First Time Cake Decorating: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide – Learn by Doing * Step-by-Step Basics + Projects

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Learning to make and decorate cakes that are as beautiful as they are delicious can be a challenge, but with the expert guidance of renowned confectionery artist Autumn Carpenter in First Time Cake Decorating, your goal is within reach. 

Like having your very own cake decorating instructor at your side, First Time Cake Decorating guides you expertly through the process, from baking and prepping your first cake through a range of decorating techniques, from essential piping techniques for creating borders, writing, and flowers to working with gum paste and fondant to make stunning daisies, roses, lilies, and more.

There's a first time for everything. Enjoy the journey and achieve success with First Time Cake Decorating!

Please note, this book is a condensed version of "The Complete Photo Guide to Cake Decorating".


From the Publisher

Basic Cake Preparation: Torting and Filling Cakes

Step 1

Place the cake on an even surface. Adjust a cake slicer to the desired height. Insert the cake slicer into the side of the cake. Keeping the feet level with the surface, slide the cake slicer back and forth to cut into the cake. Do not lift the feet of the cake slicer while slicing. Lift the top layer of the cut cake using a jumbo cake lifter or a cookie sheet with no sides. Set top layer aside.

Step 2

Fill a pastry bag with buttercream icing, or whatever icing will be used. With tip 1A, pipe a dam of icing around the edge of the cake. This dam will prevent the filling from oozing out the sides.

Step 3

Fill a pastry bag with cake filling. Squirt filling in the center of the cake. Then, with an offset spatula, spread filling to the edges of the dam.

Step 4

Align the top layer with the bottom layer, and slide the top layer back onto the cake.

Piping Techniques: Filling Reusable and Disposable Pastry Bags

Step 1

Drop the tip into the pastry bag and tug on the end to secure. The bag may also be fitted with a coupler following instructions opposite. Fold the pastry bag over hands to form a cuff. The cuff fold should be 2″ to 3″ (5 to 7.5 cm).

Step 2

Scoop icing into the bag until it reaches the top of the cuff. Fill the bag about half full with icing. The more full the bag, the more difficult the bag is to control.

Step 3

Unfold the cuff. Squeeze the bag between thumb and fingers and push the icing toward the bottom of the bag.

Step 4

Twist the bag where the icing begins. For more security, secure with a rubber band or icing bag tie to prevent the icing from bursting from the top of the bag.

Fondant and Gum Paste Accents: Cutting and Shaping The Flower Petals

Step 1

Knead and soften gum paste. Roll the paste very thin (a 5 on a pasta machine). The gum paste should be translucent. If it is not translucent, the petals will not be delicate. The thicker the paste, the easier it is to make the flowers, but the petals are not as lovely. Place the rolled gum paste on a CelBoard or a plastic placemat. Cut petals.

Step 2

Place the petal on soft foam or a CelPad. Thin and shape petals by rubbing a ball tool along the petal’s edges. The petals edges should be very thin. Do not thin the center of the flowers.

Step 3

Vein each petal by gently embossing with a veining tool. If the foam is too firm, the gum paste will tear when veins are added.

Step 4

Some flowers, such as carnations, have ruffled petals. If the petals are to be frilled, the gum paste should be rolled with a 4 (0.6 mm) setting. If the petals are too thin, the edges will tear when ruffled. To frill the petals, place the petal along the edge of a CelPad. Roll a CelPin back and forth to thin and frill the edge. The amount of pressure used will determine how frilly the ruffle.

Miscellaneous Techniques: Airbrushing – General Instructions

Step 1

Fill the airbrush color cup approximately half full.

Step 2

Use parchment paper to cover any area of the cake where airbrush color should not be applied. Hold the airbrush at a 45° angle. Pull the trigger to control the air flow. Hold the airbrush 6″ to 8″ (15 × 20 cm) from the cake to cover a wide area. Do not quickly move the hand back and forth or the color will be blotchy. Pull the trigger to begin spraying the cake with color. Do not hold the airbrush stationary, or puddles of food color will begin to form. Spray the cake with long, slow, and steady strokes.

Step 3

If a second color is desired, rinse the air-brush before adding an additional color. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for rinsing the airbrush.

Step 4

Hold the airbrush close for fine details or shading. The trigger is barely pulled back to release a very fine stream of color. Food color sprays give an all-over airbrush effect without the expense of an airbrush. Fine details cannot be obtained using the food color sprays. Use the airbrush to efficiently color buttercream, royal icing, rolled fondant, or gum paste flowers. The flowers were sprayed blue followed with a light spray of pink.

First Time Series

The Absolute Beginner’s Guide – Learn by Doing Step-by-Step Basics + Projects.

First Time Cake Decorating: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide – Learn by Doing * Step-by-Step Basics + Projects
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