A decorated cake
Photo: Courtesy of Sandy Folsom

Know your frosting

“Buttercream with 50 percent butter and 50 percent shortening is more stable than all-butter. For lettering, adding corn syrup instead of water can help with stretchability.”

Construction is key

“If you’re doing a layer cake, make sure your layers aren’t domed. Level them with a serrated knife. Place the second layer pan-side up — that way, the flattest sides will be on the top and bottom.”

Don’t fear fondant

“I don’t know why people are intimidated by fondant, because there couldn’t be anything easier. It conforms to any shape — a heart, a shell. To avoid bubbles, don’t roll it too thin or thick: Aim for a minimum of an eighth inch and definitely no more than a quarter inch.”

Position yourself well

“Bag angle matters. For symmetrical designs, like stars or rosettes, hold the piping bag at 90 degrees. If you’re piping ruffles, hold it at 45 degrees.”