This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
To ice a cake to the best advantage, it should be at least twenty-four hours old. First brush off the crumbs. If an elaborate cake is being made, it is always best to put a preliminary plain confectioner's icing to "stick in the crumbs." This makes a hard surface, to which the ornamental icing can be applied. Put the cake on a box, or an icing stand, with a plate beneath it to catch all the extra icing that may drop off, as this can be used over and over. Spread the icing with a broad-bladed knife, or, better still, a spatula, as this is limber, dipping it first in hot water. This can be done in using either cooked or uncooked icing. All, of course, must be in place before the icing is "set." If a design is to be applied, first put on a plain icing, and, when almost dry, trace on it the design, or the place where the fruit, etc., is to be applied, so that it will be even when finished.
To make an attractive looking cake, it is not at all necessary to use a pastry bag and tube to apply the ordinary ornamental icing, for most attractive results can be gained by using little candies which can be made into flower designs of roses, holly, mistletoe, etc., with the aid of leaves and stems cut from angelica to give the green necessary.
Scald it in hot water, dry it thoroughly on cheesecloth or paper towels, and then cut in the desired shapes.