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.


Tips Used in Decorating 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 remember hearing you say that gum paste doesn't have much taste. Is it possible to flavor it with some sort of extract (i.e., almond or lemon) or a flavoring?

Ashly - from Missouri City, TX

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

linda - from sharpsville, PA

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

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

Would you use cream cheese frosting for a basketweave decoration?

shoko - from mexico , mexico

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

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

Ruth - from Glasgow, KY

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 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

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

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

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

Iris - from Miami, FL

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

Hi Nancy, I was wondering if y'all are going to be making more shows? if so when will they start up?

jessica - from pasadena, TX

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

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 want to buy all the baking & decorating supplies & equipment that you use on the show(s). Where can I get them? Money is no object. Please advise. Thanks!

Cheryl Smith - from Los Gatos, CA

Hello! I am making my wedding "cake". I am using a cake dummy, as we are traveling to our location. How early in advance can I frost my cake dummy? without making it look gross when it is presented? And what type of frosting do you recommend for this project. Thank you!!!

Candace - from Wanship, UT

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

1. Hi Nancy. I haven’t watched your program but would like to know what channel/station it’s on? I would also like to know if you recommend any classes/schools one could attend. I’ve always loved making cakes but the only ones I can make are simple rectangular from the box ones! Need I add store bought icing! I’ve always loved watching shows like Cake Boss and wish I could do the same thing for a living. I would love to start off small, as in part-time weekend work, and hope that could blossom into a business. Somewhat far-fetched, but I am very passionate about it! Please write back!

Mayra - from Russellville, AL

How long does it usually take for royal icing flowers harden and be ready for use?

Lisa DiSalvia - from Philadelphia, PA

My piped leaves have points. What am I doing wrong?

Alena - from Woodridge, IL

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

Carol - from Beaver Falls, PA

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

What are 4 basic icing tips to start out with?

Teresita - from Toa Alta, Puerto Rico

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

How do you fill a cupcake? I’ve seen photos of fillings in them.

Ingrid - from Victoria, BC Canada

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

Is there a website that lists each decorating tip, with a number and what it is used for?

Lisa - from Shreve, OH

What icing tip do you use to make a 1M swirl?

Kayla - from Nedrow, NY

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

Rita - from Laredo, TX

How do you put your tips on your decorating bag?

Chloe - from Pearland, TX

What tip do I use to make a rose?

Cathy - from Limestone, TN

As a beginner, what tips do you suggest I start with?

Hannah - from Conroe, TX

What is the best way to transport a stacked construction wedding cake with 4 or more levels?

Renee - from New Wilmington , RI

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

Delilah - from Kerrville, TX

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

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


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