Great Tips and Tricks
1. Use 1 Tbls meringue powder with each pound of powdered sugar when making icing. Meringue powder acts as a stabilizer, keeping shortening and other liquids from separating, especially in hot weather. Add 1 - 2 Tbls of meringue powder to boxed cake mixes to help cakes rise higher.
2. Pan grease can be made using 1 cup Crisco, ¾ cup oil, and 1 cup flour. Mix well and store in an airtight container (does not need refrigeration). Use to prepare pans instead of shortening and flour. Pam Spray can also be used. Or use parchment paper in the bottom of the pan and just grease the sides.
3. After pouring batter in pan, "bang" the pan on the counter to bring air bubbles to the surface. This will reduce air holes in the baked cake.
4. To bake cakes that are level, bake at 325 on the center rack. Using pan wraps also helps. If cake still has a hump, press flat immediately after removing from oven with towel or cookie sheet, or cool and level with a long serrated knife or leveler.
5. When baking large cakes, use a Heating Core (can purchase at cake supply shops) or place a greased flower nail upside down in middle of pan before pouring in mixed cake.
6. If filling a cake, pipe a "dam" of icing 1/2" from the edge, then add filling. If using only icing, don't ice all the way to the edge before placing top layer. This will keep icing from bulging.
7. Color your icing at least 1 hour before you will use it. The color will darken. To make red icing, start with orange or pink and you won't have to use as much red. For black, mix leftover colored icing together and then add black color - or start with chocolate icing.
8. For smoother writing and printing, add ½ tsp of piping gel to each cup of icing. This will also give you pointier leaves.
9. Remove roses made directly on the flower nail with scissors. Open the scissors slightly, place underneath the rose and twist the flower away. Position on the cake, close the scissors, and using the end of the flower nail, push the rose off onto the cake.
10. Buttercream roses can be air-dried for 24 hours and then can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.
11. After rinsing your tips and coupler, put them in a small hosiery bag and tie to the top rack of your dishwasher; then run as usual. OR Place your used tips in a pot of boiling water mixed with a bit of Dawn dishwashing liquid. Swish tips around in pot to help loosen up icing. Drain, repeat if needed. Then rinse. A coupler brush (similar to a small bottle brush) can be purchased at cake supply stores.
12. When finished decorating, squeeze all extra icing out of bags. Turn bags inside out, scrape off most of icing onto paper towel, then let dry. Crumble off remaining dried icing into trash can or paper towel before washing bag. This saves rinsing wet icing down drain, lessening the likelihood of eventually clogging the drain.
13. Some imported tips are too small for U.S. couplers. Try dropping the tip into a #10 or # 12 tip then place that combo onto your coupler. Large tips can be dropped directly into the bag.
14. Add edible glitter to flower centers for a glistening effect. Sprinkle on white icing for a great snowy look.
15. Decorating bags can be used to fill deviled eggs, pipe dough for dumplings, fill cream puffs, refill twice baked potatoes, etc.
16. Contact a product's producer online or with the 800-number and ask where you can purchase the product wholesale. This will save money if you use a large quantity of that product.