Decorated cakes start with a good foundation of the cake itself. Here are a few cake ideas that we would like to share.


  • Always make sure you have extra cake mixes on hand for those unexpected last minute orders. We live 90 miles from the nearest Wal-Mart, so we make sure we have an inventory on hand because they are cheaper from there than my local grocery. We keep chocolate and white mixes in stock just because they are the most requested flavors. If someone wants any other flavor, we just purchase it locally, unless we're going to Wal-Mart before it's needed.
  • What brand of mix should you use? We would say that totally depends on which one you prefer or have the best luck with. We personally use Duncan Hines, but we know other decorators that swear by Betty Crocker or Pillsbury. It is just a personal preference, so just experiment till you find the one you like the best.
  • A little tip for using Duncan Hines white cake mixes – add an extra tablespoon of oil to the batter to make it a little more moist. Chocolate mixes require more oil anyway, and we have found this extra tablespoon helps the white mix.
  • Make sure to follow the mixing directions on the box for the time required to beat. Not only is this getting the mix totally blended, but it adds air to the batter which makes it raise better. That's why the instructions say to bake immediately after pouring the batter in the pan.
  • We don't know about other brands of mixes, but Duncan Hines has 5 cups of batter when it is mixed up. You might wonder how we know that or why we would care to know. We have done several wedding cakes and some of the pans require more than one mix to fill the pan.  So by having to measure it out to get what was required for each layer, we decided to remember that little tidbit for future reference. So now you won't have to dip and measure 😉
  • One easy way to grease your pan is to use waxed paper to line the bottom and sides instead of smearing shortening and flour. Of course, this will not work for character pans because they do not have a smooth surface. There is more about this in our entry entitled "Cake Ideas-The First Steps."
  • Since cakes tend to raise more in the middle, be sure to spread the batter well into the corners and along the sides. It may even be a little sunken in in the middle when you put it in the oven, but it will raise and be more level with the rest of the cake.
  • Don't get too far away from the cake while it is baking and make sure to set a timer and check the cake frequently when the time is about up. It doesn't take long when it's at that point to get overbaked and start drying out. You will be able to see this because not only will it get too brown, but it will start pulling in from the edges of the pan.
  • Put the cake up on a wire rack to cool rather than leave it on a counter top or on potholders. This lets air circulate around the entire cake so it will cool faster. Once it is cooled, dump it out on the waxed board or plate and remove the waxed paper if frosting soon. If frosting the next morning, just leave the waxed paper on till then to help seal in the moisture. After removing the paper, gently brush the crumbs off the top and sides they don't get picked up by the frosting.
  • Now is the time to do any leveling of the cake if need for a layer cake. We personally invested in a serrated blade slicer rather than the one with a thin wire. We couldn't believe how much easier it worked!

Now that the baking is done, you should have a good foundation to start decorating cakes. Remember, you not only want your cake to look good, but you want it to taste delicious. You want to know that when people are ready to sink their teeth into that masterpiece of yours that it is not only pretty, but one that they will rant and rave about. It is important when you have decorated cakes that you have a good product to start with – before the frosting. That is why it is essential to make sure the cake is good, not only in taste but also quality. Yes, frosting can cover up a multitude of mistakes, but when it comes down to putting that fork full in your mouth, you want to know it is going to be absolutely delicious. Yuummmmmm! click here to visit my store for ebooks with cake recipes.

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