I am no Bakerella, and Joy the Baker has no need to fear as I hardly ever enter my kitchen to cook or bake. I do make a good cup of tea though and frequently throughout the day need to enter the kitchen to “put the kettle on” as my Irish friend, Neve says :) All kidding aside, from time to time I need to turn on the oven for more than a frozen pizza when I need to bake a cake and decorate it in a festive way to help celebrate certain occasions. Recently I was reminded of a way my mom used to decorate cakes and immediately wanted to share it with you.
Nine times out of ten every cake I have ever made comes out a bit – sad, lopsided, or burnt on the edges. It never looks like something you would see on a food blog or in a magazine. After it cools, I say to myself “Oh, I will just disguise all the imperfections with lots of icing”, but then as I begin to ice – the top slides off – yes it has happened, or the crumbs from the cake mix in with the icing – not pretty. My mom wasn’t a baker either, but she always wanted everything to look nice and festive. One year when I was a teenager, she came up with the easiest way ever to decorate a cake for my younger sister’s birthday.
My mom found curled ribbon gift toppers at the dollar store and used them as the perfect way to decorate a cake when you are not a cake decorator, have no time to get out piping bags and food coloring, or want to do something a little different. The dollar store carries every color imaginable so you are sure to find a color to fit any occasion or theme. 3 come on each card. I used all three to make each cake topper shown in the photo above.
She glued the center of the curled ribbons to the little white plastic risers that hold up the inside center of a pizza box so the pizza cheese doesn’t stick to the inside lid. When the glue was dry, she pressed the legs of the riser into the center of the cake to secure the ribbons.
Those risers are hard to come by nowadays, so I used what I had plenty of – birthday cake candle holders. They are much smaller, but work just as well. If you don’t have any – all you need is something that has a flat surface to glue the ribbons to and a thin section to press into the cake.
To glue the curled ribbons to the candle holder: Center first section of ribbon onto a candle holder. Use hot glue to secure. Hold it in place until it is cool.
Add the second bunch on top of the first, but in the other direction so the center of each bunch of curled ribbons intersects on top of the candle holder.
Glue the last bunch on top of the second, but on the diagonal so that the ribbons are evenly placed around the candle holder.
Once the glue is cool, press the candle holder into the center of the cake and arrange the ribbon curls if necessary. All imperfections hidden, just festive and ready to WOW the crowd. When it is time to cut the cake, simply remove the ribbons and place around the sides of the cake plate so the cake still looks festive.
If the cake is for a birthday, use tall candles so the flame will be high above the ribbon.