If I had to pick 4 essential must have cake decorating tools – they are the 4 below:

    1. Small offset spatula
    2. Decorating Comb
    3. Serrated Spatula
    4. Jumbo Tip Set

While I love making fondant cakes, all fondant cakes have a buttercream base and getting the buttercream right is the key to a pretty cake. I’ve been cleaning out kitchen drawers and cabinets lately, but these are 4 items that I’ll always hang onto!

essential cake decorating tools

I recently made my mom’s secret carrot cake recipe and had a few friends ask on Instagram about how I did the design and piping. If you forced me to choose one piping tip that I was allowed to keep out of my collection it is the Ateco 826 which I used for the large swirls on this cake. They also make awesome rosettes, swirls and gorgeous cupcakes. The equivalent in Wilton tips (which might be a little easier to find at your local store) is the Wilton 1M tip. buttercream techniques

Steps to get this frosting look –

  • Begin filling and  “crumb coating” the cake using the angled icing spatula (#1 above).
    This means putting the first cake layer down onto your cake board or plate, piling on frosting and smoothing it to an even layer. Repeat with the remaining layers and then do a very thin coat over the entire cake to seal in all the crumbs.
  • To get straight edges, use the smooth side of Ateco Decorating Comb (rectangle)  (#2 above) and spin the cake around until all the gaps are filled in. Chill the cake for a few hours to let the frosting set up.
  • Now you are ready for the final coat of frosting. Generously spread frosting on in about a 1/2 inch layer using the angled spatula first  (#1) and then the flat side of the decorating comb (#2) to get it nice and even. Do the top first and then work your way down to the sides.
  • Once it’s smooth, use the serrated spatula (#3 above) to make the ridges in the top. The exact one I have is discontinued, but Wilton makes a serrated cake spatula that is very similar. To be honest, any serrated bread knife would also do the trick.
  • Now you are ready for the large top swirls using the Ateco 826 or Wilton 1M tip (#4 above). To make this design you use a sideways 9 motion and after each 9, you stop and start the next 9 overlapping the tail of the first until you are all the way around the cake. Kinda like this:Sideways Nine Frosting Pattern
  • For the finishing detail on the base, I use a medium Wilton star tip and make a similar 9 motion, this time horizontally along the bottom of the cake all the way around.

Tada! With just a few simple and inexpensive tools you can create a fun and professional looking cake!

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