Candied Kumquats Make Cakes Look Like Stained Glass Ceilings

Cake decorating is truly an art form. If you've ever watched shows like "Ace of Cakes" or "Cake Boss," you know just how elaborate a cake can be. One quick look through Charm City Cake's Instagram account and you'll see life-life dinosaur figures and Tory Burch handbags that look so realistic, it's hard to believe anything is edible. While you may assume that baking cakes and decorating cakes use the same skill set, it actually isn't so simple. Buddy Valastro shared that the major difference between baking and decorating is that decorating requires superior focus. It goes without saying if you're making an expensive wedding cake, every little iced detail and sugar flower needs to be perfect.

If you've got a special occasion coming up like a birthday or anniversary, there are some easy beginner cake decorating techniques that will give you the bakery look for less. If you want to create an elegant, but simple cake decoration, look no further than your fruit bowl. Sugared fruit is simple to make, but makes an impressive statement on a dessert platter or on a cake. Fresh fruit like raspberries and blueberries is brushed with egg white and coated in superfine sugar. Once the berries have dried, they harden and are ready to be placed atop a cake. If berries aren't your jam, you can use citrus to transform any cake.

Add edible stained glass to your cake

You can take a homemade plain layer cake or even a store-bought cake and make it look professionally decorated with the help of some citrus fruit. Kumquats, the tiny citrus fruit that looks like a miniature orange, are tart, sweet, and can be eaten in a variety of different ways. Unlike an orange, kumquats have a thin rind and can be eaten whole like a cherry tomato. If you slice a kumquat into tiny little circles and place them around a cake, its bright orange color and shiny flesh bring a pop of color to an otherwise boring cake.

Claudia Flemming, the author of Delectable, suggests making candied kumquats for a show-stopping decoration (via Epicurious). Kumquats can be candied by being sliced, then cooked in a mixture of sugar, corn syrup, and water. When the kumquat is candied, the rind texture turns into a more gummy texture. The flesh turns translucent, creating a stained glass effect, especially when sliced thin. If you can't find kumquats, you can use oranges that are cooked in a sugar simple syrup. The oranges will be larger, so take that into account when decorating the cake.