Basic Tools and Techniques
Most of the recipes in this book call for you to simply frost the cake. But if you really want to show off your creation, knowing how to decorate your cake will come in handy. First, there are a few necessary tools you'll want to keep around your kitchen.
To create designs or write words on your cake, you can buy decorating bags made of vinyl or even disposable plastic bags for more convenience. Spoon your frosting into the bag, filling it about halfway. Twist the top of the bag to seal and then squeeze firmly to move the frosting out through the decorating tip and onto your cake. It will take a bit of practice to become comfortable with the technique. A great way to practice using the different tips is to make designs on a sheet of waxed paper.
Some of the tools that you may want to collect are:
Couplers — allow you to change decorating tips quickly and easily
Fine writing tips — great for outlining parts of the cake, making scrolls and small dots, and writing
Star tips — make nice mounds to put dragees on and create shells and other decorative effects
Larger writing tips — great for polka dots and filling in larger areas with color
Paintbrushes — can be used for applying egg yolk paint or corn syrup
Toothpicks — can be used to move color or create a chevron effect when you drag them through stripes of thin frosting
Special tools that allow you to make intricate sculptures with marzipan and fondant are fun to learn to use and will help you make spectacular decorated desserts.
Once the cake is decorated, set it aside to allow the frosting to harden before storing; this will keep the designs from smearing. A final garnish may be created by using products like luster dust or edible glitter to enhance the decorated cookie. Some people even use edible gold leaf for very special decorated cookies.
Edible gold and silver have been used for years all over the world. It is available in the United States, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that it has not been approved for human consumption. Edible gold and silver has been in use since before there was an FDA, so it was never submitted for premarket approval.