the next time I need to fit a message in a small space!

Corrie76 Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 5:19pm
post #6 of 29

I agree that writing with a pen is so completely different from squeezing a pastry bag, also remember that there is the added difficulty of not being able to rest your hand on the cake like you would on a piece of paper. I have very horrible handwriting- on paper, but do decently enough on a cake, thankfully I've recently gotten some tappits so now my lettering on some cakes is just about perfect! icon_razz.gif
Some tips I've seen on CC that help with writing are:
-First write out your message on a piece of paper towel or wax paper to get an idea of the space you're going to need on the cake.
-write out the message in white (or if it's a colored cake the matching color) and then go over it in the color you want, that way little mistakes can be corrected on the second go around and it looks nice to have the lettering a little bit raised.
- use sewing thread to string across the cake to give you a visual straight line, while writing, to keep the lettering from slanting one way or the other- and then remove the string when done....I use a lightly draped paper towel to give me a guide, sometimes- I've had issues with getting light weight string to lay flat.
-use thinner consistency icing, add a little bit of corn syrup or piping gel to the icing before writing....(I almost never do this and wish I did every time!)
- keep a pocket dictionary in your caking "tool box"

There's lots of other great tips out there as well if you search around on the forums. When I worked at a grocery store bakery it used to drive me nuts when a customer would get a cake from the case and bring it back for someone to write on, and that someone was the color-blind, hung-over, teenage boy! I've seen lots of really nice cakes get totally ruined with horrible writing and bad color selection for sure!
As far as misspelling goes...at least it gives the Cake Wrecks people more fodder for their blog icon_lol.gif The other cake decorator at that bakery put quotes on everything she ever wrote on a cake! She thought it made the writing look classier...I even explained to her on several occasions that a lot of times, quotation marks make the messages seem sarcastic and may upset some customers...she kept doing it though icon_rolleyes.gif

FromScratchSF Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 6:30pm
post #7 of 29

<raises hand> I have spent house trying to write on cakes, I've tried every trick that I see, and no bueno. Some people just have a knack for it, some people don't. I'm a don't. It's the only reason I broke down and forked out the cash for a stupid Cricut, thinking I'd use it just for letters. Boy that was dumb, since the stupid thing takes forever to do anything with, but that's another thread icon_wink.gif

Jen

vtcake Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 6:56pm
post #8 of 29

"And maybe while your at it, check the spelling", says the OP

That should be 'while you're at it'

Gerle Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 7:01pm
post #9 of 29

I agree with the practice, practice, practice, but I can practice all I want and do a great job on the "practices"....but when it comes to actually doing it on the cake, I mess up every time! I'll have to go over the hints Corrie76 suggested as I have ALWAYS written crooked when I didn't have a line to write on top of!! And I do it on cakes as well! I'd love to be able to write messages on a cake without having to resort to tappits or something similar, but I may not have a choice!

FromScratchSF Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 7:25pm
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by vtcake

"And maybe while your at it, check the spelling", says the OP

That should be 'while you're at it'




Oh, SNAP! LMAO!!!! All in good fun, right? icon_biggrin.gif

Marianna46 Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 7:59pm
post #11 of 29

Thanks for the helpful hints, Corrie76. I especially like the one about writing the message out in the same color icing first. I'm going to try that one soon.

crushed Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 8:46pm
post #12 of 29

Thank you, thank you vtcake for catching my mistake. That's what I get for posting from my phone. icon_wink.gif

Corrie76 Posted 18 Mar 2011 , 9:06pm
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marianna46

Thanks for the helpful hints, Corrie76. I especially like the one about writing the message out in the same color icing first. I'm going to try that one soon.



I forgot to add that if you use this technique and you really mess up it's SOOOO much easier to fix when it's all the same color icing, no random smears or splotches of color if you have to resort to picking off a few letters to start over!

cheatize Posted 19 Mar 2011 , 1:28am
post #14 of 29

Decorating cookies has helped with my writing. It's not nearly perfect yet but I have much more control because of outlining cookies in Royal.

cakesbykitty Posted 19 Mar 2011 , 2:42am
post #15 of 29

if you have a printer... find the font and size you like and print it in reverse (mirror image/backwards). put that under a piece of parchment or waxed paper. trace the lettering with piping gel (it will be backwards) turn this over on your cake and GENTLY press it on. when you lift the paper the writing is correct way... just go over it now with your icing. This is how I did it for a long time until I just got the feel for piping. Hope it helps!

Kitty

cakeandpartygirl Posted 19 Mar 2011 , 2:53am
post #16 of 29

I use my kopykake projector when I do writing on cakes (I used it mostly when I did sheet cakes and now I don't do them as often) I print off a font I like put it in a projector and write away. For me that especially helps with the centering.

cmehend Posted 19 Mar 2011 , 3:19am
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbykitty

if you have a printer... find the font and size you like and print it in reverse (mirror image/backwards). put that under a piece of parchment or waxed paper. trace the lettering with piping gel (it will be backwards) turn this over on your cake and GENTLY press it on. when you lift the paper the writing is correct way... just go over it now with your icing. This is how I did it for a long time until I just got the feel for piping. Hope it helps!

Kitty




That is an awesome idea!

Marianna46 Posted 19 Mar 2011 , 4:02am
post #18 of 29

Yes, the piping gel idea sounds awesome, too. Here's hoping my writing on cakes will be improving very soon.

Unlimited Posted 19 Mar 2011 , 4:49am
post #19 of 29

If this thread was started as a rant, I understand if you had a personal experience purchasing a cake with poor writing on it. If not, I cannot agree with such a negative comment that could be said for any aspect of decorating, especially when everyone here is certainly attempting to do the best that they can. Everyone has different skill levels, and I do not see how it's productive to request that people practice any technique before they proudly put it on their cake. If they were ashamed of it, they probably wouldn't have posted it. Rather than posting negative comments, it might be well-received to share a tip to help those who may be struggling, if you have something positive to contribute to them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marianna46

...so ugly writing there is in the same category as ugly roses or bad design - it's something that you would just as soon avoid if you can. And if you're selling your cakes, there is no excuse for it.




I agreewe can all pick apart ugly roses, crooked or poorly iced cakes, etc. It is what it isunavoidable or not. (There are plenty of bakeries selling poorly decorated cakes, but they are still selling plenty of them! Perhaps the taste is the only thing important to their customers!)

crushed Posted 19 Mar 2011 , 4:58am
post #20 of 29

Unlimited, I'm sorry if the tone of my post was offensive to you. I am just a bit frustrated by how little care people can take in writing on their cakes. It almost seems like an afterthought when most of the time, it's the very first thing I see when I look at someone's cake.

Unlimited Posted 19 Mar 2011 , 6:22am
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by crushed

Unlimited, I'm sorry if the tone of my post was offensive to you. I am just a bit frustrated by how little care people can take in writing on their cakes. It almost seems like an afterthought when most of the time, it's the very first thing I see when I look at someone's cake.




It's probably the first thing I notice too, but I wouldn't let someone's cake cause me any frustration.

cakemaker2 Posted 19 Mar 2011 , 4:20pm
post #22 of 29

I use a laser level to make a line, so my writing is straight.

kakeladi Posted 19 Mar 2011 , 5:31pm
post #23 of 29

Wilton teaches (used to?) to write the message *before* placing decorations. this helps somewhat with spacing and making it blend into the decorations so it doesn't look like an after thought.

cakeandpartygirl Posted 19 Mar 2011 , 5:54pm
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

Wilton teaches (used to?) to write the message *before* placing decorations. this helps somewhat with spacing and making it blend into the decorations so it doesn't look like an after thought.




thumbs_up.gif I do that too!! It does make it look so much better.

crushed Posted 19 Mar 2011 , 6:34pm
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

Wilton teaches (used to?) to write the message *before* placing decorations. this helps somewhat with spacing and making it blend into the decorations so it doesn't look like an after thought.





Now that is a perfect idea! I'm going to have to start doing that. Thanks!! thumbs_up.gif

paoli96 Posted 19 Mar 2011 , 7:40pm
post #26 of 29

I changed my tip and it helped tremendously with my "on cake" writing. I have decent handwriting on paper but really struggled when using a "round" tip for writing.

I purchased a Calligraphy tip and it has made this task much easier!

Just thought I'd share.

paoli96
http://lemiecosefavorites.blogspot.com

Bakingangel Posted 19 Mar 2011 , 8:56pm
post #27 of 29

[quote="paoli96"]I changed my tip and it helped tremendously with my "on cake" writing. I have decent handwriting on paper but really struggled when using a "round" tip for writing.

I purchased a Calligraphy tip and it has made this task much easier!

Is it a Wilton tip? If so, what is the number? If not, who is it made by?

I put just enough icing in the bag to easily hold. It helps eliminate the squiggles thumbs_up.gif

cakesrock Posted 20 Mar 2011 , 12:18am
post #28 of 29

I have lousy writing OFF and ON the cake, so don't even try anymore. I appreciate the tips (melted choc and reverse image) and may try some of them. I usually use fondant letters and the imprint ones. But for some reason, I can write messages in paint, much better than writiing with icing - go figure...And I do better with edible markers too. More control, I guess.
Any other suggestions for writing messages on a small space (like a cookie)?? Fondant cut-outs are just too big.

Coral3 Posted 20 Mar 2011 , 12:41am
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

<raises hand> I have spent house trying to write on cakes, I've tried every trick that I see, and no bueno. Some people just have a knack for it, some people don't. I'm a don't. It's the only reason I broke down and forked out the cash for a stupid cricut, thinking I'd use it just for letters. Boy that was dumb, since the stupid thing takes forever to do anything with, but that's another thread icon_wink.gif

Jen




I very nearly did the same thing! So glad I didn't. When the Cricut Cake first came out I really wanted one, but just for lettering (because I cant pipe text to save myself), and in the end I couldn't justify the expense when that would be all I'd use it for. So I stuck with my Tappits, Jem letter cutters and Clickstix. The more I read about people's hassles with the Cricut the happier I am that I refrained! And Ive got the knack for tappits now, so it takes me no time at all to whip them out and cut out what I need if I were using a Cricut I think itd take me that long just to get it out & plugged in ready to go. (Plus it would've taken up a whole hunk of cupboard space I don't have. icon_rolleyes.gif )

I do agree that wonky piped text can ruin an otherwise beautifully decorated cake. But to each their own. Im sure there are many decorators who view the alternatives to hand-piped writing as cheating, and those people would probably rather have hand-piped text, even if its not perfect.

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