Category: Cake Basics

How to Make + Decorate Cakes Ahead of Time

how to freeze cakes

I’m a big advocate of cake making as a means to reduce stress and have fun. That said, I know how incredibly stressful cake can be when you’re running short on time and/or things just aren’t going the way you wanted – especially if said cake is an order. I can remember many stressful nights (and even a few panic attacks) from my years of running a cake business from home and most of them stemmed from not giving myself enough time to enjoy the process. Can you relate? In hopes of sparing you some of that added stress, I’ve put together my best tips for making a timeline and working ahead. This way, maybe you won’t find yourself up at 2am agonizing over an unfinished cake! 

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How to Transfer Cakes From a Turntable to a Stand

how to move a cake to stand

One of my most frequently asked questions (aside from what my favorite buttercream recipe is and how I get my buttercream cakes smooth): “how in the world do you move a cake off the turntable and onto a cake stand without ruining the finish?” Transferring a cake, whether it’s onto a stand or into a box, can be totally nerve wracking if you’ve never done it before. After you’ve spent so much time decorating, the last thing you want to do is mess up all of your work before anyone gets the chance to see the cake in its most perfect state! In hopes of saving you extra stress, today’s Cake Basics is all about the method I use for transferring my cakes once they’re decorated. 

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Tips For Perfect Chocolate Ganache Drip Cakes

chocolate ganache troubleshooting tips

One of my favorite easy things to dress up a cake is to do a chocolate ganache drip finish. Over the years, my ability to create the drip look has definitely grown, and I get tons of questions asking what my secret is. The truth is, chocolate ganache has definitely put me through the wringer before (especially white chocolate ganache, which used to be my absolute nemesis). After figuring out the perfect ratio for chocolate to heavy whipping cream and learning the do’s and dont’s of drip cakes, I’ve got it down to a science these days. And now you will too!

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A Guide to Coloring Buttercream Frosting

how to color buttercream frosting with color gels

I think one of the coolest things about cake is how artistic it can be, and a big part of that comes from the freedom to create any buttercream color you could possibly imagine! In fact, when planning out my cakes I love to nerd out on the color palette and get a real thrill when the colors turn out exactly how I pictured. As with anything, getting my buttercream shades just right has come with tons of practice and finding products I love to help make it happen. 

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How to Decorate a Cake with Sprinkles

sprinkle cake tutorial by sugar and sparrow

Sprinkles these days aren’t what they used to be (in the best way). I remember swooning over the little vials of rainbow jimmies and sugar sprinkles in the baking aisle as a kid – little did I know that a few decades later sprinkles would come in all shapes and sizes and colors and textures with names like Bombshell and Party Monster and Unicorn Barf. You can find a sprinkle blend to match any color scheme you could dream of, and I think dressing up cakes with them is one of the easiest ways to add intrigue. 

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Your Guide to Frosting a Cake with Smooth Buttercream

Would you believe me if I told you that once upon a time it took me hours to frost a smooth buttercream cake? It was mainly due to my perfectionism, but also because I didn’t know as much as I do now about frosting techniques. I remember agonizing over every flaw and just smoothing the cake over and over again until I reached a point where I was okay with the finish. These days, I’ve got the frosting process down to about 15 minutes and I can’t wait to share my best tips with you so you can eliminate some of the anxiety that seems to come along with cake decorating. 

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How to Crumb Coat Cakes (and Why it’s Important)

How to crumb coat cakes

In the cake making process, you might be tempted to skip ahead to your final coating of frosting after you fill and stack your cake layers. If you’re a perfectionist though (like I am, to a fault), it’s so worth it to go the extra mile and crumb coat your cake. Not only will this prevent crumbs from getting into your final layer of frosting, it also helps to create a stable foundation for your final layer of frosting. In fact, if you’ve ever wondered how to get a super smooth buttercream finish, crumb coating is one of the essential steps. 

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How to Fill and Stack Cake Layers

how to fill cake layers tutorial

Have you ever had a fiasco with your cake filling? I have. Between it bulging out between layers or straight up oozing out of the sides because it’s just too thin to withstand the weight of gravity, I’ve seen it all. The thing is, the filling and stacking process is arguably the most essential part of building your cake’s foundation. If your cake filling is unstable in any way it can throw off the entire outcome of your cake, and if you’re anything like me (perfectionistic to a fault), that can be totally devastating. 

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How to Level and Torte Cake Layers

how to level and torte cake layers

Whether my cake layers come out of the oven with a domed top or a flat one, there’s one step I never miss once those cakes are cooled: torting the layers. Torting is a fancy word for leveling, and the process ensures that any domes get chopped off and any difference in height between layers is eliminated. Perfectly level layers not only make for the most picturesque cake slices, they also ensure that your cake is more level overall when frosted. In my humble opinion, it is a must

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How to Prepare Cake Pans for Easy Release

how to prepare cake pans

Before you mix up your cake batter, there are two things you’ve got to do to set yourself up for cake baking success: preheat your oven and prepare your pans. There’s no need to explain how to preheat your oven (I hope!) but I do have some things to say about cake pan preparation. After all, there’s nothing more disappointing than thinking you’ve baked the perfect cake, only to have it stick to the pan and fall apart upon release. Whether you’re completely new to baking and don’t know the first thing about what it means to “grease and flour” or “line a cake pan,” or you’re just curious about how I prepare my cake pans, you’re going to learn all of it in one handy little blog post!

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