Ask Nancy Archives

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I'll be answering ten questions each month... and if your question is chosen, I'll post a personalized response!

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Do you have a baking, decorating or celebrating question for Nancy? Now is your chance to have it answered.

Check here each month, Nancy will select ten questions submitted by viewers and posting her answers here.


Decorating Techniques Questions

I have recently became disabled, have worked all my life, now I am bored to tears. I have decided to teach myself cake decorating. Are there any inexpensive recipes, to use for practice with the different tips, until I gain confidence to use real icing?

Bethany - from Chattanooga, TN

I need to make a Monster High birthday cake but have no idea how. I can't really even decorate a cake, and little money to work with.

megan - from erie, IL

I am making a red velvet cake and want to know if I can use pink icing color in the cake mix since I don't have red icing color. I really don't want to buy a red one when I'm only going to use it once. I use pink more.

terri-ann - from oshawa, Ontario

I am planning on making farm animal face cupcake toppers out of fondant and wanted to make them ahead of time. They are flat and will sit on top of the iced cupcakes. How far in advance can I make them and how should they be stored?

Jamie - from Nashville, IA

What kind of chalk do you talk about when coloring flowers? Are they easy to get? Is it the same as that one used on chalkboards or is it like powdered color?

Carolina Mendez Hernandez - from San Jose, Costa Rica

I have arthritis in my hands and have difficulty kneading gum paste. Can my stand mixer be used?

Jean - from Ellicott City, MD

Our local PBS station has stopped airing your show. How should i approach this? I really miss it.

linda - from sharpsville, PA

I would like to know if there's a school to learn how to make cakes?

Dalila Torres - from Concord, CA

You made a monkey lolipop cake. Where did you get the mold for the monkey?

cathy - from hanover, PA

Recently I saw your show where you used a lamb cake pan to create the most wonderful dinosaur using fondant. Can you please tell me where I can find the directions for creating that particular cake on your web site. I neglected to write down which episode it was on. Thank you very much.

Alda - from Millerton, NY

I am trying to make monogram "C"'s to place on top of 90 mini wedding cakes iced with Italian Meringue Buttercream. I have been piping the letters on parchment and am already worried about breakage. I read somewhere that waxed paper is better? Also, how would you go about storing them, transporting them, and securing them to the top of the cakes. Would they hold up in the fridge? Thanks!

Bridget - from Corvallis, OR

What kind of icing or chocolate do you use for your cake pops on the show?

Edna - from San francisco, CA

When I'm decorating a cake how can I prevent my icing lines from breaking?

Cassie - from Nortonville, KS

How old do you think a decorator should be?

Israa - from Dearborn, MI

Where are the directions for the lady bug cupcake? It's darling. Thank you.

Marianne - from milwaukee, WI

What is the difference between gum paste and fondant? Can you flavor them?

Rachel - from Houston, TX

How do you put fondant on a square cake? Thank you!

Ruth - from Glasgow, KY

When doing the brush embroidery, what is best for dipping the brush in and what type of brush should I use?

Cheryl - from Darlington, SC

Can you decorate all types of cakes with fondant icing or are there only certain types that work?

Joanna - from Melbourne, Victoria

Would you use cream cheese frosting for a basketweave decoration?

shoko - from mexico , mexico

Is it necessary to level all cakes when stacking them? If so, how do you know when you've trimmed enough? Also, is it best to freeze the cakes before trimming? Thanks, Nancy! Love your show!!!

Emily - from Smithfield , NC

Where can i buy the sparkly glitter sugar to decorate cookies and cupcakes not the pearl dust?

Penny - from Mount Pleasant, IA

I made fondant cutouts about 1 week before placing them on buttercream-iced cupcakes. I placed them against the piped buttercream so they were at an angle however they soon started to sag. I had to cut the tops off the cupcakes to make them completely flat. What did I do wrong? Should I have left the fondant cutouts to dry a lot longer or will fondant absorb moisture from buttercream icing no matter how hard the fondant cutouts are?

Lorraine - from Perth, Western Australia

I made cupcakes using a tip for a rose on top. I also made butterflies out of royal icing and placed them on top of the cupcakes, but after an hour the butterflies went soft. Can you please tell me why this has happened?

sally - from colchester , England

I'm trying to make buttercream roses and i understand you need a stiff buttercream. I tried it with refrigerated buttercream and it didnt work. It was too stiff. Was that wrong to do? Should i start over and add more sugar? I had 3 cups of sugar in it.

rachel - from east windsor, NJ

Can i make bows using only fondant?

sapha - from Addu city, republic of maldives

I tried making rice cereal treats but is was a total failure. I want to use it to make a cell phone and other decorations for a handbag cake. My rice cereal treats were so sticky that they would not come off the the wax paper. What would you suggest? I have to bake the cake in May and want to try it before the time. Thank you

Elda - from Krugersdorp, South Africa

I'm making cookie pops that will have an edible image on them. Should I put royal icing or buttercream frosting on the cookie before placing the edible image on top? Also how advanced can I make them?

Elizabeth - from Providence, RI

Nancy, what are some cute simple ideas for cupcake decorating?

Hannah - from los angeles, CA

How do you put fondant on a square cake? We are making this for a wedding in April and we want to get it right. Thank You. P.S. Love your shows.

Ruth - from Glasgow, KY

I am making a cake for my grandson's Boy Scout blue and gold dinner. I am making a buttercream transfer which consists of blue and gold. I cant get the gold color I want. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

diane - from wurtsboro, NY

Hi Nancy. Can you tell me how to make butterflies using fondant or gum paste? I also want to add some jewels to it.

Uresha - from Vancouver,BC, Vancouver,BC

Could you make a snowman out of cake pops?

Famitsai - from Giroy, CA

I'm new to decorating cakes and cupcakes. Your show is amazing. Thank you for such a good show. My problem is that I can't decorate as well as all the videos of buttercream. Sometimes when I lift my piping tip away the buttercream pulls away with the tip and spoils the whole design. What am I doing wrong?

Ayesha - from Fort worth, TX

Dear Nancy: I will be doing a small wedding cake iced in buttercream and plan to put fondant flowers on it the day before the wedding as it will be picked up instead of delivered. Will my fondant flowers go soft after sitting on the buttercream overnite and part of the next day and fall off the cake? Thanks for your website - it has great information.

Grace - from Troy, MI

How do you make chocolate curls?

Julia - from Glendora, CA

Are the tip numbers used in the show universal or from a particular maker?

Iris - from Miami, FL

I am making a dark green wine bottle out of gum paste. Do I color it before with icing color, or after it has been molded and set to dry for 2-3 days? How do i get it to be very shiny in color?

angie - from north lauderdale, FL

I had a hard time trying to make a simple bow out of fondant for a birthday cake. It would not hold its shape, even when I put clear wrap inside of it to hold it up. How do get the bow to hold its shape? Should I use buttercream icing or cream cheese icing when using fondant?

Kate - from Parkers, MN

Can you use stamps on cakes and brownies?

Anna - from Shreveport, LA

I've been looking into using edible paint. I have seen a lot of techniques but when I tried it the purple turned to blue. What is a good technique or product to buy for edible paint?

Carmen - from East Hartford, CT

My friend asked me to bake and decorate her wedding cake. She wants stars in diagonal lines on the side of the cake. I know when to make stars you should hold bag straight up. Is is possible to put stars on the side of the cake?

Irmgard - from Bloomfield, NJ

I have friend that is wanting to dye a cake black for an 'over the hill' birthday. What is the best way to do that?

Jessica - from West Plains, MO

How do you paint on fondant without the fondant becoming sticky? I've tried gel colors with a bit of alcohol. Wasn't pleased with the outcome. Thank you!

Robin - from Stafford, VA

Hi Nancy! I have a question on how to make Fondant! I've tried making it but the result's didn't come out right! Also please tell me how to control it and make figures with it. Please answer back!!! Thank you.

Amada Sandoval - from Hayward, CA

Hi Nancy - I will be making gumpaste cascading lily sprays for a 3 tier wedding cake. Would it be better to use fondant covered cakes to help hold the flower wires in place ? I'm afraid if I use buttercream, they may sag/slide or make indents in the icing. Please help ! Thanks !

Cathy - from Pittsburgh, PA

Hi Nancy! I was wondering if you used melted icing to dip your cake pops, would the icing dry like candy melts? I would so appreciate it. Thanks!

Alia - from Los Angeles, CA

I need to make a big cookie that looks like a pepperoni pizza for my granddaughter's birthday, I don't know what to use for cheese, sauce and pepperoni. Do you have any suggestions?

Susan - from Spartanburg, SC

Hello Nancy, I love your show... I was wondering how can I get a Silver o Gold Icing on my Fondant or Buttercream to decorate my cake...

Claudia Sandino - from Caracas, Venezuela

Hi Nancy! In the episode when you made flag cookies, I thought you used royal icing (with 2 different consistencies, thick and thin) so I bought meringue powder, but then I saw you needed color flow. Will there be difference if I use royal icing?

Amanda - from Chicago, IL

How can I modify the Chocolate Lover's Dream Cake to make a two tier 50th birthday cake for my father-in-law?

Danielle - from Opelousas, LA

I'm baking a wedding cake covered with fondant what can I use to pipe dots and pearl border? help wedding is Aug. 5th 2011.

Linda - from Clarksburg, OH

Why aren't my buttercream/royal icing roses centered? They keep leaning to one side after I get the 1st, 3-pedal layer on.

Dee - from East Orange, NJ

Hi, I want to make fondant cut out like flowers and allow them to dry. How long can I keep the flowers before I put on the cake. Also if I have more flowers than I need, can I store them for future use (like the royal icing flowers, which can be stored for months)?

Sowmya - from Redmond, WA

Dear Nancy, is it necessary to use royal icing for drop flowers or any kind of things you want to do?

Lucita - from El Salvador, GA

I'm planning on doing a 3 tier birthday cake for my daughter's birthday. I've bought the dowels, pans, & cardboard to separate the tiers but now I need a great recipe that can hold up in Florida and can be tiered. Do all of your recipes work or do I need to use certain ones...they all look so YUMMY!

Emily - from Naples, FL

What is the best way to adhere fondant decorations to buttercream icing?

Ellen - from Grand Junction, CO

Can buttercream flowers be frozen for later use and will they soften upon thawing?

Ummul - from Sarawak, Malaysia

I made marshmallow fondant and when I tried rolling it on a wilton mat it got stuck I put confectioner sugar on the mat and I wasn't able to peel it off the mat it got stuck like glue what can I do to avoid this?

Rosie - from Clermont , FL

What is the proper(right) way for assembling decorating bag, tips& couplers, etc...? I can't seem to understand how to put the bag together. Thank you

Francine - from Santa Rosa, CA

Hi, My daughter is having her 4th birthday and asked me if she can have rainbows on her cake... what's the best way to make fondant rainbows? Do I use strips of colored fondant or just brush the colors on?

Carla - from Calgary, Alberta

What kind of glaze can I use to put shine on a cake?

marie - from atlantic city, NJ

Can I put fondant accents on a cake iced with Wilton Whipped Icing? Also, since this icing typically needs to be refrigerated, can I put a cake with fondant accents in the refrigerator?

Roseanne - from Syracuse, NY

What is the chalk that you say to dust flowers on cake. Can it be made or do you have to buy it at the store?

Rose - from Scranton, PA

I have decided to make for my mother a birthday cake with curls and flowers and I have come across with the fact that I have to use a 50/50 gum paste paste and fondant blend. If I do this,is it with the prepared gum paste ? Whats the difference if I use 100% marshmallow fondant? All the fondant I'm using is marshmallow fondant.

Ilse - from Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Hi Nancy, I just love all the cakes you have on your web-site. My 8 year old son is making his First Holy Communion on May 14 and I would just love to make a cake for his party instead of ordering one. Do you have any ideas for decorating one in a very unique way. I really want it to be special and I am starting to get very discouraged. Thank you so very much and keep doing what you do it's just great work.

Sandy - from Cromwell, CT

How do I use a silicone mold to made fondant flowers?

Mary - from Kitty Hawk, NC

How should I cut and serve a very tall layer cake, without making a mess of it in front of my guests?

Anne - from Bristol, UK, UK

I am making Roses/flowers for a wedding cake. Should I make the roses from royal icing? And can I make them ahead of time? I first saw you show Saturday morning, I loved it. Are you on each week at the same time?

Judy - from Clintonville, WI

I am making a shower cake and am making fondant baby bottles and duckies, but was wondering how soon I can work on them? Can I make the fondant baby bottles and such a week in advance? And if so, how do I store them? Thank you for your help.

Alli - from Rockton, IL

What is the tip number for swirl icing on a cupcake?

Carol - from Beaver Falls, PA

Please help. How do you cut a cake that is from a 3D pan or the big cupcake pan. If you have these taller cakes and cut them, do the unlucky people that get the second layer only get cake and no icing? Help!

Cathy - from Elkhart, IN

I am at my wits end. I would like to make cupcakes with either a figure or flower decoration on top. The decoration should be able to hold up and stay that way without being too hard like royal icing. What kind of frosting recipe do you recommend? It’s for my daughter’s birthday party.

Sherry - from Denmark, Denmark

How do you keep purchased icing decorations from bleeding into the icing?

Jackie - from Pembroke Pines, FL

I am making the Halloween Homebodies Cake by Wilton. How do you trace the patterns of the fence and bats and scrolls using a toothpick? I was thinking of using piping gel.

Donna - from Stuart, FL

What is the white sugar on the yellow cake with instructions on how to make fondant ribbon roses? How do you buy/make it and how do you put it on a cake?

Delia - from Houston, TX

Whenever I use a coupler, it keeps slipping out of the decorating bag. What did I do wrong?

Anna - from Sunnyvale, CA

I can pipe only a few small leaves before my buttercream icing seems too hard to pipe. I can remove the tip, clean it out, and continue piping a few more leaves before it becomes too hard to squeeze again. What am I doing wrong?

Katheryn - from Milpitas, CA

How do you stack the cake when making layer cake? Bottom side up and the second layer bottom side up also?

Margarita - from South Amboy, NJ

Can you put buttercream decorations on top of fondant?

Linda - from Lafontaine, Ontario

What is it to "spatula stripe" an icing bag?

Sheila - from Bronx, NY

What size brush should I use for brush embroidery? What sort of tip should it have – round or flat?

Marilyn - from Carlisle, Cumbria, England

I’m making one real cake and three dummy cakes. All will be placed on separate rising tiers. How far in advance can I ice the dummy cakes and have them remain looking freshly iced?

Elaine - from Shelby Twp., MI

How can I get a nice smooth icing finish on my cakes before decorating them?

Cordieann - from Bossier City, LA

How do I make the top of a cake look like stained glass? I saw a picture of one that looked “see-through”, but I am not sure how to do it.

Julie - from New Hyde Park, NY

When I make my base for the roses out of Wilton’s Class Buttercream, the base starts to lean and then falls off the nail as I am piping my petals. I use a stiff consistency and have even tried freezing the bases before I start working the petals, but to no avail. What can I do or try to keep the center base from falling or leaning? I am also having a problem with my petals coming out feathery looking.

Anita - from Perkinston, MS

I am making a wedding cake for my nephew. Their colors are maroon and silver. Can I make a silver pearl dust paste and brush it on my icing roses? If so what type of icing should be used? Should I mix the dust with vodka, vanilla extract?

Tanya - from Harrison, AR

Can I use Gum-Tex to make Gum Glue Adhesive?

Luz - from Roselle, NJ

Hi Nancy, I am having this problem: whenever I bake a cake it is too moist to frost. I tried cooling overnight and still my cake falls apart when I try putting on the crumb layer or just frosting it. HELP.

Holly - from Edon, OH

How do you make the leaves on the Weeping Willow Cake stay on?

Lilli - from Atlanta, GA

When icing my cake, I can’t seem to get my icing smooth. What am I doing wrong? Am I making it too thin?

Jenny - from Atlanta, GA

I am new to cake decorating, and I want to start making birthday cakes for my daughters. What are the basic tools I need to start decorating with? Keep in mind I am starting from scratch.

Paula - from Morgantown, KY

Can I use a parchment paper bag with decorating tip only (no coupler)? Will it hold?

Jacqueline - from Brunei, Brunei Darussalam

What does “flooding” using icing mean and how do you do it?

Dorothy - from Gladstone, Manitoba, Canada

I saw your show episode #309 where you made the Gingerbread Heart box. I was wondering if you could also create a box with either chocolate chip and/or oatmeal raisin?

Lilia - from Knoxville, TN

I was wondering, on your Cherish the Memories Cake, can you use just 1 of the pictures for doing the cake?

Jacqueline - from Madera, CA

My gumpaste flowers do not seem to ever harden or set up. I have rolled them very thin and let them air dry, but they are still pliable after many days.

Lise' - from Fox Island, WA

When you make your fondant strips for bows how do you get them to stay up, mine fall down.

Helen - from Charleston, WV

How do you keep your decorating bags so clean on the top? Every time I use them, they get really messy and sometimes the frosting squeezes out the top. How do I stop this?

Leyla - from Houston, TX

Love your show! I was wondering about sheet cakes. It seems most of yours are round. Could you give ideas on sheet cakes?

Bonnie - from Richmond, KY

I am trying to remove my royal icing flowers from the foil used on the lily nail. They keep breaking! How do I remove the foil without breaking the flower?

Leana - from Chandler, AZ

I get a bulge around the middle of two layer cakes when I stack them. I have done as you suggested with adding an outline of Tip 12 icing, but I still get the bulge, whether I fill with icing or filling. What should I do?

Cathy - from Cardington, OH

I make buttercream icing with half butter and half shortening, however, when I ice my cake I get a lot of air pockets. They seem almost impossible to smooth out and the more I try to respread the icing, the more I get. Any suggestions for how to get rid of them?

Jodi - from Edmonton, Alberta

Can you use real flowers on a cake?

Linda - from Angola, IN

How do you put the lace icing on the sides of the cake so it stays? Do you tilt the cake?

Elida - from Donna, TX

Help! How do I transport the Choo Choo Train Cake which is on a cake board? I have to travel 85 miles by car with it.

Sylvia - from Lutz, FL

I need to make Swiss dots in a triangle for a wedding cake. How do I keep them from having a “tail” on top? What tip do you recommend?

Julie - from Mt Pleasant, NC

I would like to know if I can use fruit leathers (roll-ups) for the number and name on my cake.

Alice - from Iowa, LA

On show #305, you talked about amounts of batter needed for different cake pan and cupcake sizes so it will bake above the rim and you have a good 2 inch cake. Can you please repeat that information?

Dawn - from Milan, MI

I am taking a cake decorating class and my instructor said not to use any plastic when making or storing Royal icing because it will break it down. Is this really true? I have a mixer that is all plastic – does this mean that I can’t use it to make the icing?

Kristen - from Logan, UT

When making buttercream roses, my edges are very ragged and they look like carnations. Adding a small amount of water makes the petals droop. I can’t find the right consistency!

Laura - from North Royalton, OH

You used a technique with chocolate to make flowers like you would with fondant. What was the recipe?

Sherrie - from Cleveland, OH

I saw a rose that had color only on top and when the man was piping the rose, the bag had 1/2 of one color and the other 1/2 was white. How do you do that?

Maricela - from Bakersfield, CA

On one of the Wilton videos you mention a crumb coating for cakes. What frosting do you use for this? Also, how much frosting do you need to frost and decorate two 9-inch round cakes? Is there a recipe for a cake in a 9x13 inch rectangular pan? How much batter do you need for this size cake pan?

Diane - from Fall River, MA

Is there any way to make a cake made from a box mix more dense? I find that my cakes crumble and get rounded edges and it doesn’t make for a nice, crisp shape when decorating.

Karen - from Salem, OR

How would forming a gerbera daisy be different from the daisy seen in the techniques section of this website?

Maureen - from Williamsville, NY

When making a topsy turvy cake, do I have to cut a hole in the bottom layer for the next layer or can I just stack them on top of each other and use a wooden dowel rod?

Rachell - from Haltom City, TX

Besides royal icing what other kind of icing can I use to make flowers?

Joisy - from Carlsbad, NM

When do you sprinkle the colored sugar onto spritz cookies … before or after baking?

Laureen - from Worcester, MA

How can I make my own colored icing and cakes?

Viola - from Bossier City, LA

What is a 1M tip? What is it usually used for?

Rita - from Laredo, TX

Is it possible to ice a cake in buttercream icing and then use fondant cutouts and other fondant decorations to decorate the cake?

Liza - from Penang, Malaysia, Malaysia

How many recipes of buttercream icing would I need to ice and decorate a two-layer 9-inch round cake such as the World of Swirls cake?

Elizabeth - from Houston, TX

I can make beautiful roses out of buttercream icing. However, when I make them from royal icing, they go flat. What am I doing wrong?

Marlene - from Logansport, IN

What can you do to a cake that is so moist that it is difficult to ice? Can you let it sit out and air dry for awhile? Will anything help?

Betty - from Fulton , IL

How can you make your icing shiny? Also, what would you use to make black colored icing?

Jocelyn - from Topeka, KS

Is "non-toxic artists' chalk" the same as "non-toxic chalk? Is it edible?

Elny - from Carlton, NSW

My niece will be getting married this July. She wants “personal” cakes at each table at the reception – that will be 35-40 cakes plus the small wedding cake. Plus, I have to haul everything a distance. I plan to start baking the cakes soon and freezing them, but when should I start? What size cake 8 or 6-inch should I use? I plan to ice with buttercream icing, and use some fondant decorations. I’ve never done this many cakes before at one time!

Marcia - from Johnstown, PA

How do you attach marshmallow popcorn balls to a stick?

Erica - from New York, NY

What does it mean to torte a cake and how do you do it?

Andrea - from Colbert, WA

I want to bake train cookies for my son's 5th birthday. What would be the simplest method to decorate for someone with no experience at this?

Tracy - from Redding, CA

How do I keep my powdered sugar from lumping up in my frosting and clogging my decorating tip? I always beat my frosting thoroughly, but this still happens. I also sift my powdered sugar thoroughly.

Kiere - from Pearland, TX

How do you put your tips on your decorating bag?

Chloe - from Pearland, TX

Is it possible to use cardboard cake boards to make tiered cakes? Or, must I use only the plastic stacking plates with the feet?

Billie - from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

I am just learning how to use the Wilton decorating tips. I would like to practice more. What is an inexpensive way to practice? I'll be making a lot of buttercream or royal icing?

Kim - from Waco, TX

How do I keep sheet cakes from cracking? I especially have problems with the very big (12x18 in.) cakes.

Linda - from Gatesville, NC

When I bake cakes, the center is always high and the sides low, causing the layers to crack when removed from the pan. What can I do?

Dianna - from Columbus, OH

Hi Nancy. I was wondering if there is a product that could be used in home made fondant that would have the same effect as gum tex in store bought fondant. I always find that my fondant is too soft for cut outs and will not dry the same as store bought.

Bridget - from Marystown, Newfoundland/Labrador

Is there a difference between fondant and gum paste? If so, can gum paste be worked with the same as fondant?

Jen - from Norfolk, VA

I tried making flowers with royal icing like I saw you make on your show. I made them on a cookie sheet, but once they were dried, I couldn't get them to lift off without crumbling. I also tried making the flowers on a piece of foil, but the foil kept lifting when I lifted the decorating tip. What did I do wrong?

Sonja - from Youngstown, OH

How do I stick fondant cutouts to fondant covered cakes?

Maria - from Doral, FL

I'd like to add fondant stars to a cake to make it look like they're shooting off the cake. Any safe ways you can think of to add these stars to a fondant-covered cake?

Karen - from S.F., NY

Nancy, can I use buttercream icing on a cake, then add a fondant bow without covering the cake in fondant?

Cathey - from Camden, AR

Hi Nancy, love your show! I also like to watch cake decorating contest shows. Could you please tell me what they use to add color to their flowers? I see them brushing on a powder. Thanks and keep up the great job!

Maria - from Covert, MI

What tools should you use to get icing on the top of a cake the smoothest?

Carly - from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

What is the best way to fill a decorator bag?

Mark - from Honolulu, HI

What is the best way to thin buttercream icing for icing a cake?

Aurora - from Sitka, AK

When removing the cake from the pan to cool, should you place the top of the cake down or up on the wire rack?

Minnie - from Cypress, TX

How do you make apricot glaze? And, how can I keep the fruit looking fresh on the top of my cake?

Kim - from Sugarland, TX

My niece would like to have cheesecake for her wedding cake. Do you have any suggestions and/or recipes for making and decorating a cheesecake for a wedding?

Bronda - from Marshall, TX

How can you tint classic buttercream icing ivory? My best friend wants her wedding cake to be cream colored – how can I get a true cream color?

Joanne - from N. Ridgeville, OH

I'm going to be making my first wedding cake in June. The bride wants a tiered cake with 3-4 square tiers, however, she doesn't need all that cake. How do I do this?

Sharon - from Kansas City, MO

I would like to know whether I can use stiff buttercream icing, maybe with meringue powder added, in place of royal icing to make roses?

Pani Thuly - from Atlantic City, NJ

How do I put dowels in a cake, and how do I stack the second cake on top of the first cake by using dowels?

Ali - from Port Coquitlam, WA

Nancy, what is glucose and glycerin, and what are they used them for?

Charlotte - from Saskatoon, Canada

What do you put into Rolled Fondant to make it stiff enough to hold the shape of a bow? Also, can fondant ribbon roses or other decorations be added to cakes frosted with buttercream icing?

Julie - from El Mirage, AZ

I am making a cake for my mother's upcoming 50th birthday party and I need to make black fondant. I know with icing to use chocolate and then dye that black but what do you do with fondant to make it black? Please help.

Sandra - from Parlin, NJ

I have been having a problem with my buttercream icing (the recipe with only shortening - no butter) breaking when I try to do my roses. I have tried thinning and it still breaks. What could be the problem? Would adding corn syrup instead of water help?

Amy - from Calhoun, GA

Hi Nancy, LOVE LOVE LOVE the show!! It is everything I wanted to refresh my skills from classes I took. I am having problems getting a real smooth look on my cakes when I ice them. Whether I work it to the end or to the middle I am still left with lines and marks on the cake. I have done some awesome cakes but I still see lines.

Trini - from Lake Ronkonkoma, NY

What kind of bag are you using for your icing? Just a plain plastic bag or a special bag?

Louise - from Orem, UT

What do I mix with food color to make a brush on color for fondant that dries to the touch?

Delilah - from Kerrville, TX

What is the tool called that you cut the dowel rods with?

Ann - from St. Louis, MO

How is flooding done when icing cookies?

Caron - from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

How can I make the chocolate leaves you used to decorate your cake?

Jean - from Williamston, SC

Is it better to put your freshly baked cake in the freezer right after it cools, before you put your first layer of icing on? Will this make it easier to ice your cake?

Brooke - from Madison, MS

You featured the square Violet Cascade Cake is decorated with purple flowers on one of your shows. What tips do you have to create that lovely effect of cascading flowers?

Lynn - from Liverpool, NY

Is there an easy way to make a gingerbread house?

Gerry - from Fort Wayne, IN

I would love to know how a professional decorator connects the first and last part of icing borders. i.e. first and last shells, etc.?

Jeannie - from South Bend, IN

I make 18"x24" cakes for church and have trouble getting the iced surface flat and even. Is there a way to do this?

Linda - from Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Canada

When you get ready to decorate a shaped cake, for example the bear, do you ice the whole cake before you start decorating?

Arsenia - from Hemingway, SC

When icing a two layer cake, I always end up with a bulge around the middle and never seem to get smooth sides. What am I doing wrong?

Virginia - from Fort Smith, AR

How do I place a shaped cake on top of a round cake to ensure it does not fall off?

Kim - from Chesapeake, VA

I need to make a number of small tiered cakes for personal cakes at a wedding. How do I frost them smoothly?

Ty - from Chicago, IL

When decorating a cake baked in a character pan, should you ice the cake with a smooth base layer first, or pipe your decoration directly onto the cake?

Angela - from Ann Arbor, MI

I saw a recipe for fondant adhesive. What is it used for and how?

Diana - from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

My Cornelli Lace looks very bad. Is there a trick to improving my technique?

Beverly - from Griswold, CT

What is the best consistency of icing to use for roses?

Joe - from Portland, MI

When I use the leaf tip, my leaves tend to have a "forked tongue" shape at the end. Is there a trick to making a pointed end?

Dawn - from Baton Rouge, LA

If I use cream cheese icing to ice my cake, can I use buttercream icing to make the decorations?

Michelle - from Mishawaka, IN

I have trouble getting the fondant onto a cake that is more than 10 inches wide. I try wrapping it around the rolling pin, but it always has stretched spots and breaks.

Laurie - from Winnipeg, ME

What consistency should the icing be for icing a cake?

Lisa - from Austin, TX

When making fondant bows, the loops on my bows tend to break easily, how can I prevent this?

Diane - from Tyrone, PA

Do I need to ice my cake before I put on fondant?

Jennifer - from New York, NY


The Public Television cake decorating show providing easy projects for special celebrations. Not intended to replace instructional classes.