Cake Decorating: Beautiful Cakes with Buttercream Borders | Amy Barnhart | Skillshare

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Cake Decorating: Beautiful Cakes with Buttercream Borders

teacher avatar Amy Barnhart, Teaching: Cake Decorating with Buttercream

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (47m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Tips for Baking

    • 3. Making Buttercream Icing

    • 4. Preparing Your Decorating Bag

    • 5. Learning to Pipe Borders

    • 6. Icing Your Cake

    • 7. Decorating A Cake using Star Tip

    • 8. Closing

    • 9. Bonus Lesson: Berry Topped Cake with Bead Border

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About This Class

In this class you will learn the basics of cake decorating with buttercream icing. I'll show you how to:

1.Prepare your pans for baking

2. Make home made buttercream icing

3. Techniques for icing your cake

5. Using a decorator bag and tips 

6.  Pipe buttercream borders with star tip (shell, reverse shell, elongated shell) and round tip (bead    border)

7.  How to use the star tip to create easy designs that you can use right away! Watch me decorate a cake.

8. Bonus video - Berry Topped Cake with buttercream bead border.

Meet Your Teacher

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Amy Barnhart

Teaching: Cake Decorating with Buttercream


I'm excited to be able to teach cake decorating on Skillshare. I took my first cake decorating class in 1991 and never looked back! The world of cake decorating keeps evolving and my class on the very basics is a great place to begin! Look for my class: Cake Decorating - Beautiful Cakes with Buttercream Borders. And my second class will be Cake Decorating - Buttercream Roses and More!

I am trying to be creative everyday! I enjoy handlettering, calligraphy, and learning watercolor in my spare time (what's that?!) Connect with me on my Facebook page at .

Find me on Instagram @handandhartdesigns Let me know you came from Skillshare!

See full profile

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1. Introduction: I any? Barnhardt and I've been a cake decorator for over 20 years. During that time, I've had the opportunity to teach cake decorating in my community. And I'm excited to share with you If cake decorating seems a little daunting. Don't worry. I'm gonna take you through all the steps. We'll start by prepping your cake. We'll learn how to make butter cream icing. I'm gonna show you how to prop your decorating bag, learn how to pipe the borders, and finally will decorate a cake together if you need to. You can always remind the videos. And rewatch at the end of class will have a bonus video where we will use fresh fruit and you choose one of the borders that you learn and we'll decorate Another special pick together. You want greater is Sherry. I'm excited you're here and I'll see you in class. Uh, 2. Tips for Baking : before I put my cake batter in my pan. I traced there on the outside of my pan to get the shape of it on a piece of wax paper. And then I trim around that shape. I put the sheet of wax paper right down inside of my cake pan, and then I used some pan release spray. I have a type of spray that is oil mixed with flour, and after that I'll go ahead and pour my batter in my pan, and then I'm ready to bait. You bake according to your, um, recipe instructions. Once my cake is done, well, it's still warm. I will go around the outside of the pan. I'll go round between the cake and the pan with a butter knife, and then I'll turn that out on a cooling rack. Yeah, make sure you peel off your wax paper right now. Don't wait till later, and you can see how easy that cake turned out. Now I like to store my cakes in the freezer before I decorate them, so that makes it easy. I can always bake a few days a hat. Once my cake is completely cool, I wrap it in plastic wrap. I always said the wrapped cake right back in the baking pin before I put it in the freezer . 3. Making Buttercream Icing: before you begin making your buttercream, you need together these ingredients too. Passive confectioner's sugar, clear vanilla extract, one compass, often better one cup of Crisco and about four tablespoons of milk. There are always a few bits of sugar in the confectionery sugar packet that stick together , so it's important that you sift your confectionery sugar before making the frosting so that it doesn't clog your tips. I'm going to start making the buttercream frosting. I have one cup of softened butter in my stand mixer. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can make frosting with a hand mixer. When I started out decorating, I only had a hand mixer and I made a lot of frosting. Just start with a fairly large bowl. When you're using your hand mixer as well to the one cup of softened butter, I'm going to add one cup of white vegetable shortening that's also called Crisco. That's a name brand. If you need that, we need to cream this together in the mixer bowl, scrape down your bowl at least once and just set that to beat again on a medium speed so it's thoroughly blended to I'm gonna add one teaspoon of clear vanilla extract now. Okay, now I'm gonna alternate. Adding my sifted confectioner's sugar have £2 of it alternate, adding the sugar with the milk. Take your time. The confectioner's sugar will tend to poof out a little bit as you mix, so just use the mixer on a very slow speed and keep going until all of the milk and the sugar are blended together. Just getting to the last of my confectioner's sugar. Keep your mixer at a low speed. You want to scrape down the sides of your bowl often, depending on the brand of confectioner sugars. You use it. Your icing may become very stiff at this point. Sometimes I add an extra tablespoon or so of water after I'm done with the milk to keep my icing from getting to staff. I think it has to do with the amount of corn starch in the confectioner's sugar, whether you have to add a little bit extra water or not. Okay, everything is blended together, and I just want to check my icing consistency. Okay, this icing is great for piping borders and decorating with it's ah, medium to stiff consistency. However, This is a little bit too thick for icing my cake with its gonna tend to tear the cake if I use it this thick. So I'm going to remove some of this nice medium stiff frosting to another bowl. I'm gonna remove maybe 1/3 of the frosting, So about one cup to 1.5 cups I'm going to set that aside cause that'll work rate for decorating and then to the remaining frosting in my bowl, I'm gonna add a little bit more water to thin it down slightly for icing the cake. Not your icing mix for another minute or two on a medium to high speed so everything gets a nice and smooth. I'm gonna mix up some icing for decorating our cake. I'm going to use jiao paste food coloring. I love to use this because it makes nice, bright colors. And unlike who, coloring that's in the little squeeze dropper bottles that that might thin your frosting and fade. Um, Germany is a toothpick to add some of this gel paste food coloring to my three different bowls of frosting. Sometimes you could buy Joe food coloring in these little squeeze bottles That's really convenient to I decided to use will in royal blue color And I want three shades of blue for my cake. So using a toothpick a little color goes a long way. I'm gonna This is gonna be lighter blue The next one I'm gonna add a little bit more and we darker and my final one will be the darkest. So I have three shades of royal blue. You can add a little bit more as Ugo. I'm gonna mix these up. Yeah, the butter night because you use white vegetable shortening and clear vanilla extract. When you make your buttercream frosting, it helps to keep the colors more true. If you use butter flavor shortening or real vanilla extract, that's a brownish color. Your icing will start out. I agree. And then your colors for your frosting don't come out is pretty 4. Preparing Your Decorating Bag: So if this is your first time using a cake decorating bag, I'm gonna walk you through how to get it ready. Remove your bag from the packaging. I'm gonna open it up. Pull this top down just like you were gonna fill it with icing. Okay, this is a couple er and you should also have one of these. It comes in two pieces and this couplers gonna be the guide for where we're gonna cut our bag So the coupler goes down inside with the threads pointing down I use my scissors to push all push it all the way down to the end. But okay, if you look carefully may be able to see a tiny ridge here. If you can't have it doesn't show up on camera. You should be able to see it Now you're gonna take a pencil and draw little guide mark for yourself there. I'm just running my pencil over the ridge of the threads on that plastic coupler. Let me take it out and I'll show you. So I was feeling for right around here, this part of the coupler. Okay, when I trim, I'm going to start a little bit lower than my pencil mark. I would rather have more bag left to trim off just in case. So I trim that off below the pencil mark, and I'm gonna put my coupler back into my bag. Gonna see how it's fitting. And if you have enough the reds of the coupler showing to screw on the end, it's good that'll work for using a coupler in your bag enables you to switch doctor tips. So if I have my star tip on here and I'm using it and then I changed my mind, I need another size. I could just unscrew this, choose a different tip, put it on, and then continue with my decorating. All right, Have my tip on. I'm gonna load this bag up with some more icing. So I want to fold the top down and I want my hand underneath holding under here like this, and I can use my hand toe open the bag a little bit and just get a scoop of frosting and push it down in there. I think this and turn the bag back up. I like to twist the bag and I use between my thumb in my first finger to hold the bag, squeeze out a little bit of that icing you just put in there, so there's not an air bubble and you're ready to go. 5. Learning to Pipe Borders : If there's one tip you'll use over and over and cake decorating, it's the 21 star tip. Other star tip numbers are popular, but 20 one's very common and makes that shell border that could be used on all sizes of cakes. Okay, hold your bag at a 90 degree angle on top of your wax paper Pressure. Stop pressure. Stop. Pull up pressure. Stop Love pressure. Stop pressure. Pull up pipe lots of rows of stars so that your hand and arm get a feel for using this popular tip. We're gonna use the star tip to fill in shapes later on when I decorate my cake at the end . So practice piping lots of stars, holding your bags straight up and down with a star tip on the end to practice filling in a shape pipe stars that are touching each other but go in a random order. Try to avoid piping in straight lines because if you're trying to fill in a large shape with stars and using straight lines, ultimately your lines are gonna look a little bit crooked and it will interfere with your design. So practice filling in with stars touching. But in a random order. Let's pipe a shell border using a little pressure will squeeze out a shell and stop and then squeeze out of shell. Stop. Continue along. Pipe the shell border over and over until you feel comfortable with using this tip and making a shell border, your shell doesn't have to look exactly like mine. Just keep going until you come up with a shell that looks neat and pretty to you. Then practice over and over so you can make it in a consistent shape and size. New show Rose and I'm piping a variation of the shell border by and long gating my shell so it stretches out a little bit. Use a little pressure to make a shell and then slowly release your presser. Pressure. A little pressure. Light pressure. Stop A little pressure. Slowly release little pressure. Light pressure. Okay, so you practice making your stars and your shell border and an elongated shell border, and I'm going to show you another fund border you can make using the star tip again. It's still the 21 started, but in 18 star tip would work fine for this. This is a called reverse shell and you would normally pipe this just on the top edge of your cake. It's not a border that goes down at the base of the cake on the plate. Um, you make a shell motion to the left and then a shell motion to the right. You can also think of it as a C A little see to the left, a little see to the right, and they slightly overlapped the tail. The next one overlaps the tail of the one before it. Okay, I'm going to show you the reverse shell border with a double shall again your piping this along the top edge of your cake. It's to see motions to the laughed and then to see motions to the right, to the left and to the right. And the next one overlaps the tail of the one before it. Just a little bit One more time with a regular shell border using a 21 tip from the top. Now I'm gonna show you another way to use the star tip. And that's Tim Piper Rosette. You could pipe rosettes on top of your cake in any floral color that you like. These are also fun to do on top of cupcakes. And if you have a leaf tip such as a number 67 you could add a small Greenleaf next to the rosette. Another way to use the rosette is as a candleholder on top of your birthday cake. You can pipe rosettes and rose or in an arc and a candle can go in the center of each one. And I'll show you that on a cake coming up in another video. Now let's switch our tips. We're gonna twist the end of the coupler here and take off the 21 star tip and I'm gonna now put on around tip. And this is number 10. This is a diameter of about a pencil eraser at the tip of a pencil. And with this, we're gonna practice making be border. And to start, let's just practice some pressure controlled by squeezing some dots out, we'll try to make even dots and that'll get your hand, um, used to using this tip, practicing the pressure when we make a bead border. We turned the bag right now I'm holding the Baggett and 90 degree angle just to practice these, and we're gonna slide and I slide this wax paper down and from the top, I'm going to show you be border. This would go along on the side of your cake, and it's very similar to how you make a shell, and the tip does the work of changing the style that comes out of it. We're still going to squeeze and really squeeze and release. See, I make up my steaks, too. We go again. Let's look at piping a B border with a number 10 tiff from the side. It's a little bit of pressure. Stop pressure. A little pressure. Stop pressure. A little pressure. Stop a little pressure. Release a little pressure. Now's a great time to check out the project gallery. Put a photo of the borders that you've been learning to pipe and share with us the occasion you're going to make your cake, for I've uploaded a project as well so you can check that out as an example 6. Icing Your Cake : When you're choosing a platter to serve your cake on, there's a couple things you want to consider. You need something that's sturdy that's able to hold the weight of your frosted cake. Also you want to think about Does the platter or plate I'm going to use have an edge that will interfere when I'm trying to point my borders around the cake? I want a disposable bored. So I went with two pieces of double wrapped cardboard covered with freezer paper, freezer paper, something I have on hand. It's white, and it has a little bit of a coding on one side. I wrap it so the coded side is facing up and I put my cake right down here. And this gives me a board that I can just throw away after the party's over. If you want it by a disposable board, you could look for those where you're buying your cake. Decorating supplies. They come ready made, and they usually have a gold foil finish. Don't use tin foil to wrap your cardboard if you're going to make your own disposable board . Tinfoil will often tear when you're serving your kid, so I have my cake here that I baked earlier, and it's semi frozen that lets me handle my cake easily. It has a little bit of ah, high rise part from baking, so I'm gonna trim that off. So we have a nice, flat, professional looking cake. Use Ah, long serrated knife and just trim the top of your cake. If there is, um, some rise that's formed. I was a little nervous the first time I would trim the tops of my cakes. But don't worry. And don't feel like you're wasting cake because you can save this and that's your treat for later. Center your cake on the board. Just make sure it's nice and level because that's going to make your cake with more professional. When you get it iced, I'm gonna turn my cake over before I started frosting it. So the part that I trimmed is down that will reduce the risk of crumbs again. It's semi frozen. It's nice to work with cakes that are semi frozen, but don't work with one that's completely frozen. I've had some trouble in the past where I iced a completely frozen cake, and then some condensation has happened after it was covered and waiting for it to be served. So this frosting, um, we mixed up from the recipe I gave you and thinned it slightly with about one or two tablespoons of water. So now it will be a great consistency for racing the cake. When you start icing your cake, I want you to use a large amount of frosting on top. Put a big pile on top before you start racing it. The tendency is to just scoop a little frosting like this out and then start to spread that on your cake, and that can cause crumbs in your cake easily. So start with a large amount and then work that big amount of frosting around on your cake so that your spatula isn't grabbing the cake and causing crumbs. I'm doing a banal a cake, but for a chocolate cake, you might want to do two thin coats of icing. Because chocolate cake is darker, it can show through. You have too thin embracing so often I'll do a thin coat, let it set for a few minutes, and then I'll do another coat of frosting over topped with vanilla. There's rarely a problem with that if you have a turntable by all means, use it. If you have a turntable, will make your decorating especially this part Where your icing your cake. Ah, lot easier. I feel like most of us home bakers don't have a turntable. So I'm icing this without a turntable to show you how you can do it. They were on a turntable. We could spin it around and make it easier. I'm tilting this just so you can get a better view How I'm first Just gonna spread the icing all around the edges And I will worry about smoothing it out Once I get everything covered in some icing this is a one layer nine by 13 cake. Keep working with large amounts of icing. Let it be sick at first if it needs to be just so you can get everything covered without pulling crumbs into your frosting. And now I have all of the cake top insides covered with icing and then I'll start to smooth . Now smooth it out. So it looks nice to duck early. So I worked to get each side smooth and then I'll finish the top my size, air smooth. I'm gonna see this edge of frosting along the border of the cake. I'm gonna start pulling that in and sweeping it over. Kind of using the side of my spatula and sweeping that over the top A little bit to clean edges off. I need a little bit more on tap. You can always use it. Use enough frosting that would make you comfortable, and you can always scrape some off as your icing. So don't worry if it's thick up first. Could always take some back off and just take some time to ice the top of your cake. Smooth when you're done, don't worry if there's a few little bumps or wrinkles, little tiny bits because we can just decorate over those. There's a little imperfection. Well, that's where our decorations gonna go. Or that's where candles gonna go. So it'll work out. Don't worry about that. Also, your edges should be fairly square. But remember, we're gonna pipe a border over them so they don't have to be perfect either, because they're gonna get covered up by a border 7. Decorating A Cake using Star Tip: it's time to start decorating her. She cake. I have three icing bags here. They're all filled with blue icing that I tended earlier because I've decided to use blue for the, um, cake to go with the party theme and they have 21 star tips. I'm gonna decorate this entire cake with just the star tip something I wanna show you, Um, is I'm gonna instead of writing a name here, which could be nerve racking when you start, I am just going to use a tooth scratch in my guest of honor's initial, and it's gonna be a letter A put that right in the center of the cake. And this is gonna look upside down to you because the way I'm filming, but we're gonna use a letter A to start out with and using my star tip with even pressure and holding my bags straight up and down at a 90 degree angle. I'm a pipe. A letter a This could be a number. You could point initials. Keep it simple. There you go. Now, a great way to use your star tip is to choose a cookie cutter that will go with the theme of your cake, so Ah, butterfly on your cake might go with your party. Maybe some flowers around. I am going to use thes star cookie cutters to decorator cake. I'm gonna use Thies to imprint my cake and make a guide. And then I'm gonna fill the stars in with the frosting Gonna be how I decorate the cake. So I want to turn this so you can see it. And we're gonna use my star cookie cutters and you can choose whatever cookie cutter goes with your theme. And I'm just gonna imprint some randomly. Maybe we'll have a few Hafs like that. Okay, Now we need to start filling them in. And I'm going to use the different colors of blue that I already made and put in my piping bag. Fill in these stars. Many's is straight up and down motion. I want to cover the edge. That's easy to do. I'm covering the edge of the imprint that I made with my cookie cutter. Keep your stars sort of random, trying to try to avoid piping them in straight lines. And I'll make the overall pattern look better. Let's do another one over here. So I'm gonna continue to fill in all my star shapes using the different colors that I mixed up. Fast forward this To get that done, we're gonna do a bottom border on my star cake with the star tips, and I'm gonna alternate colors. - When I come to the corner of my cake, I'm gonna use my started and pull it right up the edge to make a nice, neat edge. Okay. I need to pipe a few rosettes on top of my cake to put my birthday candles in. I know I'm gonna want one right here. So there's a rosette and let me think trying to decide if I should just go random And I think I will. I need seven candles. So one, I think we'll put one here too. Three for five, six, seven. So, with a 90 degree angle, I just turn my bag with the star tip, and that makes a place for my candles to go. I like to wait and pipe the top border last when the rest of my cake is decorated and we're gonna make a shell border. I decided to just use white icing toe edge, the top of the cake with time for the candles. 8. Closing: Thanks for learning cake decorating with me. I'm looking forward to seeing all your beautiful cakes with butter cream borders. My next class is gonna teach you how to make butter, cream roses and some other flowers. So look for that class in June 2016 and skill share. 9. Bonus Lesson: Berry Topped Cake with Bead Border: uh, here's a two layer round cake. I used nine inch cake pans and I've based frosted it, but I'm not worried about having my cake ice to smooth. I'm going to use my special to make a pretty technique along the side of the cake. Just make sure when you ice your cake that the icing on the sides is thick enough so that you don't see the cake through. So you take your metal spatula and make a swiping motion and wipe off your spatula every little bit as you go overlap where you have already wiped. This is great for anyone who's nervous about not being able to ice the sides of their cakes smoothly, because with this technique, it doesn't matter if they're smooth. You want to kind of make uneven stripes as you go along. Now pipe a B border using a tan INGE Round two, and we'll put it along the base of the cave. And after I pope the bottom, I'll pipe it along the top edge as well. - Once you have your be border piped all the way around the sides of your cake, you can start adding fresh fruit, keep arranging your fruit until you have it on just the way you like. I like to keep a few strawberries with the greens on them. I think it looks pretty touch when your cake is full of fruit and it's just the way you like. You can leave it like that or maybe add a little bit of heart sugar. Don't forget to take a picture of your cake and uploaded to our project gallery. Uh