Writing on cakes is as easy as ABC but it is actually one of the most dreaded aspects of cake decoration. Howbeit, it is one of the most important aspect of cake decoration and one that can ruin all yours of hard work. Trust me; been there done that and have disastrous cakes to prove it. But you can learn how to write on a cake by following some basic steps and consistent practice.
So we would go ahead and share some of the basic steps and also some expert tips. But first here are the tools and ingredients you need:-
How To Write On A Cake – Tools and Ingredients Needed
Piping Bag and Tips (you may also need a coupler if you’ll be changing tips)
Toothpicks (for tracing the letters)
Medium for writing ( buttercream, royal icing, chocolate, piping gel or fondant)
How To Write On A Cake – Basic Steps
Use The Right Medium
One question that many new cake decorators ask is “what is the right medium to use to write on a cake?
When we talk about medium, we are referring to what we use to write on the cake. It could be royal icing, buttercream, chocolate, piping gel and even fondant.
So what is the right medium? Answer; there is no right medium. Rather there is a right consistency and temperature. The right consistency is one that is fluid. By this we mean that you have to be able to easily maneuver the medium for the right flow.
The right temperature is room temperature for some medium and slightly cold for others. You would understand this more when you watch a video.
The major hurdle to writing perfectly on a cake is lack of practice. If you can give yourself to consistent practice, you’ll be amazed at how well you’ll become at it. So here are the steps to follow:-
Print out templates to place on a cake dummy ( for example; print out happy birthday template for an 8 inch round cake, then place it on an 8 inch cake dummy). You can also buy practice boards and templates. Remember to print different fonts and styles.
Prepare the medium to the right consistency
Ensure that you prepare whatever medium you are using properly. The right consistency goes a long way to determine the success of your writing.
Get The Right Piping Kit
Fit a small piping bag with the right writing tip. This is essential because the size of the writing tip you use can either add to or detract from the overall design of your cake. If your cake is small, then you definitely need a small piping tip.
Hold The Piping Bag Right
Fill the piping bag with the medium you want to use and start practicing on the template on the cake dummy. One basic thing to always remember is that your piping tip must never touch the surface of the cake. In this case now it would be the surface of the cake dummy.
Holding the piping bag between your thumb and forefinger, use the other hand to steady the piping bag. Then test the flow of the medium by piping out a straight line on another surface. If the line is not smooth and fine then either the pressure is too much or your hand is not steady. It might also be both. We’ll share a video that would demonstrate this better.
Try Free-hand Piping
After practicing with the template for a while try piping free hand. Still place the template in front of you so that you can see it. But now place a plain parchment paper on the cake dummy and practicing on it. The parchment paper helps you to save your medium because you can easily scrape it off and reuse.
The following video would show you how to make the templates and after that, you can watch click on the video to watch the next one on how to practice on the template.
Writing On A Cake – Styles and Methods
It’s now time to write on the cake after all the practice.
It is best to write on the cake first before placing or doing all the other decorations. That way you’ll place your message well and most importantly, you’ll be able to scrape off any mistake and repair the surface of the cake.
Carefully measure out the spacing of your message, whether in your mind’s eye or literally. Ensure that the message is well centered.
Do not write immediately on the cake, do a test run on a platter or on a cake board of the same circumference as the cake. This would help you with the spacing and centering the message right.
By this we refer to fonts and placements of messages on cakes. There are many fonts for writing on cakes but the most popular are the block/ Capital letters and cursive. If you get the hang of these two styles, you can always tweak them a bit and add your own personal flair to them.
Let us state here that it is really important to try out and practice as many styles as possible. Learn how to write on a cake with different fonts. And also learn how to place your message on the cake in different positions.
This would help you adapt your messages to different sizes and shapes of cakes and also designs.
There are also many methods of writing on a cake. You can either do free hand, use a toothpick to mark out the message or use an embosser to emboss the message on the cake. You can also use stencils to inscribe messages on a cake.
Another method of inserting a message onto a cake is by cutting it out with fondant and placing o write on the cake. This is where alphabet molds come in handy. From the foregoing video, you have seen how to pipe on a cake. We would show you some video later that would demonstrate how to use molds and fondant cutouts to write on a cake.
How To Write On A Cake – Expert Tips
Use Small Piping Bag To Write On A Cake
Using a small piping bag would give you better grip and control resulting in better writing. Although some experts can use any size of piping bag, but the best bet any day for a beginner is a small bag. In fact you can decide to learn how to make your own piping bag from parchment paper. The accompanying video would teach you how.
Use The Best Medium For You
Some decorators advocate that we use melted chocolate because it has more fluidity than buttercream. While this is true, it is also a known fact that some decorators work better with other mediums. So our advice here is that you try all available mediums and then settle on the one that works best for you.
Remember to practice consistently with them all before deciding that one or the other is the best.
Never Use Royal Icing On Moist Icing
Some of you have fallen in love with royal icing for writing on cakes for one reason or the other. But you have to bear in mind that royal icing is a medium that has to dry and if you put it on a moist surface it would dissolve.
So never attempt to pipe on a buttercream or similar icing with royal icing. The sugar and moist from the icing would ruin your lettering. If you insist on using royal icing, then pipe your lettering on a fondant plaque before placing the plaque on the cake.
This method even allows you to get the perfect lettering for your message because you can keep adjusting until you get it right.
Furthermore, you can pipe the message, allow it to dry and then paint in edible glitter dust. This would give the message more pizazz. If you don’t know how to paint on royal icing, click here to refer to our article on cake paints.
It’s Easier to Add than to Remove
This is a mantra that should always ring in your mind when writing on a cake and even cake decoration as a whole. So when you cover your cake, do the writing first. This would show you where you have space to pipe in borders and other embellishments. But if you decorate first, you stand the risk of ruining your work with any attempt to correct your lettering. You wouldn’t also have the leverage to align your message correctly.
Apply The Right Pressure
Always ensure that you keep a steady hand and the same pressure as you pipe out your letters. Do not fluctuate in the pressure you apply to the piping bag. If you do, your letters would be uneven.
Getting the steady pressure takes practice so we repeat the most important factor in learning how to write on a cake; practice!
How To Write On A Cake – Conclusion
We believe that you have learnt a thing or two about how to write on a cake. Hopefully, you would employ these tips and instructions and get to scripting perfect messages on your cakes.
However, for those of us who have given up hope of every knowing how to pipe your messages onto a cake, there is a way out. And that is using molds and tappit to cut out your message from fondant. This method also comes in handy for those times when you don’t want to be bothered with writing on a cake.
Molds are really convenient ways of getting the perfect lettering for your messages on cake. So don’t feel guilty about using them.
There are also other fun monograms and toppers with all sorts of messages that can be placed on cake. In fact the trend these days is to place those fancy messages as toppers rather than write on the cake.
That is not to say that it would not be worth your while to learn how to write on a cake. Every cake decorator needs to have as many skills as possible up their sleeves. You never can tell when they would come in handy.
That said, the final goal of every cake decorator is to have the perfect finish to every cake. And however you achieve that is all well and good!
The accompanying videos would show you how to use molds and tappits to add messages to a cake.