Ina Garten’s Parchment Paper Hack Makes Decorating Cakes So Much Easier

published May 1, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Getty Images, Graphic: Kitchn

Ina Garten is an inspiration to many home cooks, but particularly so to Trent Pheifer whose Instagram account, @storeboughtisfine, chronicles his mission to cook every single recipe from Garten’s TV shows and cookbooks.

Recently, Pheifer had the pleasure of doing a Zoom call with the Barefoot Contessa herself, in which he got to walk through the last recipe on his list: Boston cream pie. During this call, Garten shared many insightful tips with Pheifer (and those of us watching along).

One of our favorites was her tip for using parchment paper for mess-free cake decorating right on the cake stand. Doing this means you don’t have to decorate the cake and then transfer it to the cake stand, which can be messy (or worse, if you drop the cake). The trick is simple but a “game-changer,” as Pheifer describes it in the video.

Credit: Courtesy of Trent Pheifer

In the video (around the 18-minute mark), Garten instructs Pheifer to cut parchment or wax paper into triangles and tuck them underneath the cake on the cake stand. To do it, start by cutting parchment or wax paper into squares and then along the diagonal into triangles. (Garten says that by cutting the parchment into triangles rather that rectangular strips, you get the optimal amount of edge around the cake.)

Next, gently tuck each triangle under the cake, overlapping them as you work your way around the perimeter of the cake. The ends of the paper should stick out so that you can simply pull them out when you’re done decorating. Garten recommends running a paring knife between the cake and the layers of parchment before removing the paper for the cleanest removal.

Whether you have a topping on the thinner side, like the chocolate glaze that tops Garten’s Boston cream pie, or a thicker buttercream frosting, you can use this parchment paper trick to get clean edges and decorate the cake directly on the stand.

Credit: Courtesy of Trent Pheifer

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