Apply the tecnniques Jerry Manderfield demonstrates on these cakes to fit your decorating style.
Manderfield's Home Bakery sells 15 wedding cakes per week during peak wedding season.
Use tip No. 14 to add a third border to cover the junction of the first two borders, piped with plain tip No. 7 and tip No. 88.
Pipe the top border with tip No. 362. Increase the pressure as you pipe and then ease up to end the stroke in a point. This creates a bubbled center.
For a decorator who had never set a tip to a cake until after high school graduation, Jerry Manderfield's awards came quickly. Manderfield, coowner of Manderfield's Home Bakery with locations in Menasha and Appleton, Wis., won his first decorating award in 1988 while a student at Dunwoody Institute, Minneapolis. The second award came in 1991 when he won a decorating competition at a Wisconsin Bakers Association convention. And, in 2001, he was named grand champion of RBA-The Retailer's Bakery Association's national decorating competition.
Not bad for a guy who never seriously considered cake decorating until 1986. When Manderfield's sister, one of the decorators for the family's bakery, was moving to New York, he heard his parents talking about advertising for a new decorator. He asked for the job.
He had created a few drawings in high school art class and surprised himself with how well they turned out. So, Manderfield's parents let him try his artistic abilities on the bakery's cakes. "My first day decorating, I think I spent two hours icing a dozen 6-in. cakes. My parents lost a lot of money on me in the first couple of weeks," he says.
He quickly improved, learning from his father and other decorators at the bakery. His father taught him to practice basic elements on cardboard. Eighteen months after he started decorating, he attended a six-month cake and pastry course at Dunwoody and won his first decorating award.
To keep his designs fresh, he reads magazines with decorating ideas and frequently attends both local and national trade shows. The decorating demonstrations on the show floor are particularly helpful in generating new ideas, Manderfield says. And, he's not afraid to ask the demonstrator for some hands-on instruction. "I don't want to wait until I get back into my shop to see if I can do it," he adds.
Decorators on display
During RBA's Marketplace 2001 in Indianapolis, Manderfield won the Creative Decorating Competition. He and the other contestants from all regions of the country had eight hours over two days to decorate cakes for six different categories. The format of decorating on site under time constraints made it a fair environment for everyone, Manderfield says.
To prepare for the event, he spent about 12 to 15 hours practicing his designs. And, on the advice of a previous winner, he performed a trial run of all of his designs to make sure he could finish all his cakes in the time allotted.
"I'd like to thank the sponsors of the RBA decorating contest. It provided a nice opportunity for all the decorators and opened up doors for me," Manderfield says.
It allowed Manderfield to "talk shop" with decorators from all over the country, and afforded him invitations to decorate at several regional conventions.
As co-owner of Manderfield's Home Bakery, he does not get to spend as much time decorating as he would like. But, when Manderfield gets a chance to decorate, he has a few favorite designs.
One such design is the smiley face cake. To begin, airbrush the top of a round cake yellow, and add a yellow ring around the side of the cake. Then, in succession down the side, airbrush rings of orange, pink, purple and blue. Use a large tip and black icing to pipe two eyes and a smiling mouth on top of the cake. Use tip No. 19 to add a top, white curlicue border and tip No. 199 to pipe a white shell bottom border. Add a few colorful candy dots to the bottom border to finish the cake.
Wedding cake designs
Manderfield and his staff also decorate many wedding cakes, about 10 to 15 each weekend during peak wedding season. Some of his favorite elements are easily applied to a round cake. He suggests airbrushing the entire cake a soft ivory, which allows white icing details to stand out. Use tip No. 199 to pipe a bottom shell border. Manderfield likes to use larger shell tips for bottom borders to create a heavier appearance at the base and smaller shell tips for lighter top borders.
Divide the cake into eight sections. For any type of continuous decoration, such as swags, begin piping at the back of cake. The back is designated by the knife mark left from base icing the cake. Pipe swags on the side of the cake using tip No. 104 and an up-and-down motion. Then, use tip No. 47 and an up-and-down motion to pipe another set of swags above the first set.
Fill a parchment tube with icing, and snip the end to about the size of a No. 2 tip. Overpipe the top set of swags with a set of string swags, then add a third layer of swags. With the parchment tube, pipe three small dots between each of the eight sets of swags.
On the top of the cake, about 1/4-in. from the edge, pipe a curlicue border with plain tip No. 7. Then, add another c-curve top border outside the first border with tip No. 88. The second border should overhang the edge of the cake. Using tip No. 14 and a shell motion, pipe a third top border to cover where the first two borders meet.
Add roses to the top of the cake with tip No. 124. Use the parchment paper tube to pipe curves looping away from the flowers to form stems. Then, pipe a few dots around the flowers, and add loops hanging down from the top border. Manderfield usually pipes any stringwork on wedding cakes the day before delivery to give the icing time to set. He also charges extra for colored stringwork, because colored icing draws the eye to any imperfections.
Then, with tip No. 104, add some rosebuds to the top of the cake. Pipe leaves along the stems by cutting a "v" at the end of a parchment paper tube.
Say it with flowers
Flower spray cakes also are popular in Manderfield's bakery. Airbrush the top and upper edge of a round cake pink. Airbrush the bottom half of the cake purple. Then, lightly airbrush the top half of the cake blue. Pipe a blue message on top of the cake. Use a parchment tube to pipe green vines around the message. Then, add leaves. Begin the stroke with a lot of pressure, and ease the pressure as you pipe, ending the stroke in a point.
Fit a decorating bag with tip No. 102 or 103, stripe it with pink icing and fill it with purple icing. Pipe two carnations on top of the cake, leaving space between the flowers. If you use a flower nail to pipe the flowers ahead of time, Manderfield suggests placing a small piece of wax paper on the nail. Pipe the flower, and slide the paper off the nail. Allow the flowers to dry on a sheet pan, and peel the paper off the flowers before topping the cakes.
Between the two purple carnations, pipe two white daisies using tip No. 125, and add a third daisy to the side. Then, use a parchment tube with the end snipped off to pipe several yellow circles in the center of the daisies. Use the purple tube to add several buds along the vines.
With the green tube, pipe vine swags around the side of the cake. Pipe blue dots coming up from the vines. The blue dots tie the blue message in with the design. The message and accent elements can be added after the cake is decorated.
Add buds along the vines using the purple tube. Then, pipe green leaves along the vines. Use tip No. 125 to add a white ruffle bottom border. Overpipe the bottom border with another border using tip No. 25. By adding the second border, you cover up where tip No. 125 digs into the icing. Then, add a row of white dots above the bottom border using a parchment tube with the end snipped off.
Divide the cake into 12 sections, and use tip No. 362 to pipe a white top border. Begin in one section with a shell motion, exerting little pressure on the bag. Gradually increase the pressure and ease up to end the motion with a narrow tip. The result is a shell swag with narrow ends and a middle that bubbles up. Hide the joints of the swags by piping white circles using tip No. 2.
"I've benefited greatly sharing ideas with other decorators. Decorators are generally forthcoming," Manderfield says. Try some of his ideas on your decorated cakes and adapt them to fit your own personal style.
Decorator Profile: Jerry Manderfield
Years in cake decorating: 16
Most unusual designs: a four-pack of toilet paper, semi truck, Corvette, Wisconsin's Sesquicentennial cake
Cake sales as a percentage of total bakery sales: 25-35% decorated cakes, 6% wedding cakes
Number of cakes sold: 200 to 300 per weekend during graduation, 10 to 15 wedding cakes during peak wedding season
Advice to new decorators: be open-minded and cooperative; realize that as you learn new techniques, they can always be adjusted to fit your style; focus on quality first, then work on speed
Mentor/role model: his whole family
Dream job: ski tour guide in the Rocky Mountains