Sunday, January 8, 2012

My favorite decorating tool

I have a bad habit of buying all these fancy decorating kits. One such kit was a Wilton gum paste set, which has come in handy and is fun to play with. Yet, even with all my fancy tools, I tend to go back to my favorite decorating tool: a plastic knife. Not a fancy one, but pretty much the plastic knife you can get at any fast food restaurant or buy in bulk.

Fancy, right?  I like using the plastic ones better than real knives because they are lighter and a little more flexible. The serrated edge helps make texture while the opposite flat side helps smooth out areas. The bottom of the knife can smooth out tight tiny spaces and the very tip top can make lines in to follow when piping detail. While it might be hard to see the ordinary plastic knife as a culinary master tool, you need to try it. I decoated this Wall-E cake with nothing but a piping bags full of icing, the plastic knife,  and (newly purchased, cheap) tweezers to place sprinkles. 

Note the lines in Wall-e's tire tread feet (?) and extended arm; I was able to make straight lines because I make an outline for them with the top of the knife. The bulk of the yellow was smoothed by the flat side of the knife. To keep the gray from bleeding into his fingers, I was able to use the top of the knife to extract errant gray icing, which is another great use for the knife. The knife can scrap any mistakes off without damaging the cake or any of the decorations. A paper towel makes the knife easy to wipe off so you do not have to stop and wash it if you are using multiple colors in your cake decorating. I find with some other tools that you cannot simple wipe off the excess icing and continue on, but that you have to wash it to get all the icing off.

So next time you are at the grocery store, pick up a cheap box of plastic knives and test out their decorating power!

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