Cake Basics: Assembling Your Cake

Many decorated cakes are too large for standard plates and platters, or call for a more creative display. If that’s the case with your latest creation, prepare a base or “cake board” that’s a bit larger than the cake and echoes its shape. You can use a cutting board or a cookie sheet, pieces of foam-core, corrugated cardboard or plywood, or other materials with similarly large, flat surfaces. You can also buy cake boards online, for example at the Wilton™ Store. Cover your board with foil, greaseproof paper, plastic wrap, a piece of brightly colored plastic tablecover, paper doilies, or well-cleaned indoor/outdoor “turf”. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination, and can help turn a simple cake into the conversation piece of the party. Check our Catering Supplies catalog for more ideas.

The last step in prepping your cake board is to cover an inch or two around the edge with overlapping strips of waxed paper or parchment before you place the cake on it. (The cake itself should overlap the strips just a tiny bit.) After you have finished decorating the cake, you will then be able to pull out the strips, thus easily carrying away bits of smeared frosting or spilled sprinkles and leaving the board pristine.

After your cake has cooled to room temperature, place it in the freezer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The cake will be firmer, and easier to cut and frost. Upon cutting your cake into a shape, or in pieces to assemble together, don’t worry if it breaks. Think of your frosting as a combination of glue and cover-stick! No one but you will ever need to know. When the cake is carved into the shape you want it and in place on your board, spread a very thin layer of frosting over all the sides. This is known as the “crumb coat.” Let this coat dry for a few minutes before proceeding. This base coat will help seal in the crumbs, and prevent them from showing up when your cake is completed.

Most of all let your creative juices flow! Use little “props” related to your theme to assist you in your cake decorating, and don’t be afraid to experiment. The recipient of the cake is sure to be touched and thrilled by your effort. ENJOY!

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