Level: Basic PLUS
With a lifelong interest in beautifully decorated cakes, Ginger Parker enjoys reading and writing about cake decorating techniques and trends....
Elegant cake designs don't have to be complicated. With a little bit of style or artistic flair, even easy cake decorations can be used to make elegant cake designs. These ideas use simple and inexpensive embellishments to make even a simple boxed cake mix look sophisticated and special.
One way to use edible cake decorations for elegant cakes is by focusing on tone-on-tone colors. Silver sprinkles or dragees, shiny edible ball sprinkles, look wonderful on a cake with white frosting. Sprinkles are the ultimate easy cake decorations, and using them in a single color on a matching color of frosting looks beautiful. Try yellow colored sugar sprinkles on pale yellow lemon frosting, or chopped nuts on light brown caramel frosting.
Sliced fruit is a great choice for easy cake decorations that are a little more festive but still sophisticated. Simple ripe red strawberries sliced and arranged in overlapping circles on dark chocolate frosting makes a decadent dessert. For even more decadence, macerate an assortment of berries by stirring them with a tablespoon or two of sugar and, optionally, a few tablespoons of your favorite liqueur. Refrigerate them in a bowl for several hours, then pour the syrupy berries over a cheesecake.
Another simple way to turn ordinary easy cake decorations into something special is to decorate only the sides of the cake, leaving the top with plain smooth icing. Chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut, chopped candy bars, and crushed peppermint candies are all good choices for this method. To get the sides of the cake decorated, take a small handful at a time and gently press it into the frosting, working your way around the cake. Try doing this holding the cake at a slight angle over a large bowl of your chosen decoration, allowing the excess to fall back into the bowl and keeping your serving dish clean.
One final idea for elegant cake designs is a light dusting of powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon sugar, or colored decorating sugar. For best results, use a strainer or sifter to dust either an unfrosted cake or one that has been chilled to fully set the frosting. You can dust all over the top of the cake or use a stencil for a more polished look. Stencils are available at craft stores in hundreds of shapes, or you can make your own or use a paper doily. Go for an intricate geometric or lace design, or stencil the shape of an object or words to fit your theme or cake flavor. Be sure to dust the cake just before serving because the sugar will slowly dissolve on the cake.