Cake Decorating Questions Part Four

Beach Waves Birthday Cake
reveriecakes/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

What would you use to make something look like sand?

Beach themed cakes are very popular so it is important to have a great method to create the sand. There are quite a few popular methods and mediums to make edible sand so it is a matter of picking one that suits your project and taste. If you don't mind a grainy or gritty texture then sanding sugar can be very effective. Soft brown sugar is also a great choice but it does add sweetness so try not to use overly sweet icing or fillings if this is your choice of medium.

One of the best sand methods is grinding up graham crackers, shortbread or vanilla wafers because it isn't overly sweet and has the perfect texture. You can combine the different types as well to create a nice sandy beach.

How can I make the fondant look smooth on a rice crispy sculpture?

Sometimes a cake creation needs a little more bulk or design elements that are not easily created with gum paste or fondant. This is where rice crispy treats come in to provide structure without weight and it ​eliminates the task of carving cakes. Sometimes covering the finished treat sculpture with fondant can be tricky if you need the finish to be very smooth. The first step is to make sure your rice crispy treats are as smooth as possible to begin with using your hands to soften the edges. Then you need to cover the treats with a layer of white chocolate or royal icing to create a nice backdrop for the fondant.

If you are using white chocolate running your warm hands over the applied hardened white chocolate should be sufficient. You will need to cover the treats with something because the fondant won't stick without a buffer.

How can I put the sprinkles on the side of the cake perfectly? ​

Anyone who has applied sprinkles or grated chocolate to the sides of a cake can attest to the fact that this process can create a horrendous mess.

Depending on your cake there are easy techniques to create this look. If you have a firmer cake you can actually roll the iced cake on the sprinkles. Simply frost the cake on the sides and allow it to firm up a little. Pour your sprinkles on a cookie sheet, shaking to distribute them. Then lift the cake up with one hand on the bare top and the other on the cake board. Place the side on the cookie sheet and simple roll the cake. Lift the cake up and when the icing completely dries frost the top. If your cake is not firm enough to roll then place the sprinkles in a deep bowl. Hold the cake with your hand on the bottom and hold it at an angle over the bowl with an edge very close to the sprinkles. Press handfuls of sprinkles gently but firmly onto the sides of the cake rotating it and allowing the excess to fall back into the bowl. If you are trying to apply grated chocolate using the handful technique you must make sure the shavings are completely chilled and you do not hold the chocolate too long in your warm hand.

How can I achieve a highly polished look on modeling chocolate?

Sometimes it is necessary to use chocolate for a sculpture or even to cover an entire cake. Unfortunately modeling chocolate can sometimes have a dull finish instead of shiny.

If you want a polished appearance to your modeling chocolate simply mix up some vodka and corn syrup in equal parts and brush it on. The vodka evaporates completely and the chocolate remains shiny with no stickiness.