Decorating cakes has become more than a favorite pastime of a few of artist types. It has become a national obsession which has resulted in television shows completely dedicated to decorating cakes. An entire industry has been created on the heels of people like Martha Stewart. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow anytime in the future. Brides looking to save money on the big day are either designing their own cakes or having friends decorate them. Companies like Family Fun are using this new love of cake decorating to publish books for kids. Library shelves are filled with cookbooks dedicated to cake baking. It seems that with the right equipment and a few learned techniques, anyone can create a masterpiece with cake.
One thing that is essential for good cake decorating is a good base. That means good pans. Good cake pans need not be expensive. But they must have a few characteristics to work well. Straight sides is a must. Don’t confuse cake pans with pie plates. The sides must be straight. Metal is a standard, although silicone is making a big showing. To ensure the cake will release, lining it with wax paper and then spraying it with non-stick spray is helpful.
Once the cake has cooked in the oven, a cooling rack is essential. The purpose of a cooling rack is to elevate something recently removed from the oven to allow air flow all around it. It helps to cool a product more quickly and more evenly. When I was young, there was only one type of cooling rack. They were round and essentially for cakes. Boy have they evolved! Today, you can find cooling racks from small to large, single and multiple racks together. It doesn’t matter what type you choose as long as it’s sturdy.
And finally, a tried and true recipe is a must. Some beginners choose to use a boxed cake mix. Other more advanced bakers will use a recipe. A fun thing to do is make a recipe from someone you know. A recipe you’ve grown up eating is always fun to make. But a recipe from a magazine or friend will do just fine too. But if you are a beginning especially, make sure the recipe comes with directions! A list of ingredients is not enough. There is a certain order of mixing. Following this will yield great results.