Friday, March 21, 2014

Making A Cake Banner (When Your Decorating Skills Are Sorely Lacking!)

For someone who loves baking as much as I do, my cake decorating abilities leave a LOT to be desired, unfortunately.  I’m not utterly hopeless with an icing piping bag, but I’m certainly not great.  Thank goodness I always do a test-run before writing with icing on the actual cake, but these dismal practice attempts have caused my Not-So-Little Chef and me to dissolve in countless giggle fits, making it even harder to hold the icing tube steady.  It’s a quandary since I’m often commissioned to make special occasion cakes, and I do everything to encourage my customers to embrace an extremely simple design sans writing, lest my handiwork end up on the jaw-dropping and hilarious Cake Wrecks website!  But I have a brilliant new solution for my sub-par decorating skills: The Cake Banner.

I was commissioned to provide a cake for a friend’s baby shower last week, a devilishly dark chocolate-and-caramel cake covered with toasted cake crumbs that the mother-to-be had daydreamed about for years since the last time I’d made it. (That recipe will be on the next post, I promise!) One of the baby shower co-hosts asked me to get creative with the cake decoration, incorporating some pink into the design among other things.  Naturally, this request gave me pause.

However, I wanted to honor the festive decoration request for the occasion.  I recently saw this flag banner on Joy the Baker's blog, and I realized that this was the perfect solution to my decorating dilemma. The final result was darling and it put the biggest smile on everyone’s faces, including my own!

Here's how to create an ultra-adorable cake banner with a few simple items:
  • A piece or two of card stock in your favorite festive color(s)
  • A short length of striped baker’s twine
  • 2 bamboo skewers

Decide how many triangles you want to fit on your banner, and use a ruler to trace out small-ish triangles.

Cut the card stock into small triangles. I wrote “It’s A Girl!” with a different letter on each triangle, so I cut nearly a dozen little triangles for my banner.

Poke holes in two ends of each triangle, using a thumbtack or other small sharp point.  (I used the point of my instant-read kitchen thermometer.) Wiggle the tack around to make a slightly larger hole, which will make the string pass through more easily.

Thread the baker’s string through the triangles. I was too impatient to hunt for a large-eyed needle, so I put a tiny piece of tape around the end of the string to help guide it through the holes, shoelace-style.

If you want to write a message, now would be a good time to spell it out on your little flags with a Sharpie or other bold pen.

Tie the ends of the string around the two bamboo skewers, and plant the skewers in the cake.  Proudly serve your adorable cake to your guests who will undoubtedly oooh and ahh over your creation!