Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How's your penmanship?

Is your handwriting less than desirable? Do you stress out whenever you need to write on a cake? Here are some ideas that might help...
  • Writing on paper and writing on a cake are not the same. You write differently for each. When using a decorating bag, you must use your entire arm, from the shoulder down, instead of  just moving your hand and wrist, as you would with writing on paper. 
  • Make sure your icing is the proper consistency...not too stiff, but not too runny either.
  • Measure or eyeball where your letters will be so you can space them evenly. Sometimes it's easier to work from the outside in, or from both ends of the lettering to the middle.
  • Try using different fonts. Have your message printed out on a piece of paper just like you want it on the cake, so you can use it as a guide.
  • Practice, practice, practice! Write your message several times on a practice board, if necessary, before writing on the cake. 
  • Don't be afraid to scrape your lettering off with a small spatula and try again, if necessary. It's easier to do repair work on crusting buttercream or fondant.
  • When your letters need to be exact, use some sort of letter cutters. I like to use "Tappits." They work best with a very stiff, slightly dry gumpaste or modeling chocolate, rolled out very thin. I love modeling chocolate. Recently, I cut out very small letters with my scrapbook letter punches using modeling chocolate rolled out very very thin. You can also use letter punches with icing sheets. (The modeling chocolate tastes much better, of course.)
Here are some examples of lettering, some done freehand, and others using letter cutters or punches. Remember, I have been decorating cakes for over 35 years and my first lettering on cakes did not look like what it does now. Practice, practice, practice!

"Department of the Air Force" on seal and capital letters on cake all done free hand.
All lettering done with Tappits except "United States of America" punched out with scrapbooking punch.
Air Force Seal-all parts except for lettering cut out with Cricut Cake. Border piped with royal icing.
Upper and lower case Tappits. Upper case set comes with strip cutter.
"Dept. of AF" and "USA" cut out of modeling chocolate. The rest cut out of gumpaste.
Scrapbook punches
Another font...upper and lower case funky letter Tappits
Click here for a You Tube video on using Tappits.
Graduation cakes for twin sisters...a little different font for each...all done free hand.

Don't let writing on cakes intimidate you. Just keep practicing and you'll eventually have beautiful writing on your cakes.

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