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Make Perfect Sharp Edges on Cakes

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Icing cakes can be the most challenging part of cake decorating...can I get an amen? 

At least it was for me when I first started... my cakes were... well, kinda ugly.

It took me time and patience and practice AND a little DIY tool.... the "Sewing Gauge Tool".

Where did it come from? Pure and utter desperation *dun*dun*dunnnnn*

Scene: 10 years ago....

Me, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, diving headfirst into cake decorating after binge-watching (yeah you could do that back then) Food Network Challenge.

I was inspired! Now, I had been working at a bakery since I was 15, but they didn't make these kinda cakes... I wanted to make the "OMG! NO WAY, THAT'S NOT CAKE! It can't be!" kind-o cakes.

I dove in! I played, I learned, I dabbled. Which, I gotta say, family and friends thought they were "super cool", but I'd seen what some of the cakes out there COULD look like. I knew I could do wayyyyy better and I desperately wanted to UP my game.

So, I changed gears and I put together my dinky little portfolio of cakes. I presented it to a high-end cake studio (with all my fingers and toes crossed) and actually landed myself a job!

That's right, I was gonna do this full time! *gulp*

I knew it was going to be hard work, but it was a place where I could learn and refine my new found passion... cake art!

Got in there and quickly realized their "bread and butter" was tiered wedding cakes (as with most high-end cake studios). (whomp whomp whomp)

Just to clarify, I LOVE wedding cakes, but back then.. I sucked at them. I couldn't ice a cake *save my life*.

Level top? Ha, in my dreams.

Sharp corners? Wasn't gotta happen.

Smooth sides? Not even close.

Bubbles? Yep.

It was my number one cake hangup.

This was one of my first buttercream cakes vs. what my buttercream cakes look like now...

Like I share in the video, I literally came up with this little life savin' DIY tool while I was laying in bed one night... what I didn't tell you is that I was WORRYING. I couldn't sleep.

I was worried I would show up for another day of work and disappoint them (and myself). I didn't feel like I was delivering the level of skill they required and it was eating me up inside.

Ok, dramatic? Maybe. But, it was my job.... and even more so? My newfound passion that I REALLY wanted to pursue and I felt like this was a giant wall that I couldn't climb.

I couldn't let something like icing the cake (one of the most basic skills) get in my way!

SO, I tackled it, I wrestled it into submission (which I don't suggest to do with cake, it gets messy) and came out the other side with a set of techniques that truly "fit" me.

Now, I know there are TONS of ways to ice a cake... And, honestly, I actually like a lot of the "newer" (meaning your grandma didn't do it) techniques like the upside-down method and acrylics (which I actually cover how to do both, my way, in my "Foundational Techniques for a Perfect Cake Course"). Shoot, now that I've gotten the swing of things, I even like the ole' fashion way. However, I encourage you to find out what works best for you. There is no "right" or "wrong" way, it's whatever way works! For me, this technique is still my go-to!

So, I'm sure you're like "WOMAN, just show us the dang video!"

You can grab it here(100% free) and I'll send it straight to your email along with the DIY on how to create the DIY tool!

You can use this tool with buttercream (American or Meringue based) or Ganache!

Bonus! That tool? You can also put level marks on your cake for making perfectly placed horizontal fondant stripes. AND, that's not all, you can use this to level your cake layers!

Indeed.. you must have, am I right? Well, you make it yourself, from items you can find at your local hobby store.

 Published: 07/07/2014

Last modified on January 20th, 2021

meet the author

Avalon Yarnes

Avalon Yarnes is multi-award winning cake artist and educator. Her work has been featured on tv shows, in magazines, books and more. She has been named one of the top 10 Cake Artists in America by Cake Masters Magazine and Dessert Professional Magazine. She's always cooking up something innovative that she can share with her students. Learn with Avalon here inside Avalon Cakes Online School of Sugar Art, where her (and her friends) teach you how to make incredible art with of cakes, cookies and more!

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MY SUGAR COVERED FRIEND

I'm Avalon -- and I'm not your typical cake decorator. I'm obsessed with fusing the world of ART and CAKE. Sugar is my canvas. If you're down to get messy and dive into a whole new level of cake, take my virtual hand, cause I've got so many secrets I want to show you! learn more>>

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