Inexpensive way to top off a simple cake (instructions below)

I work with a bakery, and once we do tiered cakes we utilize the smooth part of a Viva paper towel (one other part is wavy that is sliiiightly once the icing has crusted over just enough to perhaps not stick to it. ...

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  • I work in a bakery, and when we do tiered cakes we use the smooth side of a Viva paper towel (the other side is sliiiightly wavy) when the icing has crusted over just enough to not stick to it.
  • I work in a bakery too and I'm trying to convince my boss that her team is capable of doing silly, simple cakes. The one above was a test run for my birthday cake, and while it's not perfect, I wasn't working with 100% of the proper tools (e.g. straight spatula, cake round). I think it's something she'll dig, if only as a trick to smooth out buttercream. I originally tried smoothing it out with the reverse side of the paper towel which has a tight criss-cross pattern, which turned out kind of neat.
  • Oh god... Just the word buttercream brings back memories of culinary school. And almost makes me sick to my stomach... After two years of making that stuff I don't think I can ever eat it again.
  • Swiss/Italian buttercream is so much better. 🙂
  • What's the difference?
  • My best friends aunt decorates cakes from her home and does the same thing with patterned paper towels. I think it looks awesome myself. I've never tried her method but she says putting it in the freezer with the paper towel still on it and letting it freeze a little helps the print show up better... or something. Like I said, I haven't tried it, so ymmv. And offset spatulas and large scrapers is what we use for base icing.
  • I ended up using the straight back of a butter knife and a bowl scraper to glob the frosting on and spread it out, initially. My offset spatula buggered off at some point in time, so given that fact, I had to make do with what I had. And while this was just my personal birthday cake, meant for me, my boyfriend, and some co-workers to eat - meaning it didn't have to be showy for any particular reason - I wanted to try something different. I've spent most of my 20s making my own "fun" birthday cakes, and this year, I thought I'd try something new, but easy. Plus, I did secretly wanted to impress my boss in the hopes she'll give her employees (we're bakers) more responsibilities in the kitchen.
  • How do you get the pattern to remain smooth and uniform around the edges? There has to be an overlap or seam somewhere. How do you deal with that?
  • The paper towel I used was big enough to sit on the top and cover all the way down to my ghetto upside down paper plate it's sitting on, so when I was smoothing out the top, I just continued in one movement down the sides, taking extra care at the edges where the side and top met. When it came time to set the pattern for good, I took my time making sure the square paper towel was adhering to the round shape of the cake with minimal overlapping.
  • Thanks for the reply. That is what I figured you did.
  • My mom ran an underground cake-making business out of our house when I was a kid and I always remember her using this trick!
  • That's awesome! When I saw the pic, I thought maybe you were going to show a good way to wrap a cake up in a paper towel for transportation. Very nice work!
  • Had this done on our wedding cake in 1992! So many compliments and "how did you do that?" The disbelief was funny. Forgot the brand our baker used. Now I'm on the hunt!
  • I made this for my birthday yesterday and proudly posted it to Facebook, where I was met with a rush of, "Oh my, how did you get that pattern so perfect?" or "How much time did you spend doing THAT?"
  • I thought it was a paper towel cake
  • This was my first thought. I mean, it's a neat effect, but it looks like some dumbass just wrapped a cake in a paper towel and forgot to take it off. Maybe in a color other than white with other decorations it might not look so weird.
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