Thursday, April 14, 2011

Buttercream Frosting and Cake Decorating Tip

As promised, here is the frosting recipe I used for the birthday cake from last week as well as how I typically decorate my cakes using frosting, not fondant (And don't worry, it's super easy!). I just used a simple buttercream frosting (I used the one from Wilton, and it follows my decorating tip) and then dyed it the colors I needed for decorating. When dying the frosting, I like to use the food coloring gels you can get in the cake decorating section of the craft store because it allows the color to be more bold while using less coloring. Then I frost the entire cake using whatever color I want to be the background of my "artwork". Then I make an imprint in the frosting base using a cookie cutter or other template, like this:

To create your own template, you can draw the design on a piece of paper, cut it out, and then use that as your template, or you can find a picture in Microsoft Word's clip art or on the internet, cut it out, and then trace onto the cake using a skewer or toothpick. I have found that images with clean lines work the best. Then you can either continue cutting your template to trace the inside designs, or if you are feeling artistic, you can free hand it. Then I just pipe the icing onto the top of the cake directly ontop of the lines you created in the frosting. That way, no one will no you traced! I like to start by outlining the area before I fill it in because I feel it gives it a cleaner edge. As for piping decorative borders, I just fake it. But I'm sure you could probably find a tutorial somewhere for that. Or check out a cake decorating book from the library and practice. Here are some pictures of a couple of more cakes I made using this method:

Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened (I used butter)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.) 2 tablespoons milk

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. Yields about 3 cups of icing. If you find your frosting is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar, if it is too thick, add 1 tsp of milk at a time until it is the right consistency.

For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.

For Pure White Icing (stiff consistency), omit butter; substitute an additional 1/2 cup shortening for butter and add 1/2 teaspoon No-Color Butter Flavor. Add up to 4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk to thin for icing cakes.

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