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Having your cake and eating it, too: Learning how to decorate cakes

Jan 24, 2012, 8:28 a.m.

The toughest part of cake decorating may be keeping hungry little fingers out of the frosting. The rest can be easy as long as you have the proper supplies, a batch of buttercream frosting and food coloring for various colors. Metal cake decorating tips are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Simply attach the metal tip to the frosting sleeve, fill the sleeve with the color frosting of your choice and away you go.

Icing the entire cake with a spatula or flat knife is the first step, followed by the techniques of your choice. Borders are a good place to start for cake decorating, and you can create them along the bottom, top and side edges of the cake. Pick a metal tip and draw straight lines, wavy lines, connected scallop or shell shapes or close-knit dots.

You can draw objects on the cake, such as teddy bears or lady bugs, using a thin metal tip for the outline of the object and filling in the object with a thicker cake decorating tip. Fill it in with lines, dots, swirls or another texture of your choice.

Textured patterns are easy to create by picking a tip you like and drawing a repeating theme. Braids, lattice, criss-crosses and a series of swirls are all options, as are scales, feathers and dots. Create a field full of flowers using a thick metal tip for the center dot and a thinner cake decorating tip for oval-shaped petals. Stars and hearts are other small items you can draw to enhance the borders or anywhere throughout the cake.

Add lettering by first outlining the shape of each letter with a toothpick. Then use one of the thinner metal cake decorating tips to follow along the letters you created with your frosting.

Final touches are always fun and can include gumdrops, M&Ms or other small, colorful and decorative goodies. Use them as eyes for your teddy bear, the center for your flowers or strategically place them along the borders for maximum impact.

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