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Here's how the pros make their cakes look so damn good.
So BuzzFeed Food talked to two cake experts to get their best (and easiest) techniques for making their cakes look beautiful. We talked to Jocelyn Delk Adams from Grandbaby Cakes, and Lyndsay Sung from Coco Cake Land to see how they do it.
It might sound crazy, but ditching the frosting for caramel or chocolate sauce can take your cake to a whole new level. "It will change the way you view birthday cakes in the future," says Delk Adams. Learn how to do it here.
Another way to avoid dealing with frosting is to go for a naked layer look. Delk Adams frosts the tops of red velvet layers (but not the sides) for a simple but stunning presentation. See how she does it here.
Adams uses this technique to create a professional finish for her cupcakes. "Use a Ziploc bag, your favorite tip, and start in the center of your cupcake — then just apply pressure and push up," says Delk Adams. "You'll get the loveliest design without having to do much work." (No piping tips? Just cut off the tip of the bag and pipe freestyle.)
These help get that impossibly smooth look without having to use fondant. Some cake smoothers (like this set of 7 for $6.99) even have teeth that create intricate designs. See how to do it here.
Before frosting the final layer of your cake, coat it in a thin layer and pop it in the freezer. "Don’t worry if it looks not-so-hot," says Sung. "This is called the crumb coat — we’re sealing in those crumby bad boys." After about 10 minutes in the freezer, the crumbs will be trapped and your cake will be ready for frosting.
"If your border stinks, make it rain with sprinkles," says Sung. "They will cover up any shoddy piping work." Large sprinkles like rainbow jimmies ($4.49 on Amazon) or confetti sprinkles ($7.96 on Amazon) are great for hiding mistakes — people will just think it's festive.
"For a slightly under-baked cake," says Sung, "I’ve trimmed off the cake dome, scooped out the goopy under-baked part, and stuffed the hole with the baked trimmings." Most cakes require you to trim the domed portion off anyways, so you'll almost always have extra cake to patch up your mistakes.
"For an overdone cake, make a simple syrup to soak through the layers and help make it moist again," says Sung. "Gently boil equal parts granulated white sugar and water — as it cools it will thicken into a syrup." Brush the syrup over the tops of dry cakes and they'll soak it up and become moist again.
"If you’ve mucked up the top of your cake and ran out of buttercream," says Sung, "cover it in a nicely designed pattern of fresh berries or candies." No one will see the mess that's underneath, and it'll give your cake an elegant finish.
Just wrap washi tape around the top of a skewer and cut a V shape into it for a festive topper that'll make your cake totally Insta-worthy. See how to do it here.
"I used to think I needed some super-fussy cake, but now I've come full circle and all I want is a good old-fashioned cake," says Delk Adams. For most cakes, a simple swirling of frosting is all it takes to make them stunning. Get the recipe for her super-simple yellow cake here.
"I don't believe in stress in the kitchen," says Delk Adams. "It's the one space that should be zen and free of all anxiety. It should be filled with play and joy." After all, birthdays should be a celebration — and even an ugly cake will taste pretty darn good.
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