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Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Arts and Crafts/Cake Decorating

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Cake Decorating
General Conference

Arts and Crafts

Skill Level 2
Year of Introduction: 1972


1. List equipment necessary for cake decorating.

Decorating bags
Small triangular shaped bags made from cloth, plastic or parchment paper which are fitted with decorating tips and filled with icing and used to pipe decorative items such as icing flowers, borders, scrollwork and lacework designs.
Decorating tips and collars
Sometimes called nozzles. These tips are used to create decorative items such as icing roses, shell borders, basketweave patterns and more. These come in various shapes and are used with an icing or pastry bag so that when the bag is squeezed the icing or cream is piped out in the shape of the tip, which may or may not be the final shape desired. For example, drop flowers are created with a single squeeze, while rose petals are created with skilled maneuvering. The collars are optional equipment that allow the tip to be changed without removing frosting from the bag.
Frosting spatula
Similar to a butter knife, but with smooth edges on the unsharpened blade. This is used to apply a smooth layer of frosting to a cake.
Flower nail
Shaped like a nail with an oversized head, this is used for piping royal icing and buttercream flowers onto before transferring to the cake.
Cake platter
A platter on which the cake sits as it is decorated and served. It can be as simple as a piece of corrugated cardboard covered with aluminum foil.

2. Learn from memory the two cake icings-butter cream and royal-and their proper uses. Name one other icing used for frosting.

Buttercream Icing

Buttercream Icing recipe is perfect for spreading or decorating.

Butter Cream Icing
Ingredients Procedure
  • 125 ml½ cup Butter, softened
  • 125 ml½ cup Shortening
  • 1000 ml4 cups Confectioner's sugar
  • 5 ml1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 30 ml2 tablespoons Milk or cream
  • Food coloring

(Put mouse over calculator to get English measurements)

Soften the butter by leaving it out of the refrigerator for a few hours before you need it. Place the butter and shortening in a mixing bowl and cream it with a mixer. Add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating it in as you go. Add the vanilla extract and milk and continue mixing.

For a white frosting, substitute more shortening for the butter (that is, use 250 ml1 cup shortening, and no butter). For a tastier icing, substitute butter for shortening.

Cover with a damp cloth until ready to use, or seal in an airtight container and refrigerate (it will keep for up to two weeks). Add food coloring as desired and mix it in thoroughly.

Royal Icing

This smooth, hard-drying icing is perfect for making decorations that last. It is also useful as a "cement" to fasten decorations together. Royal icing is edible, but not recommended for icing cakes.

Royal Icing
Ingredients Procedure
  • 1000 ml4 cups Confectioner's sugar
  • 45 ml3 tablespoons Meringue powder
  • 2.5 ml½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 125-180 ml½ -¾ cups Warm water
  • Food coloring

(Put mouse over calculator to get English measurements)

Combine the confectioner's sugar and the meringue powder in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer. Add the water, vanilla extract, and food coloring and beat on medium to high speed until the icing forms stiff peaks (5-7 minutes). Adjust the consistency by adding either more confectioner's sugar or more water. Use immediately, or cover in an airtight container and refrigerate. Royal icing hardens when exposed to air.

Stabilized Whipped Cream Icing

Stabilized Whipped Cream Icing
Ingredients Procedure
  • 250 ml1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 30 ml2 tablespoons Confectioners' Sugar
  • 2.5 ml½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 30 ml2 tablespoons Piping Gel

(Put mouse over calculator to get English measurements)

Combine whipping cream and sugar in mixing bowl. Whip to soft peak stage. Add Piping Gel and vanilla, then continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Do not overbeat. Makes 1 1/2 to 2 cups.

3. Learn and demonstrate proper construction of the decorating tube using parchment, wax papers, or a disposable bag. Show proper method of inserting tip, brushing with color, filling with icing, and folding of top. What is the name of the top fold?

This video shows the basics of assembling and using a disposable bag"

This video shows how to brush with color.

When using parchment or wax paper, the top of the "bag" is folded with what is called a "diaper fold":

4. Name three essential steps to good cake decorating.

Icing Consistency
If the consistency of your decorating icing is not just right, your decorations won't be right either. Just a few drops of liquid will make a great deal of difference in your results.
Correct Bag Position
The way your decorations curl, point, and lie depends not only on the icing consistency but also on the way you hold the bag and the way you move it. Bag positions are described in terms of both angle and direction.
Angle refers to the position of the bag relative to the work surface. There are two basic angle positions.
90° angle, or straight up, perpendicular to the surface. Used when making stars or flat petal flowers.
45° angle, or half way between vertical and horizontal. Used for writing and borders.
The angle of the bag to the work surface is only half the story of the bag position. The other half is the direction in which the back of the bag is pointed. Correct bag direction is easiest to learn when you think of the back of the bag as the hour hand of a clock. When you hold the bag with the tip in the center of the clock, you can sweep out a circle with the back end of the bag. Pretend the circle you formed in the air is the clock face. The hours on the clock face correspond to the direction you point the back end of the bag.
Pressure Control
The size and uniformity of your icing designs are affected by the amount of pressure you apply to the bag and the steadiness of the pressure : how you squeeze and relax your grip on the decorating bag. Your goal is to learn to apply pressure so consistently that you can move the bag in a free and easy glide while just the right amount of icing flows through the tip. Practice will help you achieve this control.

5. Demonstrate pressure control with tubes. Learn the technique and name the proper tip (tube) used to make the following:

a. Star, fill-in and border

Use the star tube. Hold the bag in an upright position, and lightly touch the tip of the tube on the cake. Apply pressure to the bag until the dab of icing is the required size. Cease the pressure, and lift the tube quickly from the cake.

b. Rosette

Use a star tip. Position the star tip just above the cake at a 90 degree angle. Squeeze out icing, making a small circle just large enough to leave a small opening at the center. When you return to the start of the circle, continue squeezing out icing as you spiral the star tip into the center of the circle. Stop squeezing and lift the star tip straight up from the center of the spiral.

c. Shell border

Use a star tip. Hold the icing bag at a 45 degree angle with the star tip just touching the cake. Squeeze the icing bag until the icing starts to make a small mound on the cake. Slowly start pulling the star tip away from the icing mound, and simultaneously decrease the pressure on the icing bag, until the "stem" is narrow. Stop squeezing out icing and remove the tip from the cake. This is one shell. To make a series of shells for a border, place the star tip over the narrow "stem" of the previous shell. Squeeze the icing bag until the icing starts to make a small mound on the cake that covers the unfinished "stem" of the previous shell. Continue by slowly pulling the star tip away from the icing mound, and simultaneously decrease the pressure on the icing bag, until the "stem" of the new shell is narrow. Stop squeezing out icing and remove the tip from the cake. Repeat until the desired number of shells have been made.

d. "S" design

Use a round tip or a star tip. Hold the bag at a 90 degree angle at the top perimeter of an iced cake. Gently squeeze the bag, directing the flow of icing to create a horizontal "S" shape near the edge of the cake's surface. Stop squeezing, and lift straight up to stop the flow of icing. Create another "S" shape next to the previous one, creating scrolls all the way around the perimeter of the cake. Let the icing harden for 15 minutes before moving the cake.

e. Ribbon

Use a flat decorating tip, such as a rose petal tip or a leaf tip. Hold the icing bag at a 45 degree angle, with the flat side of the decorating tip near the surface of the cake. Start to squeeze out some icing, then maintain consistent pressure on the bag as you simultaneously move the decorating tip away from the "ribbon". You can vary the appearance of the ribbon by tipping the decorating tip slightly onto one edge, by moving the decorating tip gently from side to side to create "ribbon waves", or in a partial circle to create a ribbon garland below a shell. If a rose petal tip is used for a ribbon, the wider edge of the tip is usually at the top of the ribbon.

f. Zigzag border

Use a star tip or round tip. Hold the decorating tip at a 45 degree angle. Maintain consistent pressure on the icing bag as you squeeze out the icing and simultaneously move the decorating tip back and forth in a zigzag motion. When the design is completed, stop the pressure and raise the decorating tip away from the cake. Note: always pull the tip AWAY from the design, not toward it.

g. Leaves

Use a leaf tip. Hold the tip at a 45 degree angle with the flat side of the tip toward the cake. Squeeze out icing and simultaneously pull the tip away. When the leaf is the right length release the pressure and lift the tip away from the leaf. For a slightly pointed leaf, slightly twist the tip as you release the pressure and lift the tip away from the leaf. To make a leaf that is slightly on its side, slightly tip the tip to one side.

6. Name four color techniques. Demonstrate two, including two-color icing.

  • Different colors of icing, each in their separate bags.
  • Spatula Striping (two different colors of icing in one bag)
  • Deep Color method (paint the entire inside of the bag with food color, then fill the bag with icing of a similar color)
  • Color Striping (paint a stripe inside the bag with food color, then fill the bag with icing of a different color)
  • Masking (use a pattern or a stencil, and color only the open part of the stencil)
  • Spraying (using food color in a sprayer to add color interest to the decorative design, often used with masking, or when large areas need to be colored)

7. Learn to make the following flowers:

a. Sweet pea

b. Rosebud

c. Full American beauty rose

  • Use a rose petal tip and a flower nail.
  • Add a small piece of waxed paper to the flat pedestal of the flower nail with a dot of frosting.
  • Position the petal tube vertically in the center of the flower nail and begin lightly squeezing out frosting while twirling the flower nail with your fingers to make a small frosting cone.
  • Once the cone is slightly taller than the width of the base of the cone, stop squeezing the bag and pull it away.
  • Turn the bag at a 45-degree angle and position the petal tube about 1/3 of the way down from the top of the cone.
  • Pipe a petal all the way around the cone at this angle for just one full turn of the flower nail so the ends of the petal are touching.
  • Remove pressure and pull the bag away.
  • Angle the piping bag at a 45-degree angle or slightly more and position the petal tube on one side of the cone.
  • Squeeze the bag gently and pipe a ribbon of frosting about 1/3 of the way around the cone while spinning the flower nail to create a petal.
  • Continue doing this until the rose is the size desired.
  • Let the rose dry until it is slightly firm, and then transfer it onto your cake.

d. Drop flower

  • Use a star tip.
  • Hold the tip in a 90 degree position with the tip not quite touching the cake surface.
  • As you squeeze out icing, twist the tip and bag about a quarter-turn with your wrist, keeping the tip in the same place on the cake.
  • Release the pressure and lift the tip.

NOTE: There are other tips that can be used for making drop flowers, but the technique is the same: 90 degree position, squeeze, twist, and release.

8. Demonstrate writing technique using two different tips and methods.

9. Decorate a doll cake or a cake prepared in a specialty cake pan using star fill-in method. Use at least two colors to make the design or pattern.

10. Make a special occasion cake of your choice using two or more borders of different types, and a floral arrangement.

Almost anything can be a special occasion. Have fun. INSERT HOW TO DO THESE.

11. Make a heart cake using borders, florets, string work, and writing.

A good valentines project, or try an "I love my Pathfinder Director" cake. Or maybe an "I love the Lord!" which would be better.


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