Becca is an experienced cake decorator who loves to help beginners learn the tricks of the trade.
How to Cover and Finish Your Cake Board
When I first started out, I never finished up my cake boards. I kept thinking there was something missing from my cakes. They just didn't look professional at all. It didn't matter how long I took to create it, or how many times I stopped, started over, cussed, stopped, and started over again—there was something missing.
One day while looking through my pictures, a light bulb went off over my head. Derp. I wasn't finishing up my cake boards at all. I had these beautiful, time-consuming masterpieces sitting on a crappy, white piece of board. Or, if I felt real fancy at the time, I covered them in aluminum foil. Don't do that, even if the cake instructions say to do it. It looks terrible.
So, I started skipping the aluminum foil and taking the extra time to build up a cake board, cover it in a matching color to the cake, and wrap it in a coordinating ribbon. Voila!
My cakes went from "Meh" to "Yea Baby!"
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
These items may be some things you may not already have on hand. If you don't have them on hand, you're going to want to invest in them if you want your cakes to look professional. An amazing cake board can really make the cake stand out, I promise! Once you get some of these items, they'll last forever. I think I've had my hot glue gun for 10 years or longer, and it still works perfectly fine.
- Hot glue gun
- Hot glue sticks
- A package of cardboard rounds that are 2" larger than your cake
- Your favorite theme-matching scrapbook paper
Note that there are other ways to cover cake boards, but I wanted to focus on using scrapbook paper in this article. I'll cover the other mediums in other articles, as the steps can be different and I don't want to confuse you. Or me. I'm easily confused.
Gallery of Supplies
Step 2: Glue Your Cardboard Rounds Together
After letting your glue gun heat up, glue three or four cardboard rounds together. How many you use is going to depend on how big your cake is going to be. The general rule of thumb I use is if it is a single tier cake, use three cardboard rounds. If it is a two tier cake, use four cardboard rounds. If your cake's going to be three tiers, use five cardboard rounds. If your cake will be four tiers or higher, you're going to want to skip the cardboard rounds altogether and use a wood round. Think of it like this, cake becomes very heavy the more you stack. A four tier cake can weigh upwards of 50 pounds, depending on the cake recipe. You're going to need a super sturdy surface to hold all that weight up. I wouldn't trust 50 pounds of cake on a cardboard structure.
Glue your boards together, glossy side up. So you're gluing the glossy side of one board to the bare side of another board. Not only do you need to make sure you're gluing them all glossy side up, you need to make sure that the linerboard (the part that makes the lines in the cardboard) is facing opposite directions every time. So you're essentially making a crisscross pattern with the lining. Making sure your linerboard is facing crisscross each time will strengthen your structure, so you're not going to worry about the board bending in the center with the weight of the cake.
If your cake is going to be a four tier or larger, you need to just skip the cardboard and go straight to wooden boards. Lowe's and Home Depot both sell 10", 12", 14", and 16" wooden round discs. These are perfect for cakes that are going to be four tiers and larger because of their stability.
Gluing the Boards
A Little Curious
Step 3: Cover the Board
The scrapbook paper I've always used has a printed side and a non-printed side. A lot of times the printed side is super glossy and can take on fingerprints really easily. Make sure you clean the paper really well before you use it under your cake.
Lay the cardboard down on top of the scrapbook paper and cut around the cardboard. I use an X-acto blade to get a perfect cut every time. And, it saves time to just cut directly rather than drawing around the bottom of the board and then cutting out with scissors. To me, that's just one step too many and serves no real purpose. If you can accomplish something with one step rather than two or three, get on that!
Now that you've cut out your paper to the exact size, hot glue the top of the cardboard all around the perimeter and even some in the middle. Work quickly because you don't want the glue to set up before you lay your paper down. While the glue is still hot and sticky, place the paper down on it and press firmly around the entirety of the surface to make sure you adhere it completely!
Cutting and Placing
Step 4: Add the Ribbon
Make sure your ribbon is wide enough to fit the perimeter of the boards you glued together. I had to cut mine down to make it fit. Since it was a blingy rhinestone ribbon and the rhinestones are strung in rows, it was much easier to cut it straight across to make sure that it was even all around.
It'll be easier to just buy ribbon that you know is going to fit the amount of cardboard you're going to use, and you'll be able to do that with practice. I've yet to have to use a ribbon wider than 2 inches. And it's fine if there's a little overhang at the top of the board, just make sure the overhang isn't at the bottom or you'll have issues sitting the cake down on anything but a smaller cake stand.
All you do now is glue around the perimeter of the board, place your ribbon down, and cut the ribbon flush with itself. Glue it in place in the end and you're done!
That's it! Pretty simple, right? Not only is jazzing up the cake board fun to do, it will bring your cake to the next level. I know from personal experience that the cakes I did decorate the board with were a hundred times more attractive from top to bottom than the ones I skipped out on this step with. Here, I'll even show you the difference down below!
Then you tell me how much better the decorated cake board looks than the non-decorated board.
So if you want to make a real impact with your cakes and start baking like a professional, don't skip out on decorating that board, too. It'll really make a huge difference in the overall appearance of the cake.
As you can see, you have a lot more to look at and it all meshes well together for one overall spectacular looking cake. And it only takes an extra five to ten minutes to do! There's no con to it. Sure, you're going to use more materials, but with the prices of cakes these days, why wouldn't you want your client to get the most for their money? Happy baking and rock on!!!