Back to Back Issues Page
Too Nice To Slice, Issue #001 -- Experience The Magic Of Chai Spice Cupcakes!
March 11, 2008

Please, feel free to forward this e-mail to your friends!

If you don't have a subscription, and you would like one, you can subscribe here.

I think way outside the Cake Decorating box so you don't have to! Every month I hunt down the best tricks and tips for you to add instant 'wow' factor to any cake you create.

March 11th, 2008 Issue #001

Table Of Contents


  • Call 911! The station house is on fire.
  • Ice Cream that never melts?
  • Dinosaurs back from extinction?
  • This Airplane will never crash and burn.

  • Articles

  • Divine Chai Spice Cupcakes - heaven in a bite!
  • Cake supplies at the hardware store???? Really!
  • Reader questions answered.

  • New Cakes This Month

    Call 911! The Station House Is On Fire!!!

    Every little boy (or big boy) who's ever dreamed of being a fire fighter when he grows up will flip over this Fire Engine Cake. Flames leap from the red brick station house as the fire engine rushes to another emergency - uh oh, the emergency is right here at the station!

    Take me to Fire Engine Cake Head Quarters!


    Ice Cream That Never Melts - Just In Time For The Warm Weather!

    These cute-as-a-button Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes are just the thing for a Spring or Summer birthday party. Perfectly life like meringue 'soft serve' tops a surprise, pudding-filled cake inside each ice-cream cone. Super easy to make and oh-so-cute!

    Show me how easy they are to make!


    Back From Extinction - The Dinosaurs live!

    It doesn't take a science degree to re-produce this Dinosaur Cake. This is one T-Rex that won't take a bite out of your confidence. Easy to make and the kids will be speechless!

    Take me to see the Dinosaur Cake!


    An Airplane That Will Never Crash & Burn?

    It's true. This great Airplane Cake will never disappoint. With an adorable little airplane perched high above the clouds in a bright sunny sky, this super cute cake is a little aviator’s delight.

    I want that Airplane Cake!


    Articles To Inspire You

    Take A Bite On The Spicy Side Of Life...

    You have to experience these fabulous Chai Spice cupcakes for yourself. The dense, creamy texture of the cupcakes is reminiscent of your favorite cheesecake and the spicy, sweet frosting makes them truly unforgettable.

    Click Here for your passport to a bite of heaven.


    Shopping For Cake Supplies At The Hardware Store?

    If that seems like an odd thing to do – maybe it is. Of course, I have been known to do lots of slightly odd things before! But honestly, you would be amazed at what you can find at your local handyman center if you just think outside the box a little.

    Flower Pot Saucers

    That’s right – I’m talking about those plastic or terra cotta saucers that go under plant pots to catch the water. These unassuming gardening mainstays really give your presentation a unique twist. Just put your cake in one and sprinkle cookie crumbs or brown sugar ‘dirt’ around the cake and you’ve got instant impact. It’s an easy, inexpensive idea that adds tons of appeal to any cake with a garden related theme – like butterflies, flowers, ladybugs or even simple grass, like this one. And since they’re so cheap, if you’re traveling to a party, you don’t have to try and remember to bring the cake plate home.

    Flower Pots

    If you really want to make a statement, plant your next flower themed cake in a flower pot to really up the ‘wow’ factor quotient, like this sunflower cake (below, left) which amazed the guests at a recent baby shower. You’ll find lots of great plastic urns and simple classic flower pots.

    Don’t forget about small flower pots too. These are perfect for individual cakes – a great do-it-yourself wedding idea that gives you spectacular results, like this individual ‘potted’ sunflower cake (below, right). You can use either glazed pots, like these, or the unglazed terra-cotta variety.

    Dowel Rods From The Lumber Department

    These are a great standby if you’re making a multi-tiered or unusually shaped cake that needs stabilizing on the cake board, like this Dinosaur Cake. When you don’t have easy access to a cake decorating store to buy special cake dowels these will do the trick. Just buy them about ¼” to ⅜” diameter. And while we’re in the lumber department…

    1” x 2” Lumber

    Cut two 12” long pieces from a length of 1” x 2” lumber (¾ ” x 1 ½” actually, but that’s perfect). I know, I know, you’re thinking – now she’s really lost it. What on earth do I want these for? Stay with me here – I’ll explain. You use them as a guide for your serrated knife when leveling and torting (splitting into layers) cakes. Just lay them on either side of the cake and rest the knife on both pieces while you use a sawing motion to create perfectly level cakes every time. Use them on the tall side to level a cake after turning out of the pan and flip them to the short side to split for layers. Easy!

    Spackling Knife

    These plasterers best friends aren’t just for smoothing dry wall mud. The wide blade on these makes them great for smoothing cake frosting quickly and easily too.

    Rasp Blade

    These woodworking tools are a great alternative to the more expensive “microplane graters” that you get from fancy kitchen stores. They are perfect for zesting citrus fruits, finely grating chocolate or spices like nutmeg and ginger to add to your cakes.

    Who knew you could find so many great cake decorating tools and supplies at the local hardware? Next month look out for the article on “Dollar Store Gems”…


    Your Questions Answered

    Q: I’m just starting out decorating cakes. What equipment would you recommend?

    Tiffany, Queensland, Australia

    A: Excellent question Tiffany!

    You know, you really don’t need to rush out and buy a ton of expensive equipment to make some really amazing cakes. All the cakes you see on were made using these very basic tools:

    Decorating Tips These will allow you to create some detail on your cakes like writing, borders and details on animals, characters and faces. You can pick tips up for about $2.00 each and you only need a few. I would recommend:

  • two round tips - #4 for fine details and writing, #12 for bead shapes and borders.
  • a medium leaf tip – these make plain or ruffled leaves and are great for details on character and animal cakes (think tiger stripes etc.) #352 is a good choice.
  • two star tips – use these for borders and decorative details. #18 for smaller stars and #199 for larger stars are good basic choices.
  • one specialty tip – you can certainly do without this one, but it add some really fun details like grass and hair so well worth spending a couple of bucks on. #233 grass tip.

    Piping Bags I mostly use gallon size Ziploc bags because I’m lazy and the less mess I have to clean up after I’m finished, the better! But piping bags are useful to have and very inexpensive. They are available at most grocery stores and any cake decorating department or store will certainly stock them.

    Turntable This is the most expensive piece of equipment you will buy when you start out, but well worth it. A turntable makes frosting and decorating so much easier since you can move the cake easily to get into all the nooks and crannies without lifting and turning the cake by hand (more chances to drop it!). I still use just about the cheapest one you can buy. It’s a plastic model that cost about $20.00. There are also heavier duty metal versions available if you want to invest more, but you certainly don’t need to.

    Spatulas There’s two I would recommend – a 4” offset spatula for frosting smaller areas and a 6” spatula for larger areas. These are around $6.00 each. For a really nifty little tool that makes smoothing frosting really easy, see the tip about a Spackling Knife in this months article on shopping at the hardware store for cake supplies.

    These few things are really all you need to get started. You just don’t have to spend a fortune to produce really wonderful cakes that people will love. The one piece of expensive equipment that I absolutely recommend, if you’re going to do any amount of cake baking, is a good stand mixer. But when you’re just starting out you can use a hand mixer very successfully. I hope you find this information helpful. Thanks for writing in. I always love to hear from my readers.

    To send me your questions just reply to this e-mail and I’ll feature the answer in an upcoming issue of “Too Nice To Slice”.


  • Back to Back Issues Page