Writing Always Looks Horrible

Decorating By goof9j Updated 27 Jun 2015 , 7:44am by Unlimited

goof9j Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 2:09pm
post #1 of 25

Hi Team,

Any helpful hints to get writing on my cakes to look professional.  I always seem to mess this up.

Thanks in advance


Jenny

24 replies
Webake2gether Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 3:11pm
post #2 of 25

Everything I've read says to use the same handwriting you would if your were writing on paper. Writing on a cake is my least favorite thing to do I'm always a nervous wreck and once it's on there it's on there and I get myself all worked up over it. My husband tells me "just make sure you're spelling is accurate and go for it" usually that helps and I take a deep breath and just do it. I've not mastered it by any means but for me just approaching it like I'm writing on paper and not focusing on it too much helps me.  Every chance I get to use fondant letters or edible markers I do that instead lol :) 

goof9j Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 3:17pm
post #3 of 25

I'm with you there.  You can't rest your hand on the cake, like you do when writing on paper.  I hate figuring out the spacing.  It usually comes out a mess.  Thanks for your reply.



Love2bake910 Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 3:20pm
post #4 of 25

I too dislike writing on cakes. What has helped me is to use good pressure on the bag and keep the icing flowing so that the letters don't break. I also like to use a little piping gel in my icing just for writing. 

Marie0616 Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 3:35pm
post #5 of 25

I always move the cake to a lower counter to write...I'm height challenged to begin with! This seems to help with the pressure control.

kadeebo Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 4:00pm
post #6 of 25

I believe that writing is the most difficult part of cake decorating. So I rarely do it. For fun cakes, I have a small arsenal of letter cutters in various sizes & fonts. For mor elegant cakes, I use my edible printer and make make name placards or ribbons. By using the computer/printer, the possibilies are endless. If I don't have the exact font I'm looking for, I go to www.dafont.com or www.fontspace.com and download free fonts. 

Pastrybaglady Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 4:26pm
post #7 of 25

I find this to be one of the most stressful things mostly because of the spacing.  For a long time I couldn't bring myself to do it so I would use melted chocolate on wax paper and transfer it to the cake when it was hard.  I could do and redo a.letter or word as much as I wanted and then slide it around on the cake until I got what I wanted.  It's hard to get everything centered just right when you're writing directly on the cake.  I started drawing with a skewer on the cake first and then tracing with icing.  That helped.  If you don't like your writing try practicing with wax paper over a printed font you like to learn the motion.  Also we think writing on cake should be in cursive.  It doesn't have to be. Wicked Goodies has some really nice examples of different fonts to try.

Webake2gether Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 4:30pm
post #8 of 25

Another thing I do when practicing is I trace on wax paper the size of cake I'm doing and sometimes the actual fondant decorations I'm using or sketch where I'm placing decorations on the cake onto the wax paper and practice with old icing what will be written on the cake on wax paper. It's a little bit of extra work but when I'm staring the cake down getting ready to write on it at least I've got an idea of where to start. Plus you can wipe the icing off and practice some more :) it's been awhile since I've done that and completely forgot that I practice on wax paper. 

Jedi Knight Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 4:34pm
post #9 of 25

Are you writing with a brush/pen or are you piping?


Both methods take LOADS of practice (ten thousand hours).

Have you thought about using gumpaste and letter cutters?

Unlimited Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 6:25pm
post #10 of 25

I love writing with icing!  It helps to watch others doing it--I made a video:

http://s984.photobucket.com/user/Unlimited1cakes/media/20090626_230925.mp4.html?o=1

Pastrybaglady Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 7:08pm
post #11 of 25

Whoa Unlimited, you have crazy skills.  You have clearly been doing this for a long time!  I haven't seen simultaneous writing and decorating the way you do before.  Amazing!

mccantsbakes Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 7:22pm
post #12 of 25

I read somewhere to outline your script with a toothpick first then pipe over the toothpick marks.   

I deplore writing on cakes for the reason that my piping skills are not my strongest area.  

Whiteflower1 Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 7:54pm
post #13 of 25

This is one of the most commonly asked questions in the classes I teach. Writing in frosting takes lots of skill and practice. We can usually train employees to decorate our style of cakes in months, but takes years for thrm to feel fully comfortable writing on cakes. Here are some tips:

always use a 2 or 3 tip-anything larger looks clunky

writing in capital print is the cleanest, easiest way for beginners  I find that it is cursive style writing that stresses our employes out the most

cursive writing can be enhanced by practicing your scroll work skills

lower the cake off the turntable when you write on it

plan b: cut out a shaped sugar disc out of fondant and use food markers

good luck!! Practice practice practice!!!

-Marianne

The White Flower Cake Shoppe

 




jgifford Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 10:36pm
post #14 of 25

I have beautiful handwriting (so modest, I know) but my piping looks like a 2 year-old got loose with Mom's lipstick.

I don't do scrolls or borders and certainly not writing if there's ANY way around it. I have been known to redo the "Happy Birthday" several times on the same cake for my grandkids. I have practiced until I'm blue in the face, but there hasn't seemed to be any improvement over the years. So I've finally accepted the horrible truth that I won't ever be able to do all the beautiful string work and Lambeth and the perfect writing and I guess I'm okay with that.

But it's not all bad - - I've been known to come up with some unusual cakes in order not to have to do any piping.  : ) 

Webake2gether Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 10:42pm
post #15 of 25


Quote by @jgifford on 36 seconds ago

I have beautiful handwriting (so modest, I know) but my piping looks like a 2 year-old got loose with Mom's lipstick.

I don't do scrolls or borders and certainly not writing if there's ANY way around it. I have been known to redo the "Happy Birthday" several times on the same cake for my grandkids. I have practiced until I'm blue in the face, but there hasn't seemed to be any improvement over the years. So I've finally accepted the horrible truth that I won't ever be able to do all the beautiful string work and Lambeth and the perfect writing and I guess I'm okay with that.

But it's not all bad - - I've been known to come up with some unusual cakes in order not to have to do any piping.  : ) 

I can't pipe a border to save my life!! I did my husbands birthday cake all by myself doing all the work including what he normally does and I used a Wilton 18 tip (I'm pretty sure) and piped a border with that. I used crystal sprinkles and thankfully that helped to take your eye away from the fact I did a border with a star tip lol. It turned out good but definitely not going to do borders anytime soon ;) I make it taste good my husband makes them pretty!!!

lndyhpgrl Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 10:49pm
post #16 of 25

I've never subscribed to writing with a toothpick first. It still ruins the icing finish if I'm not happy with the spacing, etc.


I have found 2 things that work well for me. If I'm really worried about the spacing, I take a piece of paper the size of the space I'll be piping on and write on that first so I can get a sense of size and how it will fit.

The other trick someone told me which helps greatly is to figure out the midpoint of your writing, place that letter in the center first, and then go to each side from there. Works great for me.

Unlimited Posted 24 Jun 2015 , 1:58am
post #17 of 25


Quote by @Pastrybaglady on 6 hours ago

Whoa Unlimited, you have crazy skills.  You have clearly been doing this for a long time!  I haven't seen simultaneous writing and decorating the way you do before.  Amazing!

Thank you so much!

Apti Posted 24 Jun 2015 , 3:51am
post #18 of 25

I really wanted to post a photo of a recent 12x12x4 buttercream square cake done for my Pastor's retirement, but this &%$#@ CC site doesn't have any way to post photos anymore.  (major whining......)

Anyway, I was SO proud of the way I pulled off the 12x12x4 square cake with alternating layers of red velvet and sour cream white.  I got exactly 72 servings from the cake (per the Wilton chart).  The fondant doves, vines and leaves looked fabulous.  This was a $6+ a serving quality cake. (IF I sold cakes...)  Then...... I wrote on it.     AAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!

It should have been simple.  I even practiced on wax paper first for the spacing.  I have wonderful hand writing.  The buttercream cake was a gorgeous canvas that only needed the phrase:  With Love to Both of You!  Your Flock

Did I print?   Noooooo.... I wrote in cursive.  (Banging head on wall.)  It was ok, not hideous, but then...... I didn't like the F in flock.  I tried to correct the F. 

There's a reason it's called an F word (if I can say that about a Pastor's cake....)

The next evening was monthly meeting of the San Diego Cake Club where a very accomplished member presented a demo on using tappits and Windsor Clikstix to make fondant letters and numbers.   I went right home and ordered Clikstix online.  IF ONLY I'd used Clikstix it would have been consistent for a cake good enough to sell for $6-$7 a serving.  I have vowed to NEVER EVER take the shortcut and do piping writing again.  EVER.  I've been well and truly scarred. 

Of course, no one but me noticed and everyone thought the cake was lovely. 


mccantsbakes Posted 24 Jun 2015 , 5:54am
post #19 of 25


Quote by @lndyhpgrl on 6 hours ago

I've never subscribed to writing with a toothpick first. It still ruins the icing finish if I'm not happy with the spacing, etc.


I have found 2 things that work well for me. If I'm really worried about the spacing, I take a piece of paper the size of the space I'll be piping on and write on that first so I can get a sense of size and how it will fit.

The other trick someone told me which helps greatly is to figure out the midpoint of your writing, place that letter in the center first, and then go to each side from there. Works great for me.


I read the toothpick thing somewhere....tried it once, screwed it up and figured that it was just my inept skills.  Glad I am not the only one who it didn't cure writing issues with.   


I thought I would suggest it since it *sounds* like a perfect aid in theory.  

I think I will try your  suggestions

mccantsbakes Posted 24 Jun 2015 , 6:01am
post #20 of 25


Quote by @Apti on 2 hours ago

I really wanted to post a photo of a recent 12x12x4 buttercream square cake done for my Pastor's retirement, but this &%$#@ CC site doesn't have any way to post photos anymore.  (major whining......)

Anyway, I was SO proud of the way I pulled off the 12x12x4 square cake with alternating layers of red velvet and sour cream white.  I got exactly 72 servings from the cake (per the Wilton chart).  The fondant doves, vines and leaves looked fabulous.  This was a $6+ a serving quality cake. (IF I sold cakes...)  Then...... I wrote on it.     AAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!

It should have been simple.  I even practiced on wax paper first for the spacing.  I have wonderful hand writing.  The buttercream cake was a gorgeous canvas that only needed the phrase:  With Love to Both of You!  Your Flock

Did I print?   Noooooo.... I wrote in cursive.  (Banging head on wall.)  It was ok, not hideous, but then...... I didn't like the F in flock.  I tried to correct the F. 

There's a reason it's called an F word (if I can say that about a Pastor's cake....)

The next evening was monthly meeting of the San Diego Cake Club where a very accomplished member presented a demo on using tappits and Windsor Clikstix to make fondant letters and numbers.   I went right home and ordered Clikstix online.  IF ONLY I'd used Clikstix it would have been consistent for a cake good enough to sell for $6-$7 a serving.  I have vowed to NEVER EVER take the shortcut and do piping writing again.  EVER.  I've been well and truly scarred. 

Of course, no one but me noticed and everyone thought the cake was lovely. 


This had me cracking up.   

You are a great story teller APTI 

mental note check out clikstix

TicTac521 Posted 24 Jun 2015 , 12:56pm
post #21 of 25

I dislike writing on cakes so if I have to write, I do it on the cake board so if I screw it up, I can just wipe it off and try again.

810whitechoc Posted 25 Jun 2015 , 11:18am
post #22 of 25

Hilarious Apti.

I have taught many people to write on cakes and the most important thing is to get over the fear.  Once you have conquered this you will be amazed at how quickly you improve, have seen it happen dozens of times over the years.  I am a bit brutal with my newbies when it comes to writing, at first I get big scared eyes looking at me and I keep making them do it over and over (the equivalent of throwing them in the deep end) until one day they stop being scared and hey presto, a big chunk of their brain space which was being used up being scared, frees up and they can write.  (I'm really nice, honestly :-D)

goof9j Posted 25 Jun 2015 , 2:16pm
post #23 of 25

That was a great story, and sounds like my own story..... Thanks for sharing.  Looking at clikstix now....


remnant3333 Posted 25 Jun 2015 , 2:49pm
post #24 of 25

Unlimited, I love your piping video!!

I have never tried piping gel in icing for writing. I will have to give this a try. Thank you all for the suggestions. Sometimes my writing comes out fine and other times, not so fine!!  Hang in there everyone and keep practicing!! 

Unlimited Posted 27 Jun 2015 , 7:44am
post #25 of 25


Quote by @remnant3333 on 1 day ago

Unlimited, I love your piping video!!

I have never tried piping gel in icing for writing. I will have to give this a try. Thank you all for the suggestions.

So glad you enjoyed the video.  I made it for CC member MissErica because I felt so bad for her--as the only decorator in a grocery store, there wasn't anyone to train her how to write on the cakes yet she was required to do so.

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