Is there a trick to piping on the side of a cake? Is there a way to tilt the cake so that you are not working totally vertical? I'm new to this and am trying to work on the piping skills but it's not looking real good. I can't seem to find any video tutorials on this or even dvd's at my library. Thanks for any tips (no pun intended!).
If you have a turntable that tilts that will help; but for very large cakes I don't trust mine. I usually just place it on the counter top and try to sit on a stool that will put me a little lower. I also like to use a laser level from my husband's tools, to beam a line across the area where I'm writing. Helps greatly in keeping it straight. Hope that helps some.
Laser levels are awesome tools for cake decorating. A friend recently came back from Afghanistan and will be headed back with in the next month. I called him out to the kitchen where I was caking and I said, "Dude, watch this! Lasers can be used for more then finding targets!"
I was using the laser to make a straight line to write the greeting on the cake. If you have two laser levels, you can make a cross hair to find the very center of the cake and to center other decorations.
I also rest the cake on the table and grab a stool.
Another thing I do to make piping easier on the sides of cakes is to thin the icing down with one or two tablespoons of corn syrup.
The best tip I ever got was from Jason Ellis at the class after the OSSAS. He braces his piping arm on something solid.
He sets his cake on the turntable and sets his elbow on something that is about the right height....say a stack of books, or even just the table if that is right...he also braces his hand against his head or shoulder or something to steady himself.
I tried it and it helps. The main thing is practice and becoming at ease with what you are doing.
Raise that cake up, higher, higher !!!!
Put the cake on a turntable then put both onto something near the same or larger diameter - like a Crisco can. In other words get that cake side up to eye level OR put the can on the turntable w/the cake on it - either way works just so you get that cake to eye level.
You can also wedge something small in between the cake board and your turntable so the cake is on a slight angle. I used a banana the other day! lol
I use the techniques like kakeladi and erin. I've put my turntable on a crisco can to elevate it to eye level. I've also put the cake on the turntable (a piece on non-skid material under the cake), then wedged a towel under one side of the turntable to put it at an angle.
Both work very well.
If I had to pick just one, it works best for me to elevate the cake to eye level. I then get a shorter chair/stool to pull up the counter. All of thise helps with fatigue, muscle and back pain. (But I'm old and I HAVE to watch out for this stuff!)
Thanks for the tips. I will try these and keep practicing. I look for any time and opportunity to make a small cake and practice something new. I see some people's piping and am in awe. Maybe someday....
one tip I would like to share is about a common 'mistake' folks make when first doing piping (or writing). I did it and had to unlearn it. Moving "slow and careful" is NOT the best method. Move your whole arm .... not just your wrist or hand .... in a fluid motion. Quickly, with icing that flows well. makes a big diff! If you move slow, your hand/arm tends to shake and that shakiness shows up in the design.