Wow, nice looking cake… NOT

Ah, a beautifully decorated cherry-chocolate cake.

Frosting lovingly applied.

Icing artfully drizzled.

Cherries placed just… so.

Marshmallows on toothpicks stuck haphazardly on top.

What’s up with that?!

Thanks to my fellow test kitchen baker and Baking Sheet editor, Susan Reid, I now know how to keep plastic wrap from sticking to the top of a decorated cake – should I ever feel the urge to create such a cake.

I am NOT possessed of the Martha Stewart gene but, hey, you never know, right?

Speaking of Martha, here’s one of her marshmallow tips I’ve been using for several years: poke a mini-marshmallow into the bottom of a sugar cone (you know, the kind of cone with a pointy bottom) before adding your scoop of ice cream. The marshmallow effectively prevents melting ice cream from dripping out the bottom of the cone – AND serves to make that final bite extra-tasty.

So, what’s your favorite “hey, cool idea!” kitchen tip? Your fellow readers want to know – please share below.

P.S. – I know, “Where’s the recipe?” No recipe today; this was simply my fellow blogger, MaryJane, fooling around with some leftover cake layers from the freezer. No one’s quite sure of their provenance; but being frozen, they were prime candidates for decorating.

Hey – there’s another tip! Freezing your cake layers briefly makes them easier to handle, ice, and decorate.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Debi B

    Clean & Easy Decorating Icing Trick
    Cut a piece of plastic wrap about 15″ long. Mound icing in the center. Wrap the long sides over the frosting. Now, you have a frosting lump with a tail on each side. Grab each tail, twirl to twist the tails. Do you have your decorator’s bag assembly ready? Pull one tail thru the bag and decorator tip. Clip it even with the tip. Decorate! Done? Pull the wrapped icing out of the bag, pinch or clip closed, drop in the next color and repeat.

  2. teachingcotton

    Use the rubber type, nonslip shelf liner when you are transporting your baked goods. Put it under the cakeplate before you set your cake cupcakes, etc in the carrier (or cardboard box!). It keeps your cake plate from sliding and messing up the icing.

  3. N Schurle

    Don’t let your cake get too frozen if you want to decorate. I did that with my wedding cake many years ago (41:)) and the flowers kept sliding off. Had to attach them with toothpicks!

  4. sschiltz1

    When we finish off a box of cereal, I save the liners and use them to flatten boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I dry off the chicken breasts with paper towels and place chicken ( or pork etc) in the bag and pound until breasts are equal thickness. I dispose of bag after use.

  5. paradux

    Similar to Connie’s hint about making your cutting board non-slip: I use a piece of leftover shelf liner – the rubbery mesh kind – for the same purpose. It’s easily cleaned and reused.

  6. argentyne

    one of the few tips I found a while back in a “live cheaper” sort of publication… Most of the book seems to depend on you not having a job so being home all day. That part doesn’t fit my lifestyle, but this one was fantastic.

    When you prep veggies for a dish, like peeling carrots, or chopping onions. Put the peels, and ends that you aren’t going to use in a ziptop baggie and put them in the freezer. When you have enough, dump the veggies in a stock pot, cover with water, and make veggie stock. You get all the flavor of the veggies, and you aren’t wasting good veggies. You’re using all the bits that you don’t eat for your dinner.

    I also raid the baggie when I’m making chicken or turkey stock. I can get out bits of carrot, celery, onions, and pepper for the bird stock and not have to buy the full veggies.

    And when my veggies got missed in the fridge, and have gotten too soft to eat and still taste good, I break them up and throw them in the freezer. They’re still great for stock.


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