One of the Highlights of a Kid’s Birthday Party is the Cake!
You can buy the cake but cake decorating at home can be great fun, (the Wilton company is a great source of info on cake decorating.)
A few things to remember while decorating the Cake:
- Secure the cake to the plate with a glob of icing.
- Slightly freezing the baked cake will make it easier to ice.
- Do a “crumb coat” – skim a thin coating of (thin) icing over the chilled/slightly frozen cake, ( the crumbs will be stuck to the thin coat , it will look dreadful, but it will make the real coat of icing easier to apply.) You can then pop it back in the freezer for a bit.
The most important thing about icing a cake is this:
- You need to plop a large amount of medium icing (not too thin as it’ll run, not too thick as it will tear up the cake) – then gently (gently!) spread/work the icing down over the surface of the cake.
- As the icing steadily covers more of the cake “real estate” the thickness of the icing will become closer to the proper thickness.
- The worst thing you can do is to apply little bits of icing one at a time picking up lots of surface crumbs as you work back and forth. The icing will be loaded with crumbs and won’t look very attractive. Use a knife if you don’t have a spatula.
Keep in mind that icing has 3 consistencies:
- Thin (good for piping icing)
- Medium (good for basic decorating and covering the cake)
Icing Recipe (via Wilton)
- 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla
- 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
- 2 tablespoons milk
First cream shortening and butter then add vanilla and gradually add sugar one cup at a time (icing will appear dry) then add milk and beat. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator (icing will last a couple weeks – you will need to rewhip before using). You can thin out the icing (for spreading) with a couple Tablespoons of corn syrup/milk/water. If you aren’t concerned about the icing being a little bit yellow (from the butter) and would like better tasting buttercream icing – substitute the above shortening for butter and use ordinary vanilla rather than trying to find the clear vanilla.
This recipe makes about 3 cups of icing.
Other Decorating Tips
- Left-over icing freezes well
- Use Ziplock bags with one corner clipped if you don’t have decorator bags
- If you want to get black icing … start with cocoa powder which makes it a deep brown, and then you don’t have to add a lot of dye (plus it tastes nice too!)
- The Wilton colours aren’t as cheap as the standard grocery food dyes … but they last forever , and will dye endless bowls of icing (definitely good value in the end!)
It is hard to get just the right cake topper for your theme party … make your own from FIMO dough and make a small deep hole in the bottom so that later you can put the cake topper on a skewer.