The cake has been elevated to an art form, and with the many ways that a cake can be decorated, the possibilities are truly endless. In fact, in recent years, many people have expressed their interest in becoming cake decorators. If you are one of those people who plan to make a career as a cake decorator, or if you are planning to make a business out of making cakes, or perhaps you are the homebaker who simply wants to make sure that her baked products have visual appeal, then you must have a lot of creativity, as well as an extraordinary level of attention to small details. And although some cake designs could appear to be seemingly complex and complicated, these feat can be easily achieved by using the right tools and having loads of patience. While newcomers to cake decorating who are merely testing the waters would not invest in a complete cake decorating tools right away, those who have been at it for a long time know how a complete set of equipment could make things a whole lot easier.
Here are some of the best cake decorating tools that should be in a professional or experienced cake decorator’s kitchen:
- A complete set of frosting tips. While beginners don’t really need to get this right off the bat, the experienced cake decorator should take advantage of having a lot of frosting effects to choose from. Frosting tips come in many shapes, and you could get as many as 52 frosting tips in a set. Round tips are best used when writing letters and numbers, and making lines, dots, and beading. Star tips are used when making stars and rosettes, while basket-weave tips are great for making lattices, ridged lines, and cross-hatching effects. And while you’re at it, having a coupler or two for your pastry bags is handy as well, as they allow you to use different kinds of frosting tips without having to change your pastry bag.
- Decorative dusts. You can choose to add a shimmering, sparkling, or shiny effect on your cakes using decorative dusts. Luster dust adds sparkle and shine to a cake. Petal dust, on the other hand, provides color without the shimmering effect. It is often used to make gumpaste flowers because its matte finish provides a natural, realistic look for flower decorations. Pearl dust has an iridescent, translucent finish with a hint of barely-there color. And lastly, there’s the disco dust, which is distinct and not-so-subtle with its glittery finish. Choose the last one if you wish to attract attention to your cake right away.
- A set of modeling tool. This is a very versatile set of tools used for creating sugar flowers and sculpting cake figurines. A set usually contains 8 tools which are composed of the following:
- Ball tool. An indispensable part of your decorating kit, a ball tool is used to make sugar flowers. It has rounded ends which are used to smoothen out the edges of sugar flower petals, making them more realistic. It is also used to make indentations in the fondant, and it gives the gumpaste pieces more definition and texture.
- Flower & leaf shaper tool. Also known as the Dresden tool, this is perfect for making indentations and detailed veins, adding more definition and depth to your sugar leaves and flowers.
- Bulbulous cone tool. A very versatile tool that is used to create hollows and make frills. Simply roll the tool back and forth to the side of the paste or fondant to create the frill.
- Scallop and comb tool. The comb end of this tool is used to mark, emboss, or create a serrated design such as stitched clothing or markings for hair. The scalloped design on the other end is great when modeling animals or people because you can use it to make facial features such as mouths and eyes.
- Bone tool. A tool that has two rounded ends that look like a bone, this one is used to soften and shape sugar paste flowers. It is also frequently used for thinning and feathering out the edges of leaves, flower, and petals.
- Blade and shell tool. You can create embossed shell patterns and designs from one end, and then use the other end to cut and trim paste or fondant.
- Serrated and tapered cone tool. This double-ended cone tool is mainly used for indentation and embossing. The tapered end is used to make a cone-shaped hollow at the center of sugar flowers, while the serrated cone can be used to emboss star patterns.
- Tapered cones 5/6 star tool. A tool used to make star patterns, but is more often used to create centers of flowers that have 5 or 6 petals, hence the name.
- Cake dowels. In order to provide support and stability to the top tiers of a stacked cake, you will need to stick in dowels. Usually 4 dowels are placed for every cake tier.
- Cake boards. If you plan on decorating cakes for business, you also need to have cake boards. They add stability to your cakes, and are a great way to transport them.
- Cake stencils. If you don’t have the luxury of time to decorate a cake, cake stencils are a great way to quickly create designs without putting much of an effort. Usually made of food-grade plastic, it is a quick and simple way to apply a pattern or a design to a cake surface. All you have to do is apply icing or ink through its perforations. You can put royal icing on top, or dust luster powder, or even airbrush the color, and then remove the stencil from the cake to reveal the intricate patterns.
- Impression Mat. Made of silicone, impression mats are a quick, easy way to design the surface of fondant, and is flexible enough to conform to the shape of any cake surface. You simply put an impression mat on top of a rolled out fondant, and then apply pressure all across the surface either by using a fondant roller or your hands. It creates a deceptively intricate and textured design, and makes a great impact especially on simple, bare white cakes.
- Airbrush equipment. If you are pressed for time and you want to see quick results, having an airbrush equipment will certainly come in handy. You can bring your skills to the next level using this equipment. Use it to add more definition and dimension in your cakes with the icing as your canvas, and food coloring as your paint. The airbrush gun gives you a constant flow of color and a smooth application, resulting to intricate details and gradient effects.
- Fondant extruder. This equipment is used to create designs that are too difficult to create by hand, or is just way too time-consuming. It is usually accompanied with several discs that produce different designs and effects. This is the perfect tool when you need to have a large amount of fondant extruded into a particular shape, such as hair, grass, lattice, ribbons and bows.
Having these advanced cake decorating tools on hand will make cake decorating a breeze. Not only will you have an easier time in the kitchen, but using these cake decorating tools will also produce more visually appealing cakes. For the basic cake decorating tools, click here.