Try a simple stencil, instead. They’re sold in kitchen supply and in craft stores, but if you care to, you can make your own. Just print out a design, symbol, or short phrase, and cut it out with an exacto knife or super sharp scissor. Keep your design on the large and simple side … cutting out the shape can be a bit painstaking. Place your stencil on your cake — or meat loaf if that’s more your style — and sift some confectioners sugar over top. You can use cocoa if you’re decorating a light surface. Don’t sift too much, just a light dusting. Make sure the surface isn’t soggy, or the sugar will melt into it. Sometimes putting the cake in the frig for a bit is all you need to get a usable surface.
And voila, no more “Happy Birthday” that looks like it was written by a drunken kangaroo.