It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: the timer buzzes, indicating your baked goods are finally done. You carefully measured each ingredient, put your hand mixer to good use, and now it’s finally time to reap the reward. But despite what you might think, you’re not done yet. In fact, this is where the real fun begins–it’s time to decorate!
Decorating and finishing techniques can transform an ordinary-looking cake or pastry into a work of art. From simple sprinkles to complex garnishes, there’s no shortage of ways to get creative with baked goods. That being said, many bakers find this part of the process overwhelming–how does one know where to begin? This guide will provide you with everything you need to know to create beautiful (and delicious) masterpieces every time.
Deciding How to Decorate Your Baked Goods
There are an endless amount of decorating techniques to choose from. To help narrow down your options, here are a few key questions to ask yourself.
For starters, consider the temperature at which the dessert will be served. Certain garnishes, like buttercream, can be a bit finicky when it comes to temperature. Nobody wants a rock-hard, sweet butter block instead of a fluffy frosting, so it’s important to choose the right type of garnish based on the temperature.
Next, think about your timeline. If you’re short on time, you don’t want to be fussing around with fresh fruit that’s going to wilt before you even get to serve your masterpiece. So, it’s best to choose garnishes that can be done in advance. Chocolate garnishes or stable ganaches are great options that still look amazing, even if you make them the day before.
And the final consideration is storage. If you have limited refrigerator space, you don’t want to be trying to cram in a bunch of desserts that require refrigeration. Instead, opt for finishes that don’t need to be chilled, like powdered sugar, ganaches, buttercreams, and sprinkles.
Tips for Decorating Baked Goods
Once you’ve taken into account factors like temperature and timing, it’s time to start decorating! No matter which techniques you choose, there are some tips and tricks that you need to know to master the art of decorating and get the best results.
One of the most popular decorating techniques is piping. With a piping bag and the right tip, you can create intricate designs like flowers, borders, and other decorations on your cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. You can use a small tip for intricate details or go big with larger tips for frosting cupcakes and creating bolder designs.
Stenciling is another fun way to take your baked goods to the next level. By using a stencil, you can create stunning patterns or shapes on the surface of your cakes or cookies. Just make sure you choose the right size and shape stencil for your baked good to get that perfect design.
And let’s not forget about edible decorations! Sprinkles, edible glitter, and sugar pearls are an easy and fun way to add some pizzazz to your baked goods. The key is to apply them while the frosting or glaze is still wet so they stick and don’t fall off.
Finishing techniques are the final touches that can add an extra layer of flavor or texture or create an eye-catching finish that will make your baked goods stand out. One popular finishing technique is glazing, which can add a deliciously sweet and shiny coating to your treats. Whether you’re using a simple powdered sugar and milk glaze or something more elaborate, make sure to brush it on while your baked goods are still warm for the best effect.
Another easy and effective finishing technique is dusting. With just a sprinkle of powdered sugar or cocoa powder, you can add a touch of elegance and texture to your desserts. Pro tip: use a fine-mesh strainer or sifter to achieve an even dusting that will impress all your guests.
Lastly, brushing your baked goods with simple syrups can add flavor and moisture to your treats. You can use a variety of flavored syrups, from vanilla to citrus, to add an extra layer of deliciousness. Just brush the syrup onto your baked goods while they’re still warm to get that perfect coverage.
Adding a few well-placed garnishes can take your treats from ordinary to extraordinary. One popular garnishing technique is using fresh fruit, which can add a pop of color and freshness to your desserts. Whether it’s sliced strawberries on a cheesecake or a sprinkle of blueberries on top of a muffin, fresh fruit is always a winner!
Another garnishing technique that can add a touch of elegance is using chocolate curls. These delicate curls can be made by melting chocolate, spreading it thinly on a baking sheet, letting it cool, and then using a knife or vegetable peeler to scrape it into curls. Just a few of these on top of a cake or cupcake can make all the difference.
And finally, using edible flowers as a garnish is a beautiful and unexpected touch. You can use a variety of edible flowers, such as pansies or rose petals, to add a pop of color and an extra layer of flavor. Just make sure to do your research and only use flowers that are safe to eat.
Garnishing is all about achieving an attractive and balanced presentation. Don’t go overboard with too many garnishes, as this can look cluttered and overwhelming. Instead, choose a few well-placed garnishes that complement the flavors and colors of your baked goods.
Icing and Frosting
Icing and frosting are the stars of the decorating show. From buttercream to royal icing and fondant, there are countless techniques for achieving the perfect look and taste.
Buttercream is a classic icing that can be flavored in countless ways and is versatile enough to use on everything from cupcakes to layer cakes. To get that smooth and creamy texture, let your butter soften at room temperature before mixing it with powdered sugar and other ingredients. And if you want to add a pop of color to your buttercream, just mix in a few drops of food coloring until you achieve the desired hue.
Royal icing is your go-to if you’re looking for a technique for creating intricate designs. Made from powdered sugar and egg whites, royal icing dries hard and is perfect for creating details like flowers, borders, and lettering. To achieve fine details, use a piping bag with a small tip.
And for a more elaborate look, fondant is the way to go. This pliable icing can be molded into any shape or design, making it perfect for creating three-dimensional decorations like flowers, animals, and even people. Just be sure to roll out your fondant on a clean, flat surface dusted with powdered sugar or cornstarch to prevent sticking.
The key to achieving the desired texture and flavor is in the ratio of ingredients. Play around with different ratios of butter, powdered sugar, and flavorings until you find the perfect combination that suits your taste buds!
Taste the Difference with KBC
In the world of baking, decorations and garnishes are the finishing touches that can level up your desserts. By incorporating these techniques, you can create stunning and visually appealing treats that will leave your guests in awe.
But if you’re feeling overwhelmed or don’t have the time to perfect your decorating skills, don’t worry–Kirshenbaum Baking Co. is here to help! Our team of expert bakers uses only the finest ingredients to create delicious treats that are as beautiful as they are tasty. And for those who can’t make it to our bakery, we offer convenient cookie delivery options to satisfy your sweet tooth from afar.
So, whether you’re looking for a show-stopping cake or a simple yet elegant cookie, Kirshenbaum Baking Co. has got you covered. Come and taste the difference for yourself!