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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cake Decorating Icing

Making cakes & decorating them is something I really enjoy.  Although I'm good at making cakes, the decorating part is still pretty new to me & I have a long ways to go really.  But I plan to continue on that journey.  A friend of mine gave me this recipe a while back.  She is REALLY good at decorating cakes.  I found myself struggling when it came to "decorating" the cake--frosting is easy, but "decorating" was hard for me.  I always found the decorating stuff too soft & melting away later on.  I could never get it stiff enough.  This recipe works well.  I think the original recipe said to use either "lard" or "vegetable shortening", I can't remember, but I know it sounded very unappetizing for a cake.  I just subbed butter myself & it worked great.  However, today I was trying to do this recipe "vegan", so I used my Earth Balance instead of butter & it didn't turn out too great, it was very soft.  I do think it can be done, but I'm thinking don't add water & maybe more flour is needed.  If I do end up perfecting the vegan version at some point (maybe next month when I make Lil J's birthday cake) I will post it here, but for now I'm just gonna post it as the regular non-vegan version that I know works great.  I've used it several times.  It's exactly how I want it, where it's soft enough to work with while decorating & then as it dries it firms up nicely.

Cake Decorating Icing

1 Cup flour
1 Cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup water
Coloring of choice

*Mix flour & butter until fluffy
*add salt
*add water, a little at a time & mix well
*add sugar & coloring

Note 1: I often split this into several batches after it's made & add the coloring separately to each batch so I have several different colors to work with.

Note 2: I am very health conscious, but I have used natural colorings & am not happy with them (if I had a girl I think I woud be--they come out very pastel & usually pinky or lavenderish) so I do use the artificial colors sometimes.  A couple of drops of food coloring goes a long way in this recipe so the actual amount eaten is super small & I honestly don't think that small amount once or twice a year is going to do any major damage in the grand scheme of things. 

Note 3: This makes quite a large amount, I often have too much left over.  Unless you need A LOT consider halving the recipe or even quartering it.

Note 4: You will need a pastry bag with decorating tips to use this.  I LOVE mine, I had never used one up until a couple of years ago.  They are so nice & easy to use.  At some point I ordered one (from someone's kid's school fund raiser I think) that is more like a syringe, but I don't have the same amount of control over it as I do with the pastry bag.  A simple one with only a couple of attachments is pretty cheap, definitely worth buying if you plan to make cakes.  I would still love a more deluxe kit with more tip attachments myself, maybe someday.......

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