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Although I understand that this "contemporary basket weave" technique originally came to light through Martha Stewart, I first saw it done in a how-to article on Cake Central.  Since then, I've enjoyed using it from time to time, when the top design on the cakes would be fairly simple and not compete with the lovely texture on the sides.

 

Easy Basketweave

You won't need much in the way of tools, just some hot water, a non-serrated knife, and a clean towel.  And a cake.  You might want to put the icing on a little thicker than normal so that you have some extra depth for the texturing.  On this particular day, I had three of these basket weave cakes to do, so I chose to work on them at my cooktop with water simmering in a pan, but you can certainly just heat up a mug of hot water and go sit at the table to work on yours if you prefer.

Dip the knife in the hot water to heat up the blade, and use the towel to blot off any excess water.  You want a warm blade, not a wet one.  Position the knife horizontally on the cake, and gently press the knife into the icing, using more pressure on the tip of the blade.

Now work your way up in a straight line, positioning the knife so that each triangle is lined up with its neighbors.  In this case, I'm working on a heart-shaped cake, so I have the point of the heart to help me keep them straight on that first row.  If you're making any other shape of cake, the method is the same.

It's up to you whether or not you put a top border on your finished cakes.  I prefer to leave it off when I have the choice, but no biggie either way.  As you can see, it's so pretty and so easy however you decide to finish it off.  Go bake yourself a cake and give something new a try today!

Gently pull the knife to the side in a sweeping motion so that there is little or no take-off mark when you lift the blade away.  I like to start at the bottom of the cake and work my way up, but you can start at the top and go down if you like that better.  It's all good.

Once you've made it all the way to the top of the cake, start the second column of triangles.  Position the points of the triangles to line up horizontally as well as vertically.

Because of the lobes of the heart-shaped cake, it's difficult to get the texturing into the inverted point of the cake. Just do your best. Obviously you won't have to worry about getting the texture into a tight space if you're doing a round or rectangular cake.

Here's the heart with the texturing completed.  Cool.

With the crowns that I trimmed off the other cakes, and using an oversized heart-shaped cookie cutter, I cut out layers of cake to stack as a torte for some friends who were coming over that evening.  Because this cake was so little, I needed a smaller object to apply the texture with.  Turns out my tapered angled spatula was perfect for that, and I loved the look of it.