Is your kitchen ready to decorate stunning cakes? You read that right! No matter how much you practice, or how much you know, having the right tools is more than half the battle when it comes to cake decorating! I started baking in a different way than you may think. I was living abroad at the time and attending a workout class, when I heard a mom behind me say, “I wish there was a local bakery where I could order my daughter a rainbow cake.” I had never decorated a cake before. Our home only had a toaster oven, but I turned around and said, “I’ll make it.” Something in me accepted the challenge and started the sweet process of learning to bake. This journey led from one order to another, eventually birthing the early stages of our business.
I didn’t start with formal training, or anyone to necessarily walk me through the process, just a couple of YouTube videos, a lot of trial and error, and dozens of cakes that flopped, fell, or turned out less than how I had hoped. Through this process of gaining more confidence, and after making hundreds of cakes, I have tested dozens of products. Through each step, I have honed in on what products are unnecessary, and with that, the ones that make the process a breeze. I wish there had been someone to tell me ways to save and simplify along the way. So, I’m committed to sharing with you as you start your own journey to everyday, effortlessly gourmet cakes.
Here are my personal cake decorating must-haves:
Putty scrapers help you even and smooth out the frosting on the exterior of the cake. Without this tool, it is nearly impossible to get a smooth finish. While many baking supply brands have tried to replicate this, I find that the “frilly,” ornate, and excess plastic features actually get in the way of decorating. While I still have my very first putty scraper from a hardware store, if I had to buy another, I would stick to it! The longer handle of a formal putty scraper helps give you better control. When you are buying, think 6” or wider, as the length of the blade needs to be able to cover the height of your cake completely. Here is a putty scraper we recommend:
An angled spatula is used to smooth icing in between layers, spot check as you design the exterior, and finish off the top of the cake. While many people typically own a straight spatula, the angled shape gives you more control and an even application. Mini angled spatulas can be used for fixing up small areas. However, I believe that the full size option is best for the purposes listed above. If you use one that is too small, you will end up with unnecessary lines as you have to “lift” the tool to cover the entire area. Full length will give you a smooth, clean finish. Here is one I recommend. These can also be found and purchased at most craft stores.
Many of us have a cake stand. However, a stationary stand simply will not get you the results you hope for as you start to decorate cakes. There are two features that I have found to be very important when you are looking for the perfect stand. First, height. Many brands make low stands, which are easy to store, but harder to decorate with. The closer to eye level you can get it, the better! The one that I have attached below is the one I personally use and find the height to be near perfect. In order to get that silky smooth finish on any cake, the spin is key. If you were to try to move forward with a stationary stand, you would have many “lift lines” from where you leave off with the smoothing tool and then apply it again. A spinning cake stand can be intimidating, but with a few simple techniques, we know that you will quickly be unable to live without one!
These three tools together are the base of every cake design. Once you have them in your house, you will be prepared to create, design, and celebrate! Let’s audit your kitchen. Which of these do you have in your kitchen already?
In addition to knowing what tools to use, I also wish that I would have had someone to teach me the basics of the design process. After years of learning, it’s my joy to be able to share with you my go-to, fool-proof, “make the process a whole lot easier” tips for decorating cakes. Join us anytime, anywhere, for a cake decorating class through our Hospitality Academie, where we have pre-recorded a few of our most popular designs for you to master!