Mar 1, 2009

Personalized Cakes

By Ellen Wilson

Next time it's a friend's birthday or a special occasion, try making them their own personalized cake. A decorated homemade cake adds that extra touch that store-bought cakes just can't give you. Not to mention, you have greater control over appealing to individual tastes. If you love chocolate cake and lemon flavored icing, making your own homemade cake means you can have your cake and eat it too. Here are some cake decorating tips, so even if it's your first attempt at cake decorating, your creation will be a smashing hit.
  • When baking your cake, don't fill the cake pans more than halfway full.
  • Always let your cake cool before icing, preferably in an airtight container for a day or overnight.
  • If you're making a double-layered cake, be sure to trim the sides and top so that the two pieces are the same size and will stack evenly.
  • Use a lot of icing. Don't let your spatula touch the cake because you'll risk getting crumbs in the frosting.

  • Ice the top of the cake first. Spread your icing from the middle towards the edges. Once you have the top of the cake iced, use the edge of your spatula to gently sweep over the top of the cake to smooth the icing. If you need to do this more than once, be sure to remove the excess icing each time from your spatula.

  • Cover the sides with icing and smooth by holding the spatula's edge just against the icing. If you have a circular cake, move the plate in a circle slowly, while holding the spatula still to evenly smooth the icing. Once again, if you do this several times, be sure to remove excess icing from the spatula before repeating the process.

  • After icing the cake, let it sit for at least 15 minutes and then you can smooth out the icing one final time with parchment paper.  Place the paper on the cake and use your hand to gently smooth out any remaining bumps.

After the cake is iced, you can write a message on the top and decorate with candies and sprinkles. Be creative! Go beyond the typical "Happy Birthday" and use that inside joke about "Game Night" or the cutie that sat across from you at the HBLL. Use candies, sprinkles, and icing to create pictures or designs that make your cake not only a dessert but also a personal present.

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