From elegant swoops to graphic grooves, give your cake the frosting job it deserves. Create your design immediately after icing the cake while the frosting is soft. For more control, invest in a turntable. To prevent a mess, take four strips of parchment paper and tuck them halfway under and around the bottom cake layer. Remove the parchment when finished decorating.
When piping letters and more intricate designs, use a fine tip and practice on a parchment circle the same size as your cake layer first. If you want to easily switch between multiple piping tips without using a new piping bag, get a coupler to attach between the bag and the tip. Before piping, poke holes in the frosting with a wooden pick to sketch out shapes or letters and use the holes as your guide.
Apply an even coat on all sides of cake. Place bench scraper on turntable so long edge is vertical against the side of the cake. Slowly turn the table without moving the scraper until surface is smooth, removing excess frosting from edge of scraper as necessary.
Because it is malleable, Swiss meringue buttercream works best for this design. Apply a thick, even layer of frosting to cake. Place long edge of decorating comb—we use Wilton’s—vertically against side of cake. Gently push comb halfway into frosting, making sure comb does not touch the cake layer underneath. Slowly rotate turntable while holding comb in place.
3. Rustic Ridges:
Apply an even coat on all sides of cake. Place offset spatula at a slight diagonal against the side of the cake. Gently pull a line up through the frosting. Create another line next to the first. Repeat. Remove excess frosting from spatula as necessary.
Whipped frostings are great for swoopy designs because their texture is lighter. Apply frosting to top of cake with a large metal spoon. Use the back of the spoon to spread frosting down sides, moving spoon in small semicircle motions to create gentle swoops.
Use a variety of piping tips to create different textures and borders over smooth frosting. Push icing tip into empty piping bag. Trim bag so that half of tip is exposed. Fold down top of bag to make a cuff over hand. Use other hand to spoon frosting into bag until it is about two-thirds full. Unfold cuff, and push frosting down to end of bag. Use dominant hand to gently squeeze frosting out while other hand guides and steadies bag.