How-to Video: Piping Icing on a Cupcake 101 (Ovaltine Cupcake with Nutella Buttercream)

I was amazed recently to find Ovaltine on the shelves at the grocery store. I hadn’t had or thought about it in about 35 years. There are certain memories of childhood that hold space in the brain in a sensory way, and Ovaltine is one of them. I can’t remember an actual occasion of drinking it, but I do remember the excitement and malty flavor from way back. When I drink it now I recall our black and white television, big cars with no seat belts, sans-a-belt slacks and the Brady Bunch. These were simple days, so it seemed to a 7 year old, and Ovaltine was one of the glimmering bonuses that life had to offer. Keep in mind that my household was without Twinkies or Soda, so when Ovaltine hit the threshold it was an occasion, a glorious one at that. It was like drinking a malted milk ball and I was in heaven.

In order to make the cupcakes look as gorgeous as they taste, you’ll want to decorate them like a pro. I’ve put together a video on how to pipe on a perfect base of icing. It can be the foundation for other decorations or leave it alone and it is a classic finish. I will share some tips on how to use the pastry bag and the key to piping anything from stars to roses.

Read More

How to Write on a Cake

How to Write on a Cake | Photo by Zoë François

For many happy occasions you’ll want to write a special sentiment on a cake. The problem is not what to say, but how to make it both legible and gorgeous. Everyone has had a good chuckle over the cakes on Cake Wrecks, but we want to avoid having our efforts resemble those mishaps. With a few tricks of the trade and a bit of practice anyone can learn how to write on a cake like a pro. In my previous how-to videos we have built the foundation for this cake and are now ready to put on the finishing touches

Part 1: Cut and Fill a Cake Like a Pro!

Part 2: Crumb Coat Your Cake

Part 3: Smoothly Cover your Cake with Icing

Read More

How-to Video: Smoothly Buttercream a Cake (recipe included)

how to buttercream a cake | photo by Zoë François

In the first two cake decorating videos I demonstrated how to cut, fill and crumb coat your cake. Now we are ready to put on the final coat of icing. I chose a very simple vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream to cover the cake. It is elegant, smooth and has a wonderfully rich flavor, but isn’t overly sweet. It can be left pure vanilla or you can easily add flavors to compliment your cake. This buttercream is wonderful for piping roses or doing basket weave as well. Before we get into the finishing touches we want to create a smooth surface, which will act as a canvas. If your cake is straight and smooth it will be stunning without any flourishes at all, but it will also show off your decorating prowess if you want to add some flowers or writing.

Also see my other How-to Cake Decorating Videos:

Part 1: Cut and Fill a Cake Like a Pro!

Part 2: Crumb Coat Your Cake

Read More

How to Crumb Coat a Cake

How to crumb coat a cake (video) | Photo by Zoë François

There is nothing more disappointing than having a cake that is speckled with crumbs, unless of course that is the look you are going for, like my Brooklyn Blackout Cake. However, sometimes you’ll want pristine white or a perfectly smooth surface to write on and for this it’s helpful to know how to crumb coat a cake. Once you have the dome trimmed off the top of your cake, the layers cut and then assembled with your favorite filling, it is time for a crumb coat. This is a quick and simple step that acts as a guarantee that your final layer of icing will be clean and crumb free. This technique is particularly helpful when you are working with Devil’s Food Cake and White icing, the ultimate combination in taste and pesky crumbs.  Read More

How-to Video: Cut and Fill a Cake like a Pro! (Cake Decorating Series)

As a result of your comments about what cake decorating techniques you want to learn I have created a new series on Zoë Bakes. I figure we should start at the beginning. There is no sense in learning how to pipe the perfect rose if your cake is listing and the icing is falling off or covered in cake crumbs. It is just as important to know how to slice and fill your cake, as it is to write “Happy Birthday” in fancy letters, so I am going to show you how to create a professional looking cake from start to finish. In this video I will start with a cake that domed while baking, cut it into layers, fill it and create the perfect foundation for the cake you see above. In the next few posts I will teach you to crumb coat, cover the cake with smooth buttercream and finish with professional looking writing for a special occasion.

Read More