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Basic Cake Decorating - Part Two

Decorators' Icing and Icing Tips


Decorated Cupcakes and Icing Tubes Photo (c) by Carroll Pellegrinelli

Decorated Cupcakes and Icing Tubes

Decorated Cupcakes and Icing Tubes Photo (c) by Carroll Pellegrinelli
Part One of Basic Cake Decorating covered all the tips necessary for make the right cake as well as frosting tips. This article, Part Two, features the basic icing recipe to use for all icing consistencies, as well as the basic icing tools to use to decorate a cake.

Decorators' Buttercream Icing Recipe

  • 1 lb. (1 box) confectioners 10X sugar (Domino was recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening (Snowdrift was recommended because it's the whitest)
  • 2 tablespoons water, warm
  • 1/2 teaspoon white popcorn salt
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • icing colors
Sift the confectioners sugar and meringue powder into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Cream the shortening. Dissolve the salt in the warm water. Add the water and extract to the shortening and mix. Gradually add the sugar, no more that 1 cup at a time, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl. With a hand mixer, mix for 5 minutes on medium speed. With a stand-up mixer, mix on low for 2 minutes.

Icing Consistencies

The above recipe will give you your stiff consistency. After mixing, remove 1 cup for make flowers.

To the remaining 2 cups add 2 teaspoons of water. Remove 1 cup for borders and flowers with petals that lie flat.

To the remaining 1 cup add 1 teaspoon of light Karo syrup. This will give the icing more elasticity for icing the cake.

You get much better colored icing by using icing pastes instead of the typical food coloring found in the grocery store. These colors are very concentrated and can be easily combined to make other colors. To use the colors, open the jar and take a flat toothpick to poke a hole through the foil. Streak your icing with the color from the toothpick. Use a different toothpick each time as to not contaminate the icing color jar.

  1. To use entire recipe for icing, after mixing ingredients together, add an additional 2 tablespoon of liquid.
  2. Icing may be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for 2 months.
  3. For a better tasting icing, substitute 1/2 of the shortening for butter. Substitute milk for the water. If this is for practicing, stick with all water and shortening, it holds better.
  4. To ice and decorate a two-layer 8-inch cake, double this recipe.

Decorating Tips

I have tips # 16, 21 and 2010. Tips #16 and 23 came in the Course One decorating kit. These, by far, are my favorite tips. They are the most forgiving, you can easily correct your mistakes. The star tips are so easy to use. It's like taking dancing lessons. Fill your bag with medium icing. Hold your bag straight up and down. Squeeze to the count of 1-2-3. Stop squeezing and lift up. You get a perfect star every time. I bought tip #2010 also because it makes 3 stars at one time. With the star tip you can decorate an entire cake with nothing but stars, covering the cake completely. You can purchase everything you need to make cartoon character cakes. They are usually quite colorful, so there are also special icing colors to buy. The best thing about these cakes is that they are just a big pattern you fill in with stars. This tip is also used to make rosettes, shell and zigzag borders.

I have the #2D tip, which came in the kit. It looks similar to a star tip but it's much larger and the prongs on the end bend in towards the middle. Drop flowers are flowers that lay flat on the cake.

I have tips #3 and 12. Tip #3 has a small round hole, which is perfect for writing and making stems. Tip #12 has a large round hole and is used to make a rose base.

I have tip #104, which is used to make the petals on a rose. It's also used to make sweet peas (flowers that have three petals that fan-out) and bows.

Tip #67 also came in my kit. This tip is for making leaves on your cake.
Related Video
How to Decorate Cake Borders

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