10 Things food

15 Tips to Remember when Decorating a Cake

Duff Goldman - Ace of Cakes

Duff Goldman of the Food Network’s ACE OF CAKES is known as a cake guy. Web Watch knows he’s also in a band, went to pastry school, and worked at the French Laundry for a little bit… but he’s mainly known for his cakes that he makes with his friends at a little shop called CHARM CITY CAKES in Baltimore.  (Hey Geoff!  Hey Mary Alice!)

But what if you wanted to make and decorate your own cake and do it in “Ace of Cakes”-style?  Believe it or not, even Duff and his crew try to follow some general guidelines and procedures when they’re making their crazy whimsical creations.


First, the basics:  pick a theme and decide how big of a cake is needed to serve the number of people attending the party.  Then bake the cake. 

Web Watch is surprised at how many people will forget the baking part and go straight to the frosting.  Making the cake is an important step in this process.   Here are a few more of the 15 things cake decorators need to remember:

  1. Level the cakes so you have a flat surface to work on.
  2. Crumb-coat the cakes — this is a thin layer of frosting spread all around the cake.  Chill the cakes for 10-15 minutes to get this layer to set.
  3. Frost the cake! 
  4. Items put onto a cake will look better in odd numbers.  (Web Watch trusts that if a cake decorating school posts this tidbit of information on their site that it has to be true.)
  5. If you’re making a tiered cake, the bottom tier should be at least 4 inches larger than the next tier.  The goal is to have at least 2 inches of space all the way around each layer.
  6. When building tiers, use one support dowel for every inch of layer being stacked.  If you’re placing an 8-inch round tier onto a cake, then it should be supported by 8 dowels and a thin cardboard layer.  See how math comes in useful later in life?
  7. Simple designs look better than busy designs