Decorating Tips


Marshmallows can be used for candle holders on cakes.

To decorate cookies with chocolate, place cookies on a rack over waxed paper.  Dip the tines of a fork with chocolate and wave the fork gently back and forth making wavy lines.

Push animal shaped cookie cutters lightly into icing on cakes or cupcakes, fill depressed outlines with chocolate icing or decorating confections.

Fill flat-bottomed ice cream cones half full with cake batter and bake, top with icing and decorating confection.

Lifesaver candies make attractive candleholder bases on cakes.

Fresh mint leaves are pretty on desserts with cherries or colorful fruit.  If it will not be eaten shortly after decorating, only apply the leaves to the portion that will be served or remove after serving.  They will wilt if left on the dessert too long.

Top cakes (over the raw batter with nuts and chocolate chips) before baing and serve with whipped cream.

Top chocolate cakes with marshmallows and chocolate chips and broil the marshmallows until lightly browned.

Top jell-o (firmly set) with crushed graham crackers or cake decorating colored balls.

Top desserts with shaved chocolate.

Top cake frostings and cream pies with toasted coconut or nuts (toasted or plain

Crushed heath bars or various chips, butterscotch chips make interesting toppings for cakes, tortes and cookies.

To make colored decorating sugars, combine granulated sugar and food coloring in a small dish (a sauce dish works well or a small custard cup).  Allow sugar to dry on counter top and stir occasionally the next few days.  Store in clean shaker top spice shaker.

Colored coconut (mix food coloring and coconut) and jellybeans make pretty Easter toppings.

French fruit preserves offer nice moisture to a cake when used as a filling or under a frosting or in thumb print cookies.

Chocolate wafer cookies or Oreos crushed make interesting crusts for cream pies.  Sprinkle some on the top for garnish.

Crumb crusts that include crushed nuts have extra flavor and make a nice topping on cheesecakes, etc.

Use Lady Fingers or vanilla wafers to form a frame for tortes and desserts.

Molded Jell-o is a simple way to serve jell-o attractively.  Cover with frozen whipped topping (thawed) and decorate as desired.

Freeze cakes before frosting to save crumbing off into the frosting.  This will also help set up the frosting by chilling it (from the frozen temperature of the cake).

If cakes have lots of crumbs on the outside, ie. angel food cakes, roll off the crumbs with a terry cloth or your hands before frosting.

Freshly grated carrot and pineapple combined makes an interesting topping on carrot cupcakes, cakes, or sunshine jell-o.

Cut down on calories and amount of frosting used by making a glaze of powdered sugar, vanilla and whole milk and pouring from a spouted cup creating a lattice pattern on the cake.

Brush (“wash”) the top of rolled piecrusts with cream, milk or slightly beaten egg white before baking.  Granulated sugar can be added on the top of the “wash” for a better glaze.

Roll or dip cookies in chocolate (cocoa), powdered sugar, granulated sugar, colored sugar or cinnamon sugar before baking for interesting accents.  Spray grease the bottom of a flat-bottomed glass or custard cup and dip into granulated sugar to flatten cookies.  If using a fork to flatten and make a crisscross pattern, dip the fork into cocoa or granulated sugar between each application to the cookies.

Fresh flowers make attractive accents, but be aware of the fact that they will wilt if left on for a length of time.  If freezing the dessert, do not decorate with fresh flowers while it is in the freezer.

Be sure to attach meringue to the edge of a crust to avoid shrinking during baking or broiling.

Spread chocolate chips over a hot cake and if necessary return the cake to the oven for a few minutes.  Spread the softened chips with a spreader and top with chopped nuts for a fast frosting.

Simple sugar cooking decorating – sprinkle cookies with colored sugar before baking and save applying frosting later.  A glaze of powder sugar, vanilla and whole milk can be brushed on with a pastry brush and colored sugars sprinkled over the wet glaze for a quick decorating trick.  This topping does not come off like some decorated cookie toppings do.

Dip cookie cutters in sifted cocoa before cutting white cookies.

To decorate sides of a layer cake, place frosting between the layers and around the sides but not the top or bottom.  Place crushed nuts, cookie crumbs, etc. on a waxed paper or pan and roll the sandwiched cake sides in the nuts, etc.  Frost the top of the cake last.  Place your hands flat (one on the top of the cake and the other on the bottom of the cake) to hold the layers together for rolling in the garnish.

To prevent a cake from sliding off of a plate, etc. put a few spoons of frosting on the plate before placing the cake on it.

Frozen candy bars (Heath bars) crush best when frozen.

Nuts crush well and store well if kept frozen.

Easy way to crush nuts, place plastic bag and roll with rolling pin or put in food processor.  Be careful that they don't get too fine.

For easy clean up and a mess free serving plate, set cakes or cookies on waxed paper or parchment paper and slide onto the serving plate after decorating.  If this method doesn't match your situation, insert strips of parchment under the edge of the cake on the plate and when done decorating, pull out the strips for a clean and neat plate.

Plastic doilies, stencils, or paper with figures cut out make interesting designs if powdered sugar or sifted cocoa is dusted over it, allowing the sugar or cocoa to come through the pattern cuts.

Simple frosting of a tube cake, pour small amounts of glaze on top of the cake and push it off the edges of the top with the bake of a spoon or spatula allowing it to run down the sides of the cake.

Crushed peppermint candies make a nice decoration on desserts and when added to frostings, make a good flavor ingredient.

There are many, many entries on this web site. Be sure to scroll back through to the beginning for all the recipes and tips

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