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Why settle for simple, store-bought cakes when we can have showstoppers that blow guests away? A lot of us simply do not know how easily attainable some of these cakes are. To give you a taste, some of the most elegant decorative patterns come ready-made or use stencils.
Put aside all the #nailedit meme negativity, add a dash of real effort and dare to learn. You will find that you are more capable than you ever imagined.
We will introduce you to some masterwork cakes and techniques to show you what is possible.
Here is what we will be covering:
Some will require more skill than others, and some appear more complicated to make than they are. See which cakes appeal to you and read our descriptions of the techniques used to make them.
Spring Daisy Lemon Layer Cake
This fondant cake will wow your Easter guests this spring with the ring of daisies outside and the light, fresh flavor inside. It also makes an excellent pièce de résistance to a brunch or spring soiree.
Coconut Angel Cake
Your guests will marvel at the simplicity of this cake design and be amazed that the cake flavor does not come at the cost of a ton of calories. It is a welcome addition to a table set for tea, coffee and friends.
Retro Christmas Tree Cake
Take a step back in time to the simpler days of your youth with this tree-shaped cake and white buttercream. Multi-colored fondant lights complete the image of being simple, fun and enjoyable.
Towering Haunted House Cake
Having this towering centerpiece for your Halloween table spread will be worth the effort you pour into it. Accept the challenge and your guests will be talking about it until next year when they ask whether you will make another!
If you want a fun, easy-to-prepare cake to share with brunch guests, this cake will bring the spirit of spring to your table. The sugar cookie bunnies and chamomile flowers prove that simple does not have to mean dull or bland.
Candy Cane Cake
This simple, seasonal cake will make your holidays extra festive. The peppermint bark that creates the simple mosaic on the sides serves as an excellent contrast if you want to unleash your creative spirit and decorate the top.
Raspberry Pink Velvet Cake
Raspberry cream cheese frosting over a raspberry pink velvet cake will be welcome at the dessert table for birthdays or bridal showers. Adorn the top with fresh raspberries and meringue cookies or swap them out for a design that better suits the occasion.
Robin’s Egg Coconut Cake
This robin’s egg blue frosting and the malted coconut cake can grace a table throughout most of the year. Robin’s egg decorations suit spring, but that same light blue also suits the summer and winter months.
The original recipe calls for premade fondant daisy flowers and mascarpone frosting to cover the delicious cake and lemon-coconut filling. However, with the right damask pattern or Cornelli lace, you can serve this springtime delight at other times of the year.
Stained Glass Cake
Art never looked so delicious with thin panes of Jolly Ranchers, white vanilla frosting, and chocolate chip cake. Serve this, and you are almost guaranteed to give your guests something marvelous that they have never seen before.
Candied Pretzel Cake
Liven up your winter party with a centerpiece that guests cannot wait to eat. Dye the candy-coated pretzels to suit any occasion. The simple recipe allows you to easily customize the pretzels to make it a cake for all seasons.
Spice Layer Cake
Try this cake for Thanksgiving this year and flex your culinary prowess. Besides looking amazing with the caramel acorns and leaves, the cinnamon, brown sugar and ginger bring autumn delights to the dessert table.
Sugared Rosemary and Citrus Cake
For the citrus lovers, this cake boasts of a fluffy single-layer cake and glaze with the exotic taste of blood oranges makes foodies of us all. The sugared rosemary and dried blood orange slices will give your guests a new experience for their palates.
Carrot Cake With “Flowers”
This carrot cake packs all the flavor without needing a host of extra add-ins like so many others like it. The “carrot flowers” are the brilliant yet simple touch that visitors will recognize immediately and try to emulate when they become hosts.
Cookie dough filling and a nice vanilla cake make this a fun dessert to serve year-round. Don’t spend extra on specialized Swiss dots when you have chocolate kisses in your kitchen already. Experiment with patterns to your heart’s content with the sudden abundance of “substitute Swiss dots.”
We would like to introduce you to some of our favorite techniques to get you hopping down the rabbit hole into a wonderland of baking bliss.
Use pressurized air to spray food coloring onto a cake in as many patterns as your mind can imagine. You can go for a color gradient, use stencils for intricate shapes, or combine those two to create masterpieces to wow your guests. Read our ultimate guide to airbrush kits and reviews to get a better understanding of this nigh essential technique.
Fondant and/or buttercream create a look of a woven basket on your cake. This texturing adds sweetness and complexity to your cake and makes you look like a culinary pro.
TIP: Practice techniques that involve buttercream over wax paper. Scrape the buttercream off the paper and back into your piping bag when you are out. Now, you are all reloaded to practice some more.
This V-shaped pattern works especially well on cakes with fondant. Add some life and uniqueness to a solid color cake with fondant or buttercream chevrons of a different color.
Apply some of these lacy, floral, or geometric damask patterns to add an air of elegance and intricacy to your cake. Apply them with an airbrush and stencil or use ready-made pieces. Either works well with fondant or buttercream cakes.
Utilize this delicate lace pattern on your cake to show off your virtuosity with piping pressure control. This technique’s broad utility allows you to decorate sections, irregularly shaped areas or the whole cake.
Use the whole cake as your canvas as you paint with a brush and food coloring. You could add fine details to specific sections of the cake or paint a whole mural. Again, you are only limited by your imagination.
Swirl different types of cake batter together to get a marble pattern. Different swirling methods will lead to different patterns. Some cakes display the marble pattern on the outside, while others use icing to make it a wonderful surprise when slicing and serving the cake.
This edible dust adds sparkle and shine to your culinary creations. Imagine a set of cupcakes with light, white buttercream patterns for a winter theme, and now add petal dust to give it just the slightest hint of sunshine on new snow.
These sugary dots add an excellent, textured look to your cake’s fondant. Perhaps less is more, and just a few Swiss dots achieves a look of sophistication through simplicity. Apply them in huge amounts in an intricate pattern; the choice is yours.
This pattern has four leaves/lobes that come together like a flower or clover. As with the Cornelli Lace, they may come in the form of stencils for airbrushing or ready-made pieces you can apply directly to your cake. The uniformity in a quatrefoil pattern can be used to contrast the unique airbrushing or painting you do in another section of the cake.
This describes the gradation of colors as you transition from one color to another, for example going from white to darkening grey shades to black. Accomplish this look with any number of stylistic approaches as an alternative to a single-color cake. The layers of cake may also form an ombre pattern to match (or contrast) the icing on the outside.
Now you have seen behind the curtain. The daunting cake designs are the result of individual skills that you can practice and master. You will have to equip yourself with the right tools to be successful.
Start with one cake and practice the techniques you will need. As you improve and try another cake, your repertoire of skills will grow.
If there is one thing to take away, it’s that the world has as many cake ideas as there are thoughts in your head, and then some. Join us here at Cooking Time Journal for some more great baking tips and inspiration. Now go experiment, enjoy and share that enjoyment with others!