You don’t have to be a baking genie to ensure your cake turns out perfect and smooth. I remember my first cake was a big hit in the house for its soft texture and precise sugar level. I also acknowledge how the first baking experience could be a disaster for some people.
Let’s not allow those disasters to define us. The fact that you are here, eager to know how to make professional cakes, speaks of your devotion to this art.
We would jump right in and scan some of the best ways to make your cakes turn out awesome.
Tools You Need
You don’t need a hundred decorating tips and expensive material to make professional-level cakes. There are a few staples that you might need to make this journey more successful:
- Decorating couplers or bags
- Icing spatula
- High-quality round cake pans. You could go for the 10” or 6” for the two-layered, stacked cakes. Or opt for an 8” for a two-layered single cake.
- Icing colors
- Serving boards
- Parchment papers
- Cake leveler
These are the basics you need to kickstart your baking journey. If you cannot determine what to buy for decor, you can choose to invest in a quality cake decorating kit. This will have all that you need to enhance the overall appearance of the cakes you make at home.
Having the right gear is the first step. The next task is to deploy all the tips professionals use to keep their cakes moist, leveled, and beautiful. Here are some ways to do that:
Coat The Pan With DIY Pan Release
Stir equal parts of vegetable oil, flour, and shortening. Use a brush to apply it on the bottom and edges of the pan. This is to ensure that the cake doesn’t stick on the pan.
Use Fabric Bake-Even Strips
This is to avoid baking the dome-shaped cakes. You have to damp it in water and wrap it around the pan. Bake it like you usually do. It keeps the edges of the cake cool while it is in the oven.
Shave The Extra Dome
The cake should be completely cool before you attempt to shave the extra dome. Some experts have suggested freezing the cakes for an hour and then cutting them. You can use a cake leveler to do it as well. Make sure to keep the blade at the same level, or the cake will end lop-sided.
Use A Cooling Rack Before You Move To Frost
Cooling racks help to circulate the air around the cake. It doesn’t happen if you leave the cake in a pan or a plate. You can also pour flawless ganaches and glazes over the cake on this cooling rack.
Dab The Frosting
For starters, take a small amount of frosting and smear it in the middle of the cake board. If you are using two sizes of the cake board, lay the smaller board centered on top of the bigger board. Place a small amount of frosting on the smaller board and spread it evenly. An offset spatula is the best for this task.
Place the thickest cake layer on the cake board.
Use Parchment Paper When Decorating
You can set the serving plate on the cake turntable. Cut the strips of parchment paper and then put a layer on top. This is to protect the vessel from sticky stray swipes. Once you are done, you can gently pull out the paper to leave a clean plate underneath. A cooking expert could help you learn this trick.
Fill and stack
Once your first cake layer is ready, it is time to go for buttercream or frosting. Some people prefer to use a piping bag to make sure they get an equal amount of frosting at every layer. You can also use an offset spatula to do so. Scoop some frosting and plop it at the center of the cake. Now use a spatula to spread it around the surface. Make sure you stop about a ½ inch away from the edges to keep it clean.
Smooth the cracks
After you have a flawless edge, you must get rid of the annoying spots and tricky cracks. To do that, fill a spray bottle with clean water and spray it on the cake. After a light spray of water, take the spatula and smooth the hard spots. This trick should be used in the end when the cake is all set for the décor. Using frosting after the spray of water can ruin your cake.
Use a bench scraper after the spray and whirl it around to give it a smooth look. Also, take care when spraying on the cakes with food colors in the buttercream. The color might drip and bleed the cake.
Pop the cake in a fridge
Freezing the cake for a while is essential to ensure the entire structure is stable enough. It also helps to apply the last bits of frosting because the layers are set. They do not slide, making it easier to move forward with decoration and writing.
Use a crumb coat
A crumb coat is the light coat of frosting done on the cake before the actual buttercream coating. It helps to catch all the crumbs. This is to make sure that the final buttercream layer is crumb-free. This part becomes a bit tricky if you don’t have a cake turntable. However, you can make it work if you are careful and precise.
Use the back of your spatula to scoop frosting and smear it on the sides of your cake. You can turn with the other hand as you move across the surface. Scrape the back of the spatula in another bowl and then plop some icing on the top. Use a bench scraper to keep the sides clean. Spin the turntable to make it even. The crumbs may be visible, but they will now be sealed.
Learn the piping tricks
There are several piping starter sets available for beginners. Make sure you don’t create a mess when filling these bags by fitting these on the rim of a cup. You can have better control of piping when you use two hands. One is to push the frosting out and the other to guide the tip.
If you are not confident about using the piping bag, make small dots with a toothpick. Then trace over the template to achieve the outcome. You can even take a bunch of online classes to learn how to be a pro at piping.
Go creative with décor
There is a lot you can do when it comes to adding some dazzle to the cake:
- Border the bottom segment with nuts, candy, and pretzels
- Throw sprinkles on top and sides
- Use fruits for the top surface
- Top with cookies in a funny pattern
These and some other creative ideas can help to add a whole new level of excitement to homemade cakes. There is no need to drain your pockets. You might have some sauces and candies in the pantry that could help with this task.
All set to leap?
Baking cakes is indeed an art. The idea that stunning cakes are only found at high-end bakeries isn’t correct. Some skillful wizards work at home and come up with stunning cake designs. All you need is practice and awareness of the tips required to make it happen.
After all, the love of homemade cakes is incomparable. Who knows, you might end up running a home-based cake venture in the next few years? J