This Easter I wanted to do a special Easter cake, decorated with piping, which I have not done in years. When we were little, my mom would decorate our birthday cakes this way, creating a professional looking cake for us. A few years ago I took a cake decorating class at Gloria’s in Culver City and learned some techniques myself. It is pretty simple, but takes a steady hand and lots of practice to look good. We decided on an Easter basket cake, with basket weaving on the sides, and Peeps nestled in grass and flowers.
I started by crumb-coating the layers, so any subsequent frosting will go on smoothly. Since the Crisco and powdered sugar frosting (ideal for decorating for its stiffness) is super-sweet, we used a lemon curd for the filling to help cut some of the sweetness. I have watched enough episodes of Cake Boss to to have learned to pipe a ring of frosting first, then fill with the lemon crud. This prevents the curd from mingling with the exterior frosting, and ensures a uniform exterior.
After stacking the layers and coating again in frosting, I began with the basket weave. Start with piping one vertical strip, then pipe the horizontal strips over the first one. Then pipe another vertical strip next to the edges of the horizontal strips, then pipe horizontal strips over the second vertical strip, etc. The wider the basket weave tip, the easier and faster it is.