A brand new group to learn and share tips! Cake or cupcake decorating A group to help each other out, I have only been doing it for 9 months now so in no way know everything! But will do my best to help anyone out Remember that this is the way I do it, there are a million different ways and some people will fidn their way works better! I have no idea how I am going to do this but thought it best to start off by adding some essentials that you will need. Lesson One! Hehe! essential items for starting out For baking your first plain sponge cake 2x 8" sandwich tins (best to buy non stick) OR you can use 8" deep tins and do your cake in 2 parts Wilton Bake easy spray (there is different brands on the market, it is not essential but makes a huge difference!) 2 large mixing bowls electric whisk (can be bought in argos for under a fiver!) plastic jug Kitchen Scales A sieve 2 metal cooling racks Ingredients 6 medium eggs (weighed in their shells) Once you have the weight of them you weigh out all your other ingredients the same (except vanilla extract and baking powder) Caster sugar stork margarine self raising flour 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 1 teaspoon of baking powder Method 1. using your electric whisk, whisk your eggs in the jug till they are frothy then put to one side. 2. Add your marg and sugar to one of the bowls and whisk until it becomes light and fluffy and seems to have become more, usually takes about 10 mins! 3. sieve you flour and baking powder into the other bowl. 4. while you keep whisking your marg mix, gradually add some of the egg and a spoonful of flour at a time until you have use all the ingredients then add in the vanilla. 5. Spray a light coating of the bakeeasy spray over your 2 tins, then seperate the mixture between them, give them a little shake to spread the mixture right out to the edges. 6. Place both into a pre heated oven, mine is a fan assisted oven and I set it at about 160degrees and bake for about 40-45 minutes. You will know your cake is ready by poking a metal skewer or knife into the middle of it and if it comes out clean (no wet mixture on it) your cake is ready. 7. When they are ready, remove from the oven and leave in the tins for about 5 minutes. 8. lay out 2 cooling racks, lay a rack over your tin and carefully (with a teatowel) turn the whole thing over, the bakeeasy stuff should stop it sticking so it should come right out. Repeat again with your other cake. 9. Leave your cakes to cool completely before decorating. I usually sandwich mine together with vanilla buttercream and jam Buttercream recipe 250g butter, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 600g icing sugar 2 tablespoons milk In a big bowl mix the butter and vanilla together til it is creamy, then blend in the sugar a bit at a time, very slowly add the milk, keep whisking till it is all fluffy and creamy! You should be able to lift your whisk out of it and it leaves "peaks" Then spread some of your buttercream onto one of your sponges, making it as even as possible. On the other one, use whatever jam you like best. Turn one of the sponges onto the other so they are sandwiched together. Sift some icing sugar onto the top of them then taste!!!! Remember, before you can decorate a cake it has to taste good!!! LESSON 2! Equipment needed. A longer, non stick rolling pin a metal palette knife icing sugar a roller cutter or pizza cutter cake board jam cake smoothers Covering your cake with fondant This is quite a difficult thing to do, takes quite a few gos to get it looking good, lots of patience and practice!!! Ok, so once you have mastered the perfect sponge, you will want to ice it. First off, you need to get your sponge the shape you want it to be, so buy "carving it" or you buy cake levelers for this. After you have the shape you want, brush off as much of the loose crumbs as you can. Spoon a small amount of jam onto your cake board and place the cake in the centre of it. Next you need to make a batch of plain vanilla buttercream. You need to then cover your cake with a thin layer of buttercream, I use a metal palette knife for this. The buttercream will act to even your cake out and give your fondant a good base. Keep smoothing it out till it gets as smooth as possible, you will have some bumps and lumps but as long as they arent huge it will be ok! Once you have done this, put the whole cake into the fridge. This will harden it slightly, I usually leave mine in for about 30-40 mins. I made the mistake of leaving it overnight once and it was a nightmare! Just before you take your cake out of the fridge, you will need to roll out your fondant. You can buy white fondant from any supermarket and colour it yourself or you can buy pre coloured from any cake decorating suppliers. I will add below this how to colour fondant Ok, so there are a million ways to do the fondant, and everyone you speak to will have their own little tricks to make it a bit easier, the mor eyou do it, you will discover what is best for you! 1. first off, knead your fondant to make it smoother, dust some icing sigar on your worktop when you need to. Sometimes you will find hard lumps in fondant, just remove them. 2. Dust your board with icing sugar ( i sometimes use cornflour if I am doing big pieces) 3. Lay your fondant in the middle and start to roll out. 4. To keep it round, work it in an up down, the side to side motion, then diagonally across..... Keep doing this until you get the size that you need. (To find the size you need, measure the sides of your cake and across the stop) then leave some spare to work with. 5. Take your cake out of the fridge. 6. Lay your rolling pin across the top of your fondant, then roll it up inside it, so it is wrapping round your pin. 7. Gently lift over your cake and lay it onto it, making sure you have laid it in the right position to cover the whole thing. 8. Take one of your smoothers and smooth out the top of the cake by rubbing it gently with it in a circular motion. 9. Now for the sides, logic would tell you to rub the icing down the way to make it stick but its the opposite! Gently rub the fondant in an upwards way with your hands, pulling it out and putting it back on till you get it even with no overlapping. 10. once you have all of the fondant stuck to the cake you can use both of your smoothers at the same time to even the whole surface, remember to use an upward motion on the sides. 11. Once you are happy with that (remember it takes alot of practice!) Run your cutter round the bottom of the cake, very slowly till it is all cut. Using a roller cutter is better than a knife as a knife will drag the icing. 12. WaLa! You can decorate the bottom of the cake with ribbon or pipe some icing stars on it. 13. then get Creative! Add whatever you want to the top of your cake! Mixing Food Colouring into Fondant The best way to get good colours is to buy professional food colouring. You can get it in powder/liquid/paste form Once you have kneaded your white fondant, lay it on your worktop. If you have pale or wood worktops use a board!! Get some disposable food safe rubber gloves on! Take a metal skewer and put it into the food colour then push it into the fondant, do this a few times (remember the professional stuff is quite strong) then start to knead the fondant till you get the desired colour, if its not , add a bit more and keep going until it is completely mixed. Mixing strong colours can sometimes be a nightmare, getting a strong bright pink is quite hard to do, even if you buy bright pink food colour, it usually ends up red! I have recently found that using powder to make fushia pink works better. But to save yourself alot of hassle it could be easier to buy it pre coloured!! Hope this all helps a bit! Cant wait to see your creations!!