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Keeping it All Together - The Basic Function of Icing in Cake Decoration

Jul 9, 2008
If you are a familiar with the world of cake decoration, chances are that you are also familiar with the basic function of icing. Basically, cake icing has three separate and important functions. First, cake icing, of course, makes a cake look nice. Cake icing is the pretty shimmer on the cake, the thing that holds it all together. The second main function of cake icing is to reflect the theme or design of the cake. The cake icing helps to hold together the overall design of the cake. Finally, cake icing can help prolong the cake. Many people don't realize it, but cake icing can help keep the cake fresh.

Cake Icing Can Pull Your Entire Cake Together

Your cake and the cake's icing can help pull together the whole cake. The cake icing should always reflect the flavors and theme of the cake. For instance, if it is winter and you are baking a traditional fruitcake, you will want to make sure that your cake icing accompanies this kind of cake. For a rich and delicious winter fruitcakes, you will probably want to use an icing that involves mulled wine, brandy and sherry. You can use seasonal fruits to complement your cake, including glace cherries, pineapple, dried peaches, nuts and whatever is seasonal in your particular area. The perfect type of icing for a fruitcake would probably be a caramel glaze.

Using Your Cake Icing as the Finishing Touch

Your cake icing is by far one of the most important parts of your cake decoration process because it represents the finishing touch on your cake. However, although like it may seem like one of the easiest parts of cake decorating, putting the icing on the cake can be more difficult than you might expect. First, make sure that you fill the pastry or piping bag properly. If possible, get someone to help you with this important step. Here is a simple tip that can save you lots of grief. Use a tall glass of water and put the pastry or piping bag in the glass of water. Make sure to fold back the top of the bag over the rim. That way, you can use both hands to hold the decorating bag properly. Believe it or not, many problems related to cake decorating have to do with the piping or pastry bag.

Consistency is Key in Cake Decorating

As in other aspects of life, consistency is key when it comes to cake decorating. More specifically, you want to make sure you have established a good consistency in the cake icing. You don't want it to be too thin or too thick. You also want to make sure you have a consistent grip on your pastry or piping bag. As for the icing itself, there are three basic consistencies. The three basic icing consistencies include soft, medium and stiff. Of course, there are also variations on this consistency.

How Do You Know Which Consistency to Use?

So there are three basic icing consistencies that you have to work with: soft, medium and stiff. But how do you know which one you need? Most of the time, it will be obvious and your intuition will probably guide you toward the right choice. But occasionally, you may run into some gray areas. In general, here are some guidelines for choosing the correct icing. Soft icing is usually used to cover the entire body of the cake, or for writing messages. Medium icing is usually used for ropes, borders and decorative puffs and shells. Stiff icing is used to for decorative shapes such as flowers.
About the Author
Josephine Gauttier is the author of the popular eBook "The Art of Cake Decorating". You can learn more about cake decorating at http://www.artofcakedecorating.com
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