In anticipation of approaching holiday dessert banquets, National Cake Decorating Day provides an ideal occasion to hone one’s decorating skills. Halloween will arrive in just a few short weeks! Developing the ability to use icing and fondant to fashion spooky spirits, spiderwebs, pumpkins, and broomsticks could serve as an ideal preparatory exercise for eventually adorning cakes, cupcakes, and cookies with elaborate snowy Christmas scenes. Consider how much fun it would be to experiment with different hues of frosting—it would be like dying Easter eggs with lickable utensils.
The background of National Cake Decorating Day
Whether you choose to utilize pre-colored frosting or create your own by combining food coloring with pastels and watercolor paints, you are certain to be swept away to a time when you were a child. (Do you recall the color formula “red and yellow make orange” as well as others?) Once the icing hues have been combined, the true excitement of cake decorating commences. Are you an enthusiast of watercolors? A garden scene can be evoked on a frosted cake by diluting the frosting with a small amount of water and then applying the delicate wash of color with a brush.
If you prefer a more contemporary aesthetic, consider a fashionable drip cake: Allow a contrasting color to pour over the entire care after frosting it, ensuring that it runs down the sides. So proud would be Jackson Pollock. One does not necessarily require a holiday to embellish a confection. Additionally, cake decoration is not restricted to full-size cakes. Even when preparing a treat for the children after school, miniature cakes, cupcakes, and biscuits serve as ideal blank canvases to embellish with one’s artistic vision.
The act of cake decorating can range in complexity from the minimal use of a single frosting color for the exterior, interspersed with various hues between layers, to the extravagant constructions admired on magazine covers. Any unique addition is appreciated. That does indeed consist of multicolor sprinkles. During the reign of Elizabeth I, travelers to foreign lands who brought back exotic new ideas increasingly influenced culinary preferences; in the late 1500s, extravagant banquets started to feature cakes molded into shapes and decorated with almond paste (similar to marzipan). Upon his triumphant return from exile in France, pastry-obsessed King Charles II was accompanied by a cohort of his preferred French pastry chefs.
These individuals, uninspired by the drab appearance of the English almond buns, proposed that they be dusted with a sugar crust before being adorned with ornaments. Although sugar sculpting for festive occasions had become a specialization of Italian chefs as early as the 1600s, these decorations were not applied to cakes for nearly a century. Mrs. Raffald’s “The Experienced English Housekeeper,” which was published in 1769, contains three consecutive recipes for a decadent cake, marzipan, and frosting. At the National EXPO Cake Show in Monroe, Michigan, the International Cake Exploration Society (ICES) was established on the premise that cake decorators would support one another and exhibit expertise in their field. Attendees of their Annual Convention and Show, which is rotated annually across the United States, are treated to classes, demonstrations, and exhibitions of exquisite cakes and sugar art.
Activities for National Cake Decorating Day
Exercise ingenuity with color palettes
Why should the term “palette” terrify you? It simply refers to a color scheme that is harmonious and begins with two tones. Consider holiday hues and team colors: orange and black, red and green, or purple and gold. You could designate one of these pairings as your primary color scheme. Continue by incorporating accent and contrast hues to complete the palette. As an illustration, when assembling a Halloween party utilizing orange and black, one might incorporate trace quantities of brilliant gold (possibly shimmering metallic gold! ), dark brown, white, or even a menacing touch of brilliant blood-red. Do you know what? This color scheme is suitable for use throughout the entire gathering.
Examine the art of cake decorating and Zen.
Today, are you feeling a little existentialist? Adopt the “naked cake” aesthetic by omitting the outer icing and focusing on the hues of the buttercream that separate the layers—an ideal occasion to implement the newly designed color scheme. Alternatively, one may experiment with a spectrum of light to darkening the same color in order to produce an ombré effect. (A portion of this cake style reveals its true hues when displayed on a plain white dessert plate.)
Unleash the inner beast of decoration
Whether your aesthetic leans towards somber decor or romanticism, there exists an unadorned frosted cake poised for you to imprint with your unique touch. Thus, you could go girly for Halloween (princess costume, anyone?). or go ghoulish with bats, scorpions, and vampires; the primary concern is individual expression. Friends, that truly is the frosting on the cake. (Obviately, we were obligated to do that eventually.)
4 simple techniques for adorning Halloween treats
Apply marzipan (almond paste, which can be found in most craft or cake decorating stores) that has been colored, rolled into thin sheets, and cut into simple shapes such as pumpkins using decorative cookie cutters, to your frosted cupcakes or cookies.
Apply a dim quantity of blood-red or black icing to the lower corner of a sandwich-sized plastic bag, then trim off an extremely minute corner with your finger. Squeeze the icing to create an eerie Halloween message that can be written on your cake.
Novelty candies, such as gummy spiders, are the simplest decorations to adorn biscuits or cakes with; simply press them into place, and your confections are instantly embellished.
Employ cookie cutters that bear the likenesses of a snowflake, heart, turkey, or Christmas tree, and embellish them with jubilant frosting hues, glittering candies, and sprinkles. Thus, all of our Halloween cake decorating techniques can be applied to any occasion, including New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day.
NATIONAL CAKE DECORATING DAY DATES