Decorating a ready-made cake elegantly is really easy – it’s amazing what a little bit of fondant can do!
The best way to decorate a ready-made cake is to make up a large batch of buttercream icing. This icing is easy and quick to make, and it’s very easy to sculpt with as well! Therefore, get your buttercream whipped together, and start to decorate.
There are lots of ways that you could decorate with a simple buttercream, however, and we’ve got a few ideas ready for you here.
Rose swirls are something that looks utterly beautiful while also being incredibly easy to make well and beautiful! To make great rose swirls, you simply need to get out your piping bag and a couple of nozzles.
- Start off by ensuring that your buttercream has no air bubbles – they will pop as you pipe them, leading to quite a mess!
- Add the buttercream to your piping bag, and then place a star piping tip on. Any star-shaped tip will do, just whichever one happens to be most convenient for you to use.
- Rose swirls look best when they’re roughly five centimeters in diameter, so you might need to make a few swirls to cover the total surface area of your cake.
- When you’ve figured out how many rose swirls you’ll be making, pick the right spot and pipe. You want to slowly, but steadily, pipe a spiral, the outer edge of which is roughly five centimeters in diameter.
- As you bring the nozzle in, make sure to overlap the new lines that you’re making with lines from previous rounds.
If you aren’t confident in making rose swirls, then you may feel more comfortable if you piped a few practice swirls onto slime baking paper beforehand. The skill is easy to pick up, but a little trickier to master. Don’t beat yourself up if you make a couple of mistakes – you’re learning!
Feathered toppings are some of the most beautiful decorations that cakes and biscuits can have. It’s the traditional topping for a number of patisserie items, the most famous of which is mille-feuille.
The basic concept of a feathered topping is that you should endeavor to create a pattern that repeats predictably, like the lines and curves on a bird’s feathers.
- The pattern works best with two colors of icing, so make sure to make two colors. The best way to do this is to have one bowl for your basic buttercream, and another for colored buttercream – consider adding cocoa powder to create a darker color that will contrast with the lighter buttercream.
- You will need to adjust the buttercream recipe slightly in order to create feathered icing. Typically feathered icing is made with very thin fondant, so you will need to thin your buttercream a little. The best way to do this is with a neutral oil that’s liquid at room temperature. The best candidate is vegetable oil, as it will leave no taste. Beat the oil in until the mixture has the same consistency throughout, and you’re good to go!
- After you’ve prepared the two bowls of colored icing, you’re ready to decorate the cake. Firstly, pick a base icing – we’d recommend going for the lighter of the two colors that you’ve made. Spread that base icing into an even layer over the surface of your cake.
- Next, pipe the darker icing into parallel lines on top of the cake. It’s vitally important that the lines and parallel and shaped the same distance from each other across the whole cake – this will mean that the cake will turn out as it should.
- Once you’ve completed the lines of your second icing, use a toothpick or a similar implement to drag channels through the icing. These channels should be perpendicular to the icing that you piped onto the cake and will drag small portions of the piped icing across the length of the channel, in the direction that you’re pulling your implement.
When completed, these channels will create a simple repeating pattern – feathering! We adore this method of decorating a cake. It’s really simple and utterly showstopping!
This method is, without a doubt, the easiest way to get a simple, straightforward design onto your cake that also looks beautiful!
There are a huge number of fancy buttercream scrapers available throughout the various hobby shops that exist around the world, and picking one or two of the scrapers up truly ups your cake decorating game.
The combs come in either plastic or metal, and in a number of different shapes and sizes. We would recommend getting a dishwasher-safe comb, as it will make the cleanup process much easier.
The thing that buttercream scrapers do that makes them so much easier to use than other methods is that they make the sides of a cake exceptionally easy to decorate.
Because you’re pressing the buttercream into the cake at the same time that you’re pressing a design into the buttercream, you’re easily and quickly sticking the buttercream to the cake itself.
Think of it like applying plaster to a wall in your house – by pressing and smoothing the plaster, you’re pressing it into the bricks, causing it to adhere to your walls and create a smooth surface. The only difference when using a buttercream scraper is that you’re also generating a nice pattern at the same time!
The consistency of the pattern that you’re be creating is a wonderful feature, as well. It’s something not rated as highly as the design itself, but when the consistency of icing is poor, the overall appearance of the cake itself suffers.
Therefore, make sure to rest the edge of your scraper against the work surface that you’re using as you spread the buttercream. This will ensure the pattern is consistent and level.
Finally, we come to the most impressive part of using a buttercream scraper: since it gives you beautiful sides, you don’t need to worry about the top as much.
Let’s say you’re making a birthday cake, for example. Spreading buttercream on the sides and leaving the top plain (aside from some candles, perhaps) is a striking aesthetic that people will like. If you really wanted to give the cake some decoration on the top, you could sprinkle a little icing sugar on, which would complete the overall look.
This method of easily decorating the top is a wonderful; way to finish the cake as a centerpiece, too. For example, if your tablecloth has a predominant color, you could make sure to match the top of the cake to that as well. Raspberries on the top of a cake would match really well with a red tablecloth, leading to a consistent aesthetic for a visually striking birthday party.
There are more than enough ways to beautifully decorate a cake in no time at all, and these ways are both simple and perfectly elegant! So, however you might decide to decorate your next shop-bought cake, we’re sure that the end result will be beautiful!