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Webmaster | 3. October 2007 @ 16:02

You don't have to be an expert cake decorator in order to make fantastic looking birthday cakes. Here are some cake decorating ideas to help you to make your cakes extra special that do not require exceptional cake decorating skills.

First, determine a theme for your cake. If the cake is for an adult, what are the likes, hobbies or interests of the birthday person? For example, if the person likes to fish, make a fishing theme cake. If the person likes to golf, make a golf theme cake. If they like to play the guitar, make a guitar cake.

You could also make the cake theme match their profession as well. For example, for a mail carrier make a mail theme cake or for a carpenter, make a carpenter theme cake.

If you are making a cake for a child, have it match the theme of the party or the child's favorite character, interest or even sport.

You get the idea, just try to make the cake extra special for the birthday person by making it match their hobbies or interests.

A really easy cake decorating idea for making these theme cakes is to purchase cake toppers that match your theme to place on top of your cake. These come in many different varieties. However, if you happen to want to make a certain theme cake for which you cannot find a cake topper to match, try the miniature section of any hobby or craft store.

For the examples above, you can purchase things such as a miniature fishing rod and net for the fishing cake, a miniature golf bag and golf clubs for the golf theme cake and a miniature guitar for the guitar cake. You can then place them on top of your cake. For a mail theme cake, purchase miniature mail boxes and make little letters out of card stock that you laminate and place them on the top and sides of your cake. For the carpenter theme cake, put miniature saws and other tools on the top of or on the sides of the cake.

These are just a few examples. The ideas really are endless, but hopefully this has helped to get you started thinking of different and unique cake decorating ideas that will make the next cake that you make extra special.

About the author:

Cristy Smith is co-creator of a birthday cake decorating website that is packed full of creative and fantastic looking cakes and explains how each one was made. Visit http://www.easy-birthday-cakes.com for lots of great cake decorating ideas that adults and children will love.

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Nina Romanov | 17. July 2007 @ 16:17

You have grown up hearing how your grandmother could bake a cake without ever using a recipe, the story may even claim she never measured anything. However if we ordinary humans want to successfully make a cake we need to follow a recipe and measure carefully.

When you are going to make a cake, preparation is absolutely vital. It is very important to preheat the oven in order to ensure that baking times will be accurate. Use a thermometer.

You also need to properly prepare the pans you will be using. Most baked items require a pan to either be greased or greased and floured.

To grease a pan, use a paper towel or pastry brush to apply a thin even covering. Grease generously only if the recipe calls for it. Try using solid vegetable shortening, it won�t add flavor to your cake. You can also use a cooking spray specifically for baking.

If a recipe calls for greasing and flouring a pan, grease the pan as usual and then shake the pan to coat all surfaces. Turn the pan upside down to get rid of the excess flour.

Before you start to make a cake, make sure you have everything you need. Check to be sure you have all of the ingredients the recipe lists. Do you have the right size cake pan?

Don't substitute ingredients unless the recipe lists alternatives. When you are a little more experienced then you can play with your recipes. Especially with a cake, if a recipe calls for butter, use it.

You also need to measure carefully. A cup of liquid does not have the same volume as a cup of dry ingredients. So if you use a dry measure for liquids, you will have less, you will only have 2/3 cup when you need 1 cup. On the other hand, if you use a liquid measure for dry ingredients, you will be adding extra and your baked goods may be too dry.

It is best to use a clear standard liquid measuring cup. Place the cup on a level surface and fill to the desired mark. Check it at eye level for accuracy.

With dry ingredients, lightly spoon the ingredients into the proper cup and level it off with a spatula or knife.

When measuring solid fats and brown sugar, firmly press the ingredient into a standard dry measure cup and level it off with a knife or spatula.

Measuring margarine or butter is easy, as the wrapped sticks are marked for each tbsp. and �, 1/3, and � cup marks.

Dry measure cups are also used for sour cream, yogurt or whipped cream.

Along with liquid and dry measuring cups, you need a set of measuring spoons. Most sets have four spoons for 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon. Fill the spoon with dry ingredients and level it off with a spatula or knife. Liquids can also be measured in these spoons. Just fill the spoon to the top.

Another necessity for successful baking is a good basic cookbook.

You can go on line and find charts that will show you the metric and imperial equivalents of both liquid and dry measures.

There are also instructions for how to halve or double a recipe and oven temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius scales.

High altitude baking requires adjustments in temperature liquids baking powder and sugar, there are also charts that can give you these adjustments. Cakes, biscuits and muffins, cookies, yeast dough and quick breads all have their own altitude adjustments.

These tips are actually making a couple of cakes will soon turn you into an expert.

About the author:Nina Romanov

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Health Guru : Baking Tips
Webmaster | 10. January 2007 @ 16:17

Most people have a real basic idea about what they need when they set out to do baking at home, but most people don't have the background to know what works well and what does not, in the baking tips and tricks that I am going to show you will make your baking experience much more interesting and your work easier.

Baking Tip #1. Using tin baking pans is what they used in the 40's and 50's and they worked well but they didn�t distribute the heat through the pan very well, by using a heavy gage aluminum baking pan the heat will be distributed through the pan a lot better giving you a much more evenly baked cake without any burn spot.

Baking Tip#2. Everyone tries to get a really smooth icing on their cake before decorating it but it just doesn�t want to smooth out, well here is the way you do it. After you get the icing on the cake as smooth as you can dip the icing spatula in hot water and wipe in a towel to take off the water and lightly smooth out the icing, the heat from the spatula will melt the shortening in the icing causing it to become smooth. You will need to repeat this as many times as necessary.

Baking Tip#3. Cake ruffle around the base of your cake will make it much more appealing and only takes a moment to apply it.

Baking Tip#4 To make a better box cake mix use 4 medium eggs, 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, 1 1/4 cup cold water, 2 ounces pudding mix, this will give you a moister cake with a fluffier texture.

Baking Tip#5. When making cookies that you are going to roll out with your hands use an ice-cream scoop to dip them out and save yourself a great amount of time and they will also be the same size.

Baking Tip#6. Having cookies all the same size on a baking pan causes them all to bake more evenly and they will all come out of the oven looking great.

Baking Tip#7. When baking sugar cookies bake them on the two upper racks of your oven, this will cause them to bake more evenly because they won�t get a lot of bottom heat on some and not on others. You want even browning on all.

Baking Tip#8. When baking cookies rotate the pans at the half point of the baking time.

Baking Tip#9. Always use parchment on your baking pans when baking cookies, it makes a lot easier.

Baking Tip#10. When baking a cake don't grease or flour your pan, just use parchment paper on the bottom of your pan and when the cake has been cooled cut around the sides of the pan with a sharp straight blade knife then dump the cake out onto the table and remove the parchment before assembling.

About the author:

Ann Marie Krause has been making cookies for over 30 years, at persent I am retired, for over 23 years I owned a Gourmet Bakery called The Cheese Confectioner.You can visit my site at http://www.annsgoodies.com.

NOTE: You are welcome to reprint this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the about the author info at the end).

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Health Guru : Design Tips for a Great Kids Birthday Cake
Webmaster | 1. August 2006 @ 18:17

These days, you can probably buy just about any style of childs birthday cake already made. But there is nothing like the sense of satisfaction from making that special cake just for your child after all, they have each birthday only once!

Theres also the benefit of being able to control what ingredients are actually used in making the cake. Apart from producing a healthier cake, you can also cater for any allergies that your child or his/her friends may have.

Once you have decided to make the cake yourself, here are some tips to help you:

1. Dont worry if you failed Art 101 dismally. Remember that kids dont expect you to turn out a design worthy of da Vinci. Often they are more interested in the number (and color) of pieces of candy on top of the cake than the actual design itself.

2. In selecting a design for the cake, there are two main options: a specific design (such as a favorite character from a TV program), or a more generic theme (such as a train or an animal). Whichever you choose, remember that it will be much easier if you only cut the cake to the basic shape you want, and use the icing to create the detail of the design. Trying to make the Eiffel Tower out of cut pieces of sponge cake is a definite no-no!

3. The actual cake recipe should be kept simple, such as a basic sponge cake. Remember, the icing and candy decorations will give the cake plenty of flavor, and a plain cake recipe will appeal to a wider range of kids tastes.

4. Be especially careful to cater for any allergies. Even if you are not aware of any allergies amongst the party attendees, it is best to avoid using any products containing nuts. Read the packages of the cake ingredients carefully.

5. It is best to make the cake the day before the party. Apart from making the day of the party less stressful, you will find that the cake will be easier to cut. If the cake is too fresh, crumbs tend to stick to the icing and can make the cut pieces look pretty messy.

6. When choosing the icing, think about how messy it will be to eat your friends wont be too pleased with you if their kids end up with permanently-stained clothes from your brightly-colored strawberry icing!

7. When actually making the icing, you may have to tweak the recipe to allow for the weather. For hot climates, you may have to add more icing powder/sugar to thicken it up; for cold days, you dont want the icing to set as hard as rock.

8. If you are going to use an icing decorating bag and tips to draw your design on the cake, have a practice first on a plate. Youll surprise yourself with what you can do!

9. If you are totally artistically challenged, there are many companies who supply ready-made decorations that you can use on the cake. You can even buy a lot of these over the internet, and you can find a list of some major suppliers at www.cakemagician.com/suppliers.htm.

Finally, remember to HAVE FUN when you make the cake! It may seem quite a lot of effort, but the happy smile on your childs face when they see the cake will reward you immensely.

About the author:

Stephen Houlihan is a father of three children, for whom he has made many cakes over the years. He comes from a family of cake decorators who have won many awards. Further ideas and tips can be found at http://www.cakemagician.com.

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