Local cake decorating supply shops

Hey cake virgins!

I have compiled a map of some of Ohio's best cake decorating supply shops in Ohio. Now, I have only been to three or four of these myself, but the others come from reviews and other people I know that shop there. You can also find candy making supplies at these shops, which could come in handy with the more involved and difficult cakes you want to make. Feel free to explore the map and explore the links included in some of the descriptions. Some of these places do allow you to order online and have the supplies shipped to you, so if you live in Cleveland but want some beautiful edible cherry blossoms from Wendy Kromer's shop in Sandusky, you can order them and have them delivered right to your door, ready for placing on your cake!

Until next time cake virgins!

View Cake Decorating Supply Places in Ohio in a larger map


Cake start to finish

Hey cake virgins!

I made a cake this weekend and decided to take some photos to show you the process from start to finish! Now, I do use fondant and I do make some rosettes, but don't worry! We will go into those topics much more deeply in the coming weeks!

Until next time cake virgins! 


Crumb coat that cake

Hey cake virgins!

Now that you've baked that delicious cake of yours, let's refrain from picking at it and start turning it into a cake to make your friends envious.

Icing your cake is the next step, and I want to introduce you to the beauty of a crumb coat. A crumb coat is a thin layer of icing that you lay on the cake. It's purpose is to catch all those crumbs to allow your top layer of icing to be smooth and crumb free, kind of like putting a sock on before you wear your tennis shoes.

I have attached a video from Epicurious that shows you exactly how to crumb coat your cake and how to stack them, but I want to give a few of my own pointers.

To level the cakes in the video, they use a long, serrated knife. While this is fine and dandy, you can't guarantee that the cake will be level. I still highly recommend the use of a leveler. It is just an easier and safer way to make sure those layers are nice and level, especially if you want to make a two or more tier cake.

I give mad props to Epicurious for the use of the wax paper under the cake. GREAT idea and something I have never done. The wax paper also has an added benefit of making your cake easier to move at the end of the day. This could eliminate the need for the lifter if you are doing a one tier cake, but i still recommend the lifter if you are making a two or more tier cake. It is much easier to slide the cake off of the lifter than to slide it off wax paper.

Now, if you are in a rush, you can just use store bought frosting. If you want to get creative, you can find icing recipes all over the web. I recommend making buttercream icing or cream cheese icing, as they are both basic flavors that everyone can enjoy. Check out Wilton for icing recipes!

Check out the video and good luck on those cakes!

Until next time cake virgins!


Baking the Cake

Hey cake virgins!!

Let's talk cake. Delicious, mouth-watering, succulent cake. As the basis for all our decorating, what kind of cake you bake can spell masterpiece or disaster for your cake. For example, don't use a soft, crumbly cake when you want to stack two or more cakes as the weight will just crush the cake down. This recipe is from Wilton (I know, surprise, right?) and is for a basic yellow cake. What I love about this cake is that, once cooled, it is a strong and sturdy cake, perfect for sculpting or stacking. I've used it on numerous occasions,  since basic yellow cake is usually a crowd pleaser.

  • 3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans and line with waxed paper or parchment paper. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Cream sugar and butter together until light. Add eggs and vanilla to creamed mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Continue beating one minute. Spread batter evenly in prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Fill and frost as desired.

Quick Note:
Now, the recipe gives you the baking time for two 8-inch rounds, but don't worry! You are in no way stuck to just making this batter into two 8-inch round cakes! You can easily make this into whatever shape you want, using the right pan. The baking time will change of course, but there is a quick and easy solution to this.
The easiest way to make sure your cake is cooked right is with the use of a toothpick or any other long, stick thing you have lying around the house. Check your cake often, using a oven light if you have one since that will keep all the heat inside the oven. Once the cake starts looking golden and cake-like, open the oven, and stick the toothpick into the center of the cake. If, when you pull it out, the toothpick is clean (meaning no pieces of cake crumb on the stick) then your cake is done! If you do see crumbs on the toothpick, close the oven and give it a few more minutes, and check on it again.
This ensures that your cake won't be overcooked, but also not underdone.

There are HUNDREDS of other cake recipes out there, so you certainly aren't limited to just using yellow or white cake. Just make sure that whatever recipe you use, that it suits your needs. Don't choose a soft, crumbly cake when you want to build a three tier cake or sculpt anything. Try recipe sites like Recipezaar and Epicurious to find great cake recipes!

So grab that mixing bowl and get baking!

Until next time cake virgins!


Top 5 cake baking tools

Hey cake virgins! 

Before we can go on about baking cakes and decorating them, let's talk about the basic tools that you'll need.

This is my list of the top five cake baking tools that will make your life easier. These tools don't include the things you'll need to do intense cake decorating, but these are tools I use every single time I bake a cake and prepare it for decorating. 

1. Cake pans: 
Yes it seems like an obvious choice, but there are a wide variety of pans that you can choose from. Round pans, square pans, heart shaped pans, etc.

Now, I've been fond of simple round pans, but if you bought square or sheet pans, you could easily make several circle cakes out of those pans. It would be much harder and much more limiting to make a square out of a circle. 

The best pans I found come from the cake gurus, Wilton.Wilton offers both round and square pans, as well as a variety of sheet pans at a variety of price points. I recommend going for the decorator preferred pans, as the extra-thick aluminum will dispense heat efficiently on the larger pans. They do run a little more expensive, depending on where you buy them from, but for those who have older ovens that disperse heat unevenly. I know my oven certainly does, and these pans make baking the cakes evenly much easier.

2. Spatula: 
Again, another basic choice, but I wouldn't go for just any old spatula. Wilton has an angled spatula that is great for icing cakes. Straight spatulas can be used as well, but the angled spatula keeps your fingers away from the cake, preventing any smudging that might happen if your fingers grazed the sides of the cake.

3. Cake leveler: 
This is a nifty little tool that can be used time and time again. Wilton has two varieties of cake leveler, one for large cakes and one for smaller cakes. Depending on what kind of cakes you are baking, you can decide which size would suit your needs. All you do is place the adjustable wire in the notches that equal the desired height and move it through the cake in a slow, sawing motion. 

Warning though! DO NOT DO THIS WHEN THE CAKE IS HOT!! If you do, your cake will crumble and fall apart right before your eyes, and your icing job will be much harder. 

4. Food coloring: 
Food coloring comes in three main types: liquid, liquid-gel, gel-paste, and powder. 

Liquid food coloring is the most common, but the worst for cake decorating. It gives the weakest color and will thin out whatever it is being mixed with.

Liquid-gel gives a deep, rich color without thinning anything out.

Gel-paste gives deeper, more vivid colors than gel or liquid. It is very concentrated, so you don't have to use a lot of it to get the color you desire.

Powder food coloring very concentrated. It can be used in a variety of cake decorating techniques, but I wouldn't worry about buying it now. Powder food coloring is a much more advanced technique.

I recommend using gel-paste, available at craft stores and at Wal-Mart. It will last you a lot longer, since you have to use less of it to get your desired color. 

This is a cupcake cake I made for my sister's birthday. Right as I was about to start decorating it, I had discovered that  my parents had thrown out the food coloring that I had bought. I was left with liquid food coloring. The coloring ended up being completely off, the icing was extremely thin, and I ended up having to use flour to thicken everything. Lesson of the story: stay away from liquid food coloring....oh....and keep food coloring away from your parents. 

5. Cake lifter:
While probably one of the least necessary things, a cake lifter will come in handy for when you don't have an extra set of hands to help you stack cakes. Because it is such a strong, flat piece of metal, it can easily squeeze under your cake without damaging it. Wilton offers one with a no-slip grip too, which will come in handy when you've been elbow deep in icing, flour, and cake batter.

As you may have noticed, I've recommended Wilton products for the cake baking basic tools. I actually recommend Wilton products for everything related to cake. From experience, I know their products to be quality and to provide the best results for an affordable price. Other products and companies can be used though, so if you find the same thing at a better price, go for it! 

However, all the Wilton products should be available at your local craft store or at Wal-Mart. 

Until next time cake virgins!


Stealing your cake v-card one post at a time

Hello everyone and welcome to the Cake Virgin!

You're probably sitting there wondering why I plan on taking your cake v-card.

Well let's face it, most of us watch those fancy cake shows on Food Network and wish we could be as awesome as they are. They can make a seven foot Sock Monkey holding sparklers with smoke coming out of his head. They can make the best Disney villain cake I have ever seen.

I don't pretend to be as good as them, and I don't plan on being as good as them. Most of the professionals I know have gone to culinary school and have perfected the art. I, have not. I am attending a journalism school studying writing, probably one of the farthest things away from cake decorating (except maybe math). I just want to be able to make some nice birthday and special occasion cakes for friends and family.

Through this blog, I will show the basics of cake decorating. Everything from delicious cake recipes to simple and easy techniques to make those cakes special and unique. I won't bog you down with technical terms or give you anything that the materials will cost you hundreds of dollars.

All I ask is that you stick with me, through fondant and buttercream, and try out some of the techniques and ideas. Soon enough, you'll be good cake decorators, impressing all your family and friends. They will see your cake and say "Oh my Jane, you're cake is blowing up my mind. How did you do that?" So if you want to blow the minds of your friends with your mad cake decorating skills, subscribe to my RSS feed and get cookin'!

Trust me....your cake will be better looking than this hot mess.