Want to learn the super easy way to add any graphic to a cake? Using a toothpick, a star-tipped pastry bag and any stencil, you can make a pretty confection for your next cake-worthy affair. This elephant number was from Quinn’s Animal Party. Let me walk you through the simple-dimple steps of star-tip decorating.
First take a look at our How to Ice a Cake tutorial. It will tell you how to make your cake, layer it, add a crumb coat, fill your pastry bags and ice the cake where desired; ie, whatever part of your cake will not have stars. I iced the sides and then did all stars on the top but you could ice the entire cake and then only do stars in your decoration areas (ie. “2” and the elephants.)
1. Ok, so your cake is all prepared. Now you need stencil(s.) You can use any shape traced onto parchment paper and cut out. I’m lazy so I let my Silhouette cut out these adorable elephants and a “2.”
2. Arrange your stencils lightly on your cake. Leave enough space around the edge for a decorative border.
3. Use a toothpick or pin and trace around the stencils in the icing. If your icing is very dry and breaking up a bit, try just poking holes (but there is a way to fix it later as well.) If you have interior designs (like the ears, but without holes in the paper) poke through the paper with a pin to make a guide.
4. This is what it will look like with the stencils removed. If you have some crumbly icing, lay a piece of parchment paper over the outline and smooth lightly with your fingers to flatten.
5. If you haven’t already, color your icing for the design. I used two drops of electric orange and one drop of electric pink Gel Paste to create this melon color.
6. Pack it up in cellophane “rolls” as shown in How to Ice a Cake.
7. Load up your pastry bag with a #16 star tip. Since pastry tips are so inexpensive, it is really helpful to have a tip & bag for each color. In this case I had a bag of white and a bag of orange.
Now you are ready to start piping stars.
8. Starting at an edge, hold the star tip directly over the surface of the cake and squeeze the bag but do not lift up. Let the icing squeeze out to the sides until it is the desired size (about a pea) and then pull up as you release the pressure on the bag so you get a nice little point, like a Hershey’s kiss. Not a bad idea to practice a few. If you have a bad one, you can also scrap it off with the tip of a cake spatula.
9. Work around the outline of your shape so it has a nicely defined edge. Make sure your stars are touching. Since we have a crumb-coat (or full icing as the case may be) it’s ok if there are little bits uncovered by stars but if you are doing one of those shaped cakes with no icing underneath, you must cover every last bit of cake with icing. It seals the cake and keeps it fresh. If you see a little space, just squeeze the star tip in there and add a little star, no one will notice.
10. Oh but wait! We have an eye and ear that need to be iced in white so before we get too far we need to add them. Just one star for the eye and a nice row of tight stars for each ear. They really could/should have been done first.
11. Continue with the stars. Arm getting tired? Take a break rather than getting sloppy with those stars. You want nice pretty points! If it’s hot and your icing is getting soft, pop it in the fridge for a bit.
Phew! One elephant down.
And now a number “2”
Looking good! If you had fully iced your cake before you started, you would be finished! Just add a pretty piped border.
Alas, I wanted all stars on top so the piping continues.
Until it’s done! Yay! Now you just have to add a piped border around the edge. Of course if you never iced the sides of your cake, you should do that first. HA.
And then I channeled Jaime and added a little banner that I created on my silhouette. I covered some bamboo skewers with Japanese tape and then taped the ends of my little bakers twine banner to the top and stuck it in.
Yum! This is the first decorating method that I ever learned in a cake decorating class so it’s a good place to start if you are new to decorating. Very forgiving and impressive results!
Add circus peanuts (or something less gross-tasting) around the bottom to hide your cake board.
Any questions? Feeling good about trying this method for your next cake? Wouldn’t it all be worth it to see this look of joy on your baby’s face?
Leave us a comment and you could win a humongous balloon and paper straws (also featured at Quinn’s Animal Party) from Bake it Pretty!