Dads That Cook Desserts: Cake Decorating Essentials

Dads That Cook Desserts: Cake Decorating Essentials
May 21, 2014 Jason Glover

So, the little one is begging for that Superman cake he saw on Pinterest the other day and we’re expected to put something together by the weekend. It sounds like an episode of Mission Impossible complete with exploding mission instructions, but for dads that cook desserts this is a common occurrence.

Tools of the Trade

If you’re going to make an elaborate cake, then you’re going to need the tools. Simply using a regular spatula to move around the frosting will result in one of the Pinterest fails everyone loves on Facebook.

  • Professional Cake Pans – Actual cake pans are metal and have straight instead of slanted sides. This is so when you take the cake out, the sides are straight and easily stacked and frosted. They come is several sizes for tiered cakes.
  • Sharp Knife – A sharp knife run along the edge of a cake pan guarantees a clean removal of the cake. It’s also great for carving the cake itself to create the desired shape and cutting shapes from fondant.
  • Parchment Paper – Put parchment paper on the bottom of each cake pan to make sure it doesn’t stick. Also, place it under the cake when using fondant, so it doesn’t stick to the table and place your fondant to use on the paper for the same reason.
  • Bench Scraper and Off Set Spatula – If you using a large amount of frosting, then a bench scraper will make sure you coat the cake evenly. If there is only a small amount of frosting, then use an offset spatula. It can also be used to help smooth out the frosting after using the bench scraper.
  • Fondant Tools – If you are just making a standard sheet or tiered cake, then you may not need fondant. For more elaborate cakes, then fondant is a necessity and it has a reputation for being more difficult to work with than Lindsay Lohan during Fashion Week. Tools such as fondant rollers, fondant smoothers and even paint brushes can help make the job easier.

Working With Fondant

Fondant is basically a thick sugary marshmallow that can be molded and cut to create large firm and well-shaped designs and coverings. It’s also very complex to work with, so here are a few tips.

  • Fondant can dry out. Fondant left in the open air can cause it to dry out and have tough “elephant skin.” When it starts to dry out, use shortening to keep it moist. DO NOT use water. Water will break down the fondant and cause it to melt and become sticky.
  • Fondant can become sticky, so when you begin to roll it out, put a fine layer of powdered sugar under it and on your hands. This makes it much easier to manipulate.
  • A cake covered in fondant is going to be very heavy. Make sure you have a stable and sturdy base under the cake such as cake boards or thick plywood to keep the cake stable during transport.

A Parting Thought

Give yourself plenty of time and extra ingredients because it’s not going to go right the first time. It looks easy on Cake Boss and on Pinterest, but they’ve been doing it for years.

For more information about cooking, visit www.dadsthatcook.com.