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Just 13 Legitimately Useful Tips For Anyone Who Bakes Cakes

Bake to impress.

Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed

1. To keep your cake in place while you decorate, secure it with a little bit of frosting at the bottom.

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The last thing you want when you're frosting your cake is for it to move around and to mess up your work. To avoid that, just spoon a little bit of frosting on the stand before placing your cake down. That way, the cake will stay steady.

2. And place some parchment paper on the cake stand to keep it clean while you're piping.

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Whether you're using frosting, ganache, or icing, some of it is bound to end up on your cake stand. And once you're done decorating, having a dirty and messy cake stand can ruin the whole aesthetic you're going for. To avoid that, just place four pieces of parchment paper slightly under the edges of the cake. When you slide them out at the end, you'll have a beautiful cake and a spotless cake stand, and you'll be a very happy baker.

3. Get all your equipment ready before you do anything else.

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Cake decorating is more often than not a delicate and time-sensitive job (especially for something like a mirror glaze). Before you get started, go through your equipment list and get it all ready — so you don't end up looking for a spatula while ganache is already dripping off your cake.

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4. And competely cool your cake down before you start decorating it.

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Putting frosting on a hot cake — or even a slightly warm one — is never a good idea. Your frosting will melt and you'll end up with a big mess. So be patient!

5. When in doubt, add more frosting than you think you should.

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In general, it's much easier to take frosting off the cake than to try to work with a too-small amount of it. Be generous with your frosting and you'll get more even layers and a prettier cake on the whole.

6. When you're making a layer cake, flip the top layer upside down — so the top is super flat with sharp edges.

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If you're frosting your whole cake, you'll want the top of the cake to be as flat as possible. A better (and less annoying) option than trimming is to just flip the top cake upside down so that the bottom is facing up. It may not be as pretty at first but it'll soon be covered with frosting and you'll get a beautiful, super flat, and professional-looking cake.

7. When piping, apply pressure from the top of the bag, not the middle.

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Often, you first instinct might be to apply pressure in the middle of the bag, but that offers much less control and leads to uneven piping. Start from the top.

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8. If you're just starting out at piping, pick forgiving designs that will still look good even if you mess them up.

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For example: This rose motif almost always ends up looking pretty and impressive. It doesn't matter if some of the roses are smaller or messier than others — you'll still get a good result.

9. Invest in an offset spatula.

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You'll need one if you want to decorate a cake like a pro. It's a great tool — both flexible and strong — and is especially useful for delicate, precise work. (You can also use it to flip crêpes, if cake decorating is not enough of an incentive!) Get one for $10 on Amazon.

10. And a bench scraper.

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Bench scrapers are a great, versatile tool in any kitchen — but they're even more valuable for ambitious bakers. They'll help you get a smooth, even layer of frosting every time. Get one for $10 on Amazon.

11. If you want to dye your frosting, use gel instead of liquid food coloring.

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Gel food coloring is more saturated and will give you a more vibrant result. And remember: A little goes a long way. So start small with just a few drops and add more if needed.

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12. When you're trying to achieve a drip effect, make sure your cake is cold and your ganache is warm.

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Both parts are key in allowing the ganache to set as it drips down the cake. That way, the ganache won't get too runny or fall apart, but it'll still be loose enough to nicely coat the top of the cake — and drip off the sides.

13. And finally, when you're not sure how to top your cake, fresh berries are always a beautiful, easy, and elegant option.

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Totally fool-proof: just arrange them in a quick pattern, or cover the top completely.

For even more cake decorating tips, watch the full Tasty 101 video here:

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