Cake Decorating 101


designYears ago, when young Sallia Bandy’s eyes locked onto her aunt’s electric mixer, she didn’t see just another kitchen appliance—she saw an opportunity to create. Recently, she took a short break from designing intricate, one-of-a-kind wedding cakes and whimsically-themed birthday cakes to share her decorating tips for whipping up your own edible masterpiece.

What is the first step to creating a beautiful cake? 

Well, you have to start with an idea. You can’t just say, “I’m going to make a cake, bake it, and then make the design up.” You have to have an idea of what you’re going to do, like artists do sketches before they paint.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Everywhere! Don’t just think of looking at cakes for cake design—look everywhere for design.

How do you start to decorate the cake?

It’s just like an artist’s canvas—you can start in the background. If the cake is going to have a spray of flowers with leaves and stems—you start with the stems. Next, you apply the bigger flowers and then the smaller flowers, followed by the leaves. Think of whatever you’re doing as a piece of artwork—it’s just edible.

What are the most important things to remember about cake decorating?

There are a few basic things that you need to remember. One is consistency of icing—when the consistency’s right, things work. If your icing is too stiff and you go to ice your cake, you’ll tear it all up. If your icing is not stiff enough and you go to make a rose, it’s just going to fall flat.

The other thing that comes into play is practicing cake decorating—you don’t have to use a lot of complicated elements on a cake or get really fancy or be an expert at roses. There are some simple flowers that you can do on a cake that look very pretty. Just learn how to use the tools, the decorating tips, the icing bags, and practice ahead of time.

What is the sweetest part of your job?

Kids’ cakes! [Kids are] generally more in awe. They don’t want to touch the cake, they don’t want other people to touch it—they just want it to stay there. So when you can take a birthday cake to a child and they marvel over it and realize that it’s “my cake”—that’s really neat.

For more information and to see Sallia’s sweet creations, please visit

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