First Time Cake Decorating – Baking The Cake – Review

As mentioned in the introduction to First Time Cake Decorating, cakes are an integral part of celebrations. There are very few celebrations which don’t have their own special cake front and center.

This book is designed not only for the beginner decorator but also as a go-to guide for those who have more experience.

There are four basic sections in the book, starting with Basic Cake Preparation. Nothing could be more important before decorating than to prepare a good foundation.

Tools For Making And Decorating Cakes gives you a list of the desired tools needed for cake decorating. Not all of the tools are strictly required, but are all practical and will enhance your process.

Next comes Baking The Cake, which covers all aspects of creating your cake including various factors which will affect the outcome. Torting And Filling Cakes comes next explaining how to add fillings between cake layers complete with step-by-step instructions.

Filling Recipes are next with a couple of simple filling recipes and information about using fresh fruit and icing as filling. Icing recipes follow with a few standard recipes, including of course the so popular royal icing recipe.

Food Color is covered next with the complete list of all of the different types of food colorings and helpful information. There are complete instructions on how to color both icing and fondant.

The rest of section 1 includes:

  • Icing A Cake In Buttercream
  • Buttercream Iced Cakes With Texture
  • Covering A Cake With Rolled Fondant
  • Storage And Transportation Of Cakes
  • Cake Boards
  • Stacking Cakes
  • Cake Chart

Section 2 covers Piping Techniques. In this section, you will you learn how to use pastry bags, tips, and couplers. It will also instruct you in creating a basic piping, piping borders, writing, creating simple flowers, advanced flowers, and brush embroidery.

Fondant And Gum Paste Accents are covered in section 3. This section also provides you with a required equipment list. You discover all you need to know all about silicone border molds, accents, rolling, cutting, flower making, and hand modeling.

Various Miscellaneous Techniques, like stencils, shimmer and sparkle cakes, edible frosting sheets, painting and coloring on fondant, and airbrushing are covered in section 4.

Clear To Follow Directions

Throughout the book, the step-by-step instructions are accompanied by many pictures. It could only be easier to follow along if you had a one-on-one demonstration in person.

This is the kind of encyclopedia-like book that you would refer to many times. I am sure that the claim in the introduction that even an experienced decorator would get something out of this book is entirely correct.

While the book makes everything look extremely easy, I am completely sure that it will take a lot of practice in order to create some of the delights presented. But I do believe that this book makes it a lot easier.

Although not a recipe, I have included the Baking The Cake instructions on how to prepare a cake for icing, because it’s important to have a good foundation with which to work. You have to start off right. But then, of course, you will have to purchase the book in order to find out how to frost it. Enjoy!

Baking The Cake

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There are many cake recipe books or hundreds of recipes online, many of which are complete with ratings and baking suggestions, for baking a cake from scratch. For those who want to bake a cake quickly, commercial manufacturers of cake mixes have done a fantastic job perfecting their mix. Commercial cake mixes will vary in flavor, texture, and baking performance. Experiment with different brands to find the best flavor. If the cake does not taste fantastic, your work will not be fully appreciated.


  • cake batter
  • insulation strips if desired
  • grease for pans
  • Flour for dusting


  • Brush on Pan Grease or grease and flour the inside of the pan. It is very important to thoroughly grease every crevice in shaved and novelty pans. Insulation strips (see page 11) can be used so that cakes will rise evenly. Dampen the strips with water, squeeze out the excess, and place the strips around the outside of the cake pan. Secure the strips with a straight pin.
  • Follow recipe instructions for mixing the cake batter. Fill the greased and flour-dusted pan with the cake batter approximately 2/3 full.
  • Bake according to recipe instructions. Shortly before the time elapses, test if the cake is done by inserting a cake tester into the center of the cake. If the cake is done, the cake tester should come out clean with just a few crumbs but no moist areas. The edges should begin to pull away and become golden. Place the baked cake on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. If the cake is too warm when removing it from the hot pan, the cake may crack or fall apart. Do not leave the cake in the pan too long, or the cake will stick. The pan should be warm to the touch but not hot or cooled completely.
  • If the cake did not rise evenly, or if the cake has a dome, level the top of the cake with a cake slicer or large bread knife. The cake may split when turning over if the top of the cake is not level.
  • When the cake pan is cool enough to handle, slide that a knife along the edge of the pan.
  • Place a cooling rack on top of the pan. While holding the rack and pan securely together, flip the baked cake over with the cooling rack.
  • Slowly lift the cake pan straight up and away from the cake. Allow the cake to cool.
  • If the cake is still not level, use a cake slicer to even the top.


Pan Grease
Pan Grease, or Bakers Grease, helps cakes release properly from pans. There is no need to flour the pan if Pan Grease is used. Simply brush a thick layer of Pan Grease on to the pan. Pan Grease is available in cake and candy supply stores. The pan may also be greased with a solid vegetable shortening and then dusted with flour.
Sheet of parchment paper can be cut to fit the pan to ensure the bottom of the cake will not stick. It is still important to grease and flour the cake pan even if using parchment.
About the Reviewer:

Chris Sadler is WebAdmin and Reviewer for
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