The presentation of the cake is the focal point of any celebration,so you want to make sure that when you bring the cake out at your next event, it’s a “Ta Da!” moment. That doesn’t mean you have to go to a trendy patisserie and plunk down several hundred dollars for one of the shop’s custom creations.

You can make your own signature cake right at home with a few simple tricks that will fool even the most eagle of eyes.

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Wilton Industries Inc., the first name in cake decorating, has provided these tips to help turn you into an overnight expert:

Cake Decorating Tips That Will Make Your Cake Look Store Bought

  • Baking the cake

    — This is the primary step in creating a masterpiece. Start by greasing your pan with solid vegetable shortening; this makes it easier to remove the cake than butter, margarine, or liquid vegetable shortening does. After thoroughly greasing the pan, add two tablespoons of flour and shake it around until all of the greased surface has been coated. Pour your batter into the pan and place the pan in a preheated oven.

    When the cake is done, remove the pan from the oven, place it on a wire rack, and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. When the time has elapsed, place a knife between the cake and the side of the pan and run it around the circumference of the pan to unmold the cake. Be sure you place the wire cooling rack against the cake so that you can turn it out onto the rack.

  • Leveling the cake

    — Before you ice, you want to create a smooth, level surface. To do this, place the cake on a cake board and put the board on a cake stand. Slowly rotate the stand while taking a knife and gently sawing back and forth until the top of the cake can be removed.

  • Coloring the icing

    — You can create color magicusing your favorite icing recipe if you add concentrated icing colors rather than liquid food coloring. That’s because liquid food coloring can thin the consistency of the icing so much that it drips down the sides and doesn’t pipe out from a pastry bag correctly.

    Always mix enough colored icing to complete the entire cake. You won’t be able to duplicate the exact shade if you have to create a second batch while you’re working.

  • Icing the cake using a spatula

    — Place a large amount of a thin consistency icing in the center of the cake top. Using a large angled spatula, spread it across the top, pushing the excess down over the edges onto the sides of the cake. Cover the sides with the excess icing, adding more if necessary.

  • Creating Effects

    — There are a number of ways to decorate an iced cake. You can use pre-packaged cake stencils and sprinkle cake sparkles over the stencil openings.Another simple way to create an effect is “combing” the cake. You can purchase a cake triangle and run it around the circumference of the cake to create ridges along the sides.

  • Take a little help from the experts

    — You can find a myriad of products to help you design a custom look for your cake at the Wilton website. You can also find these products at Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts, Hobby Lobby, and A.C. Moore.

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