Want to decorate a cake but don’t have a cake decorating kit on hand? No problem! Long before decorating kits were widely available in stores, people used their own imaginations and available kitchen supplies to decorate cakes and cupcakes for special events. Here’s a few of the ways that you can decorate a cake without a decorating kit.
Comb the edges. One of my favorite ways to add a little “something extra” to a layered cake is by dragging a wide tooth comb along the sides. The comb evens out the frosting and leaves nice ridges behind. Be sure to clean and sterilize the comb first before using!
Swirl top. To create the swirl top you see on store bought cupcakes, all that’s needed is a Ziploc bag filled with your favorite frosting mix. Cut one corner (about 1/8″ of an inch), and squeeze out the frosting using a circular motion. I usually start at the edges and work to towards the center to create a small peak.
Drizzle icing. I prefer icing instead of frosting on Bundt cakes, cookies, and spicy cupcakes. To apply icing on top of a cake, gently pour the icing along the highest part of the cake and let it drizzle down the sides. The icing looks nice by itself although if you prefer some seasonal accents, sprinkle holiday non-pareils (sprinkles) over the top while the icing is still soft. My favorite icing recipe is browned butter glaze:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 TB hot water
Melt butter until it turns a golden brown. Blend in vanilla and sugar. Stir in hot water and beat by hand thoroughly until icing turns smooth. Add a little extra water if necessary so that the icing will pour easily.
Cross hatching. Crosshatching is nothing more than striping the top of a cake with a contrasting color of frosting. For this little embellishment, I reserve about 1/2 cup of my homemade butter cream frosting and tint it with a different color than the frosting. The tinted frosting is placed in a Ziploc bag, a tiny corner clipped out, and then the frosting applied in neat, parallel rows. The cake is rotated a half turn, and a new row laid down at 90 degree angle to the original row to create a “crosshatch” appearance.
More by this contributor:
10 strange baking tips your mother never taught you.
How to make Boston Brown Bread in the Crock Pot
Home made cookies that sell well at bake sales.