Take a look at Paris Cutler's guide to key techniques and tools to help decorate your next cake creation.
Equipment & Materials: Fondant Icing, Piping Gel, Knife, Acetate Sheet
Acetate film is the flexible plastic used in stationery or computer laser printing. It is also a good ‘frame’ for creating complex cake decorations such as sandal straps as you can insert the film into the icing or cake, it is invisible and light. Cover your acetate film by applying piping gel and then placing a strip of icing on either side, trim the excess and smooth down and fuzzy bits with your damp finger. You can either cover the film before or after it is inserted into the cake. If you are covering beforehand leave the area to be inserted into the cake without icing and cover any unsightly joins. Remember to advise those eating the cake that this decoration is inedible.
Equipment & Materials: Tracing/baking Paper, 2B Pencil, Scissors, Pin
Making templates is an essential part of cake decorating and once you master this skill you will be able to create your own unique decorations. Using a reference such as a font or picture and trace it onto tracing paper. Cut the template out and use it as a pattern for cutting or use a pin and pin prick a pattern into the icing using your template as a guide.
Equipment & Materials: Tracing/baking Paper, 2B Pencil, Scissors, Wax Cardboard
When you have a shaped cake or complex cake you need to create your own set-up board to prepare the cake before you place it on the display board (unless you set the cake up directly on the display board). Using a template made of tracing or baking paper create the shape you require, trace the outline onto waxy cardboard and cut it out. By keeping your templates and temp boards you can amass a library and save time in the future.
Equipment & Materials: Tracing/baking Paper, 2B Pencil
Trace your desired image or font onto tracing paper using a 2B pencil, you can then trace the back of the of the same image and then place it front up on the cake and by lightly shading your tracing paper transfer the image onto the cake.
Each pasta machine is different so you will need to experiment to work out which setting will roll your icing to 3mm, the desired thickness for most cake decorating decorations. Make sure you knead and roll the icing out first with a small rolling pin. Place a small flattened piece in the desired setting on your pasta machine and keep placing it through until you end up with the desired size and thickness. Your pasta machine should also have settings that will create tassels or hair, and other great effects. Make sure to keep your machine clean, especially after using strong colours.