Ribbon – the Ultimate Cake-Saver

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No birthday party is complete without a good old fashioned cake to finish it all off. Birthday cakes are exciting, loaded with candles, heaped with decorations and, in my view, the more icing and flavoured butter cream the better. Birthday cakes symbolise the point of the whole occasion. They bring about the moment when the party pauses to celebrate the birthday boy or girl. Candles are lit, lights dimmed and the cake is revealed, ceremoniously placed in front of the person wearing the birthday hat or badge and we all sing “happy birthday”. The singing is usually in an unsuitable key and all out of tune, and sometimes out of sync, but it’s all part of the pageant and once it’s done we can get on with the best bit – slicing and eating the cake.

With all eyes on the cake it needs to be a good’un. So what happens when the decoration goes wrong? Icing a cake is harder than it looks and definitely takes twice as long as you think it will. All too often the icing doesn’t stretch to the bottom, the decorations won’t stick to the sides and you manage to accidentally dent the icing around the sides with your fingers. So what do you do when time has run out and your cake looks like your four-year old twins have iced it themselves? I always turn to the ultimate in cake-saving kit: ribbon.

Ribbon hides the mistakes.

For Emily’s sixth birthday cake I rolled out the icing but it wasn’t big enough for the cake. I stretched it as much as I could but it just didn’t reach to the bottom of the cake and the ends looked ragged and very unappealing.

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Some white and pink ribbon covered up the rough edges and transformed the cake from a mess into a cake fit for a party.

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Ribbon helps one-cake-fit-all at joint birthday parties

Decorations can serve a greater purpose than making a cake look nice. If you have twins and don’t want to make two separate birthday cakes, entirely reasonable in my book, ribbon can help solve the problem of how to share one cake instead. My twins each chose their favourite colour and I tied both around the cake.

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Ribbon keeps everything in place

Chocolate fingers around the outside of a cake look great. A great cheat if, like me, you can’t make chocolate swirls. You can go for all chocolate fingers, or alternate chocolate and white chocolate fingers for a change. But, whichever kind you go for, they don’t look so great when they are falling off and peeling away from the sides of the cake. Even with a good thick layer of butter icing around the cake the chocolate fingers can slide around and start to lean out from the cake. The last time I made one of these I tied ribbon around it to keep the fingers in place. The ribbon actually added to the decoration of the cake as well as holding the chocolate fingers in place.

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So, the next time you are baking a cake for a birthday party don’t worry about spending hours trying to perfect the edges of your icing or pipe the perfect swirls. Simply break out the ultimate in cake saving kit – the humble ribbon. Ribbon can hide the roughest edges, hold together uncooperative decorations and transform even the messiest of messes into a pretty beautiful thing worthy of any party.