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Cake decorating. I need help


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Initial post: 25 Mar 2012 10:24:48 BDT
Can anyone recommend a book that is for beginners like me. I need the basics like how to cover a cake with buttercream icing, or covering a sponge cake for a celebration cake, just slapping it on will not do this time....help...simple flowers too, would be a bonus. Xx

Posted on 26 Mar 2012 03:56:59 BDT
Grandma says:
I have bought a book from Amazon which is really good at explaining the equipment you use; basic cake and icing recipes; how you use it; detailed instructions. I think it's great:Cake Decorating Motifs: 150 Designs for Making Your Cake Unique
Also go to Youtube and type in what kind of cake decorating you want to do eg. piping words and you will be able to see a video of the technique. Good luck

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Mar 2012 21:48:25 BDT
lindy smith's cake decorating bible is excellent, with great ideas. Includes receipes for cakes, buttercream and how to do flowers, either buttercream or sugarcraft. i got mine from amazon. Also as Grandma' says, the internet is excellent for videos covering cakes and making flowers. Have fun

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Mar 2012 23:09:02 BDT
Miss E Drury, you beat me to it, Lindy Smith's book was just the one I was going to recommend! The Cake Decorating Bible is excellent. It has a load of projects and at the end each project has a list of exactly the equipment you need, right down to the manufacturers, so if there is something you'd like to replicate then you know exactly what you need.

I would say that her stuff isn't the easiest, some of her cakes are really complex - but you don't have to do the exact projects, just take the design elements (like the little flowers) that you need. Also, if I'm being really critical, her cakes are probably more appropriate for cakes for women than men in general (with some exceptions) but since you actually mentioned flowers I'm guessing that it might not be a problem for you!

Hope that's useful, Carole - is there a specific type of cake that you were hoping to make, or something special that you were hoping to have on it?

Posted on 27 Mar 2012 08:32:28 BDT
Sofie Hirst says:
I too am a beginner. i have bough so many book over the last few months. the BEST book i have found that has very comprehensive, modern approach to baking with all the basics like how to cover in buttercream, shape the cakes, cover in fondant/sugarpaste & decorate to a high level. I made my first handbag cake thanks to the book. Planet Cake by Paris Cutler is the best self teaching book i have found. the recipes are also fab!!!

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Mar 2012 17:09:02 BDT
Thank you to everyone who replied. Rachel, my daughter is getting married in Oct. And would like me to make a cake for the top of her cupcake stand, so only small. But even so I still want it to look special and although I have done fruit cakes with marzipan and roll out icing many times , I have never covered a sponge cake and don,t know how to go about it .....plus I,d like to make the decorations myself, ieflowers or piping or covering the board St etc.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Mar 2012 20:30:38 BDT
A. Morrin says:
Hi. There are lots of 'how to' tutorials on youtube. I found them very useful. XX

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Mar 2012 20:39:06 BDT
hi! If it's a wedding, then Lindy Smith's book would be great, and just as good would be Peggy Porschen's books which have very pretty and stunning cake decorations which would be really suitable. This one here: Pretty Party Cakes: Sweet and Stylish Cookies and Cakes for All Occasions has absolutely beautiful ideas, and she has step-by-step instructions too.

Sorry, suggesting another one as well has just confused the issue hasn't it! ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Mar 2012 20:56:40 BDT
Not at all, that,s great thank you xx

Posted on 30 Mar 2012 09:00:14 BDT
I can't recommend a book, but last month I saw Mich Turner from the Little Venice Cake company demoing her cake decorating tools. I don't decorate cakes myself, but her tools made me want to start. She had what looked like a plastic iron to flatten out icing (it's called a slide and smooth and I've just checked they have them on Amazon) and all other things that make cake decorating easier. This isn't your normal gimmicky celeb chef rubbish, it actually seemed to work.

Posted on 30 Mar 2012 16:12:38 BDT
I was a complete and utter novice and offered to make a christening cake! I used Cakes for Romantic Occasions by May Clee-Cadman. I made the chocolate fudge cake and used fondant icing following all the instructions religiously. What I liked about the book was that it has tables for exact quantities, so you can use any size of cake. I did a nine inch and a six inch and stacked them, again following instructions in the book. All was great. I adapted the forget-me-not cake, not doing the piped leaves and it looked super pretty. I bought the 10 set plunger cutter set from Amazon and have since made double daisies for cup cakes. Good luck!

Posted on 19 Apr 2012 16:43:25 BDT
Hi Again Carole,
Just posted my suggestions to your question which is also listed under cake decorating.
Hope it helps! Have a great wedding! x suzysunshine7 x

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2012 17:28:44 BDT
JNolan says:
Is it just baking you are interested in? Have you heard of Gina Steer? I was given her books for Christmas, one for cupcakes, one for cookies, and one is a general book containing sweet and savoury dishes. Great books, and tell you exactly what you need, utensils etc

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2012 17:33:50 BDT
JNolan says:
Also, can anyone give me any ideas or suggestions on icing cupcakes? I like to make lots of little cupcakes, all different flavours for family members. However I would like to start making more as little gifts and treats for friends and family, but I currently just use the instant icing, you know the type that's just icing sugar and you mix it with water? Or if I am making coffee icing I mix the sugar with butter and coffee etc.................But I would like to know how to make the nice swirly kind of buttercream that you see on cupcakes in cafes and bakeries? Do you just pipe it from a piping bag to get the swirly effect??

Also, with regard to fondant icing, in particular the ready rolled stuff that you can buy in packets on here - do you just roll that out for putting on cakes? I would like to get different kinds of toppings for cupcakes.

Like I say, any ideas would be appreciated, thanks in advance everyone

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Apr 2012 10:45:04 BDT
hi JNolan, try this recipe for buttercream: http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/6110/buttercream-icing.aspx and what you need is a nice big piping bag with a large star nozzle to get that 'swirly' effect. This video shows you just how it's done http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cvyBz2a4DY and there are lots of others on Youtube, too!

With fondant, you just roll it out and place it over the cake. Make sure you've done a big enough circle, though - carefully measure your cake to see how tall/wide it is, you'll need to make sure you can cover all of it in one go. It needs to stick on with something: if a fruit cake, then marzipan it first and then wet the marzipan lightly with boiled water so that it goes tacky, if a sponge then you might use buttercream. The tricky(ish) bit is then smoothing it down over the cake. What you need to do (and this is hard to explain) is not smooth it down, as this just causes creases. Instead, keep fanning out the creases, working gradually round the cake. If it's taking a long time, you're doing it right! Video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vecmy4nKT-A shows what I mean: as she says, you have to 'lift and tuck', not smooth down. Mind you, she makes it look incredibly easy... mine never go that well!

You can use fondant icing on cupcakes, too: roll it out and cut out circles and stick them onto the cupcakes with a little bit of buttercream, it makes a change from just buttercream!

hope this helps!

Posted on 20 Apr 2012 13:37:29 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 20 Apr 2012 13:43:03 BDT]

Posted on 20 Apr 2012 18:59:34 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 Apr 2012 11:01:12 BDT
Hi JNolan,
Rachel is right when she says "If it's taking a long time, you're doing it right!" when settling a sheet of fondant icing over a large cake! A good tip I've learnt is to put the cake into the fridge for about 15 - 30 mins after butter-creaming it so that it 'sets' and hardens slightly - and then the buttercream layer tends to stay even and smooth beneath and your icing doesn't stick or slither about so much when you place it over the top.
However, I do press and smooth with one of "Ffion Kitchen Gadgets 's plastic icing irons (30/03/12)" as I have never had any problems with doing that and for me I find I get a better finish that way. I must try it out the way Rachel has suggested though and see how it works out for me that way too.

I bought Eat Me!: The Stupendous, Self-Raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes According to Cookie Girl last year. It is a very girly book with a slightly odd yet unusual fairytale theme running through it (which some readers may not like!) but I find it interesting and uniquely quirky. I have had great fun with some of the very unusual (and the alcoholic!) cupcakes in there, although I notice a few reviewers have not found some of the recipes as straightforward as I have.

I think it's a fun book and a novel gift - my friend loves it to bits, uses it every week for her church coffee mornings and gets many compliments for her creations. If it's cheap enough for you, it might be worth a look? I often borrow from my local library first to save myself the disappointment of getting a book I don't like or find useful, then buy my wishlist off Amazon or The Book People - whichever works out cheaper!
I can heartily recommend "The Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits by Sarah Moore and Harriet Hastings" too (if you are into biscuits) for learning how to achieve a professional looking and flawless finish to your icings in your own kitchen. The one with the pink heart shaped biscuit on the cover is the English edition, the other one listed here on Amazon is the same book but the American edition.

I also highly rate both books by the Maisie Fantasie cake baker May Clee-Cadman - sometimes she misses the minute details that may be a problem for a total beginner and you'll need the later issues of the books as she got some of the recipes wrong in the first printoffs (see her website and the book reviews on here for the corrections) but the photos alone are absolutely fantastic, and the cakes are actually suprizingly straightforward even for first-timers. She matches the main cake to the accompanying cupcakes and cookies beautifully if you want to stick to the same themes when catering for a big do.
Have Fun! xsuzysunshine7x

Posted on 7 May 2012 07:18:53 BDT
Dear Carole Hodson
For decorating give yourself plenty of room and remove any obstacles, you might need assistance depending on the size of the job people you see on the telly like Nick Nolte and Barbara Woodlouse probably have books published and there is that big fella who's name I can't recall just now and you might remember Handy Andy and that bird who never wore a bra, anyway preparation and the right tools are a must.
Careful up that ladder
Regards
S P Ongefinger

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2012 20:07:36 BDT
Dear Mr Crikey, you,re taking the Mick, but I will admit, I,d have thrown the pork away too.. And I want to know who stole the rind in the first place. By the way the ladder was too tall for my cake so I cut a few feet off...love Carole xx

Posted on 7 May 2012 20:17:01 BDT
pixie says:
Carole, you're a babe! He! He!

Posted on 8 May 2012 21:38:38 BDT
Not many people get my sense of humour, where are you S P Ongfinger, speak to me!

In reply to an earlier post on 9 May 2012 13:56:23 BDT
pixie says:
Carole I think you scared old spong finger away!

In reply to an earlier post on 9 May 2012 14:07:35 BDT
I'm here

In reply to an earlier post on 9 May 2012 14:09:10 BDT
pixie says:
How's your cooking?

Posted on 9 May 2012 14:18:46 BDT
Better than Slough
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Discussion in:  cooking discussion forum
Participants:  13
Total posts:  40
Initial post:  25 Mar 2012
Latest post:  11 May 2012

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