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KEY:  GOOD ★★★  FAIR ★★  POOR ★

Your cakes deserve to look as good as they taste. The experts at America's Test Kitchen have assembled the must-have tools for home cake decorating. Cue the ooohs and aaahs.

Winco Revolving Cake Decorating Stand

Winner - Highly Recommended
Published in Cook's Country Magazine December 2015 We rated each stand on height, weight, stability, surface, and rotation. This stand was tall, providing excellent visibility and comfort. It was solid but light, and its surface and base were attached. This made it easy to carry but also meant it couldn’t be submerged in water (although we did just to see what would happen; it still spun perfectly). It rotated quickly and smoothly yet stopped precisely where we asked it to, and it had three shallow circles etched onto its surface for easy centering.

OXO Good Grips Bent Icing Knife

Winner - Highly Recommended
Published in Cook's Country Magazine September 2015 We tested six offset spatulas by slathering dozens of jelly rolls and layer cakes with heavy cream cheese frosting, glossy meringue, thick caramel, and smooth buttercream. From handle to tip, this spatula was sized right. The 6.5-inch blade was sturdy but nimble, and testers made quick work of icing cakes with all types of frosting. It also felt exceptionally comfortable in hand, thanks to an easy-to-grip rubber-coated handle.
ANGLE 28" BLADE LENGTH 7.75" Total, 6.75 Flat BLADE THICKNESS 0.81mm

Test Kitchen Self-Assembled à La Carte Decorating Set

This set has all the essentials: six core tips in the right sizes, twelve 16-inch disposable pastry bags, and a set of four reusable couplers. The six tips make topping cupcakes, decorating cakes, piping pâte à choux, and filling savory foods effortless.
SET INCLUDES ⁃ 12 Wilton 16-inch pastry bags, 2 small plastic couplers, 2 large plastic couplers, Wilton Tips: #4 round, #12 round, #70 leaf, #103 petal, #2D large closed star, #1M open star

Digital Download: America’s Test Kitchen Cake Decorating Tips & Tricks

Free with the purchase of The Ultimate Cake Decorating Kit
Link to download will be included in your order confirmation email

Cake Decorating Tips & Tricks

Avoid these Layer Cake Mistakes

Domed Cake

Cake layers that are domed won’t stack securely. Doming is caused by cake pans that are too small or an oven that’s too hot; use an oven thermometer to check. If your cakes do dome, slice off the dome with a serrated knife.

Uneven Cake

To ensure layer cakes bake evenly, bake side by side on one oven rack. We tested our yellow layer cake baked side by side on one oven rack, on two racks with one pan directly above the other, and on two racks with one pan on the top left and the other on the lower right. Only the cakes on the same rack baked evenly.

Lazy Cook’s Frosting

Need a simple frosting that takes barely a minute to make? Whip some cream and sugar in a food processor. Whereas whipping cream in a stand mixer produces light, billowy peaks, the sharp, fast-moving blades of a food processor can’t add as much air. Instead, they produce a dense, creamy consistency that works well as a quick, spreadable topping for snack cakes, angel food and chiffon cakes, and cupcakes; it was also very effective when piped through a pastry bag to make decorative edging. Even better, because the smaller air bubbles created by the food processor are more stable than the bigger bubbles created by a stand mixer, we found that the processed cream kept its thick, dense texture for two full weeks.

Method: Process 2 cups heavy cream, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in food processor for 45 seconds. Pulse in 5-second intervals for another 15 to 20 seconds, until cream has reached consistency of buttercream frosting.

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