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A cake comb is a tool used in cake decorating. The teeth of a cake comb are used to make designs in the frosting of a cake or other confection that has frosting. It usually is used to make parallel lines around the sides of a layer cake, but the possibilities are limited only by the imagination. Cake combs usually are made out of stainless steel but sometimes are made from plastic.
Typically, a cake comb is a flat, triangular-shaped tool that measures 5 inches (12.7 cm) by 4 inches (10.2 cm). Each side of the triangle has a different size of teeth for the purpose of creating different designs. The shape and size of the teeth can vary from jagged to rounded to a combination of both. These variations increase the decorating options for which the cake comb can be used.
To use a cake comb for decorating, one must frost the cake with a generous amount of frosting. It needs to be thick enough so that the cake comb does not touch the cake itself as it is being used. The comb is held with the chosen side pointing toward the frosted cake as it is used, and even pressure is applied as the comb is dragged across the surface of the frosting.
Different effects can be added by using more pressure to make deeper grooves or to form waves by using an up-and-down motion as the comb is dragged. If the results are not satisfactory, the frosting can be re-spread and the comb can be used again. Excess frosting should be cleaned from the comb often so that globs of frosting do not drip down the side of the cake. The comb should be used immediately after the cake is frosted, which ensures that the frosting will still be soft, making it much easier to work with.
Cake combs are not found in most stores. They might need to be purchased from a craft store or ordered online. In a pinch, a sterilized hair comb, a serrated knife or the tines of a fork can be used as substitutes.
Another type of comb used with cakes is called a cake cutter comb. It is a completely different tool than the one used to add designs to frosting. A cake cutter comb provides a gentler way of cutting cake. It typically is used for cutting more delicate cakes such as angel food cake or sponge cake. It usually will have long, metal tines and a handle, and it more closely resembles a hair comb.
I used to work for a baker that did a lot of birthday party cakes and other holiday cakes. Most of my day was spent decorating cakes.
The cake comb is one of the unsung heroes of cake decorating. Think of how many cakes you have eaten that have those runs of parallel lines around the outside. That is thanks to the cake comb. It is a simple little tool but it makes a tricky job so much easier.
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