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  Home :: techniques & tips :: Words of Wisdom: Writing on Cakes

Words of Wisdom: Writing on Cakes

Decorating a cake is the ideal way to create an edible greeting, whatever the occasion. By carefully selecting the decorations and adding a personal message, cakes can be tailored to any event, from a birthday or Christening to a thank you or get well soon.

Writing a message on to a cake is a great way to personalise your creation and can form part of or even the whole design. There are many ways to get your message across, from writing with liquid colouring to cutting out shapes from sugar paste icing, all giving different effects but all looking, and tasting, great.

Deciding what to write on cakes

The occasion will determine what to write on the cake. Messages for birthdays or weddings are obvious, but don’t be scared to go for something other than the traditional “Congratulations” or “Best Wishes”. Feel free to say something more personal, write a short joke or poem or simply add on the recipient’s name. Creating something unique is one of the best things about having a tailor-made cake, so let your creativity out to play.

Writing on to icing

Writing straight on to icing can be tricky but with a bit of practice the results are amazing. This style is great for a really personalised message and looks fantastic on Christening and wedding cakes. Be sure to have your cake placed correctly on a cake board and consider using a decorating turntable to make icing and writing easier. To get the best results the icing must be completely flat., so use a straight edge smoother and polisher to even out any lumps and bumps so you start with a perfect canvas.

Roll out some sugar paste icing, whether pre-coloured, plain or dyed with edible liquid colour, to practice on and gather a range of tools to see which works best. Try food colouring or edible liquid colour as the ink. These come in a range of colours, including glittery and neon options, so there is something to go with any theme. They can be used to write on to icing with a cocktail stick, paintbrush or pipette. Be careful not to press too hard on the icing to avoid marking or ripping it and ensure you write smoothly so the letters flow. It’s a good idea to keep a piece of tissue in your other hand and follow across as you write so you do not have to trail the writing implement across the cake and risk dropping colouring where it is not wanted.

Creating letters from icing and marzipan

For a bolder look which works particularly well for kids cakes, cut letters out of rolled icing or marzipan. Use biscuit cutters, make a cardboard template of the letters required or do it freehand. Avoid going overboard with the use of the rolling pin - too thin and the icing or marzipan will crack when you pick it up to transfer it to the cake.

Letters can also be made in 3D from rolled sausages of icing or marzipan. These can be laid flat and stuck on with a little water or melted chocolate or stood up with the help of cocktail sticks.

Icing can also be piped on to create the message. Get an icing bag and try out the different nozzles and decorating tubes available to see what effects are possible. For a really easy way to write a message on a cake use the Wilton easy pipe cake decorating message set. The stamps make an impression of a greeting in the icing which can then be followed over with piping icing, making cake decorating hassle-free for those with less than perfect handwriting.