Buttercream Frosting: There are many recipes for buttercream frosting and this is Kelly Delaney’s favorite because it is easy to make and tastes great. She highly recommends it for decorating your cakes. Frosting is also available in grocery stores, but if you have the time you may wish to try making your own.

l lb unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1⁄2 cups sugar
6 large egg whites


1. Whip butter in a 5-quart bowl of an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
2. Combine the sugar and egg whites in another 5-quart bowl.
3. Set the sugar and egg whites bowl over a pot of barely simmering water (ban marie) and whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and egg whites are warm (testing like a baby’s bottle, warm to touch on your wrist).
4. Remove from stove and whip on electric mixer on high speed until mixture forms stiff peaks.
5. Switch the whip attachment to a paddle attachment. Add whipped butter, a little at a time, mixing until well incorporated. (The longer you mix it, the lighter and better the buttercream is to work with.)

Note: The frosting can be made 72 hours in advance. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of Kelly Delaney, Cakes for Occasions, 2009.

Kelly Delaney of Cakes For Occasions shows how different decorating tips can give you a wide range of looks for each of your cakes. These are her "must have" tips.

You've seen me decorating in the past, and I use all sorts of different tips that we use in order to get different looks, whether it's a bead border or a shell tip for a shell border. We also make roses and do straight lines. I'd like to introduce you to five tips that I think you might want to think about having in your toolbox, so next time you go to decorate a cake, you can get any kind of look.

There's the round tip, the star, the basket weave tip, the rose tip, and the leaf tip. What I'm going to do is I'm going to show you the difference that all these different tips can make. So first is the round tip. This is a number three tip. What we're going to do is we're going to be using the round tip when we write on a cake and we do an inscription.

It's a smaller opening, it's more used for the inscription and also used for the fine lines, and intricate borders, and intricate piping that you may do, like a lace. I'm going to make an inscription and write happy birthday. And as you can see, it's all about how much pressure you're applying on the back in order to pipe out your inscription.

It makes it nice and delicate, and it actually works really well. When you're using something like a chocolate or a nice, creamy, butter cream frosting, it'll pipe out perfectly. The next tip we're going to use is the same round tip, but this is a number six. This is great for borders, and when you're using this tip, you're going to be applying a little bit more pressure so that way you get a wider opening.

And what we're going to do is we're going to pipe little individual beads, just like that. Now, you can also use this and you could do a little bit less pressure and then do an alternate way of piping. And as you can see, the more pressure that you actually apply, the bigger your border's going to be, and obviously the less pressure that you apply, the smaller it'll be.

The next tip that we like to use is our star tip. This is a number 16. This is actually perfect for when you're doing top borders. A little rule of thumb too, when you're decorating. You always want to have your top border a little bit smaller than your bottom border. It just gives definition to what you're doing, and you want your bottom border to stand out a little bit more.

So the number 16 is a shell tip and we're going to apply pressure and release. This gives a little scallops or little shells along your cake. The number 20 tip, the same shell tip, but slightly bigger, this is used for the bottom border. And as you can see as I'm piping, a much bigger shell, and that's perfect and it complements the number 16 tip very nicely when you're decorating the cake.

The next one we're going to be using in a basket weave. This is great. This actually basket weave has two sides. So the one side actually looks like little teeth, and then the other side is a flat side. Basket weaves come in different sizes and different types. I'm going to recommend you get the one with the teeth on one and the flat side in the other, because it's almost like getting a two for one.

Because that way, when you go to decorate, once side could be a rigid edge and the other side could be a flat edge. Just something to think about. Let me show you what I mean. I'm going to start off with the ridged edge. This is the traditional basket weave. You pipe down an odd number of lines.

So you make little lines down, and then you're going to make T's right across. And when you're doing this on a cake, you're going to be spinning the cake as you go. Now, to use the same tip but get a different effect for lines, you're going to turn it around to do the other side.

This is also a great tip to use as well if you want to put more of a frame look on your cake for the bottom border. So you just use the flat side out, and then you pipe it around so it looks more like a trim or a frame rather than a basket. The next tip I have is our leaf tip. This is a number 350. Leaf tips too also come in many different sizes, but the 350 works really well for the size.

As you notice with the leaf tip, there's an actual slit along the side, and it's almost like a mouth, like a pointy mouth. And how you want to use it is to keep the mouth, the open part, against the cake, apply pressure, and release. And in doing so, that gives that definition and almost of a vein look inside that leaf.

You can also turn it the opposite way and you could do more of a ridge look, up and down. So again, this tip is almost a two in one as well, but this one was most commonly used for the leaf. And lastly is our rose tip. This is a number 103. This rose tip is perfect for making those nice, delicate roses, but not so small that they take a long time, and also not so big that it gives you too much frosting when you're making your rose.

But before I do that, I also want to show you the other benefit is you can also use it as a border. You'll see on our rose tip we have a thick edge and then we have a thin edge. Always want to use it with a thick edge towards the bottom of the cake and then the thin edge up top. And what I'm going to do to show you a nice border is we're just going to apply pressure and just do a wave. Just like that, right along your cake.

I'd like to introduce you and show you how to make a rose. I like to make my roses on a wooden dowel, so what I take is I take my rose tip, the thick part, on the top of the dowel. I have my elbows tight into my body, and I'm going to pipe out my rose, and I'm going to spin my dowel. So I make that cote, center part of that rose sitting on top of the dowel.

If you don't have that part, just keep doing it over and over again until you get that and you master that, because you need that. That's the center part and it's going to hold up the rest of your rose. I'm going to be spinning the dowel, and I'm going to pipe what I like to call little tiny rainbows. And we start off with odd numbers. We talk about in decorating, everything's done in odd numbers.

We're going to pipe one rainbow up and down. And all I'm doing is I'm spinning my dowel. My hand isn't doing the work. My hand's applying pressure, but my other hand, my left hand, is actually spinning the dowel. I'm going to spin it around and pipe three. So I have one core, three rainbows, and in the next, I'm going to go five rainbows.

One. Four, five. I'll do it again for one more row. And each time I pipe my rainbows, I go down a little bit more on that dowel so it holds it. So as you can see, I've got my rows just like that, and then to remove it, I use a pair of regular scissors, and I'm just going to spin. Again, this hand's going to be doing all the work.

I'm just going to spin that dowel. I'm going to spin it down. And there's your rose. You can put it right onto your cake. So those are the five tips that I highly recommend that you get to use for any kind of decorating. There are so many other different sizes. There's many different types of tips, but just to start with, let's start with these five and then we'll slowly expand our tip collection.

Cake Decorating Tips
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