The outside border of a wedding cake is an essential component of the overall design of a wedding cake. An elegant smocking effect made with icing also accentuates the centrepiece of the cake. It adds the finishing touch and enhances the aesthetic appeal of the solitary space on the sides of the cake. Without this essential component, cakes often look unfinished. An embellished border takes a cake's design from ordinary to extraordinary. It also adds a delightful detail to the overall visual appeal of the wedding cake.
Open the piping bag and place the pastry coupler inside the bag. Place the #3 pastry tip on top of the coupler. Screw the ring onto the end of the tip where the pastry coupler and tip meet. Make sure it is secure by tightening it. You know it is secure when you can no longer twist it.
Fold over the open end of the pastry bag. Using the spatula, place the icing inside the piping bag. Fill the bag about halfway. Make sure to evenly distribute the icing within the bag; doing so will make it easier to control the amount of icing coming out of the bag. Once you fill the bag with icing, fold the sides and twist the ends of the bag using a clockwise motion. Hold the end of the bag firmly with one hand.
Create the smocking design, which resembles a diamond-like pattern, by drawing straight lines that cross each other diagonally. Start in the middle-back part of the cake (the 12 o'clock position). Apply even pressure to the top of the bag to allow for a smooth distribution of the icing. Starting from this position, on the bottom of the cake, draw a diagonal line from left to right. Stop when it is as long as you want it.
Cross over that line using the same motion, but come from the opposite direction. You will draw a diagonal line from right to left, crossing over the first line. Now you will have an "X." When you finish the first design, keep the bag low and close to the cake. Resist pulling up on the bag; this movement can cause a break in the design, making it look messy.
Continue this same motion around the cake so that the "X" designs connect to one another. This will form the diamond shape or smocking design. If you make a mistake, fix it by removing the mistake with the spatula. Proceed until you complete the smocking around the entire cake.
Practice a few times prior to decorating the wedding cake. A steady hand and patience are two traits that are extremely important when smocking a cake. If you don't have piping bags you can also use parchment paper or zip-lock bags to place the icing in; however, it is important that you do not overfill the bags, since this makes it harder to control the evenness of the designs. Make sure the icing on the cake is set. Trying to smock with icing when the frosting on the cake is not set makes it more difficult to achieve clean designs. It also makes mistakes more likely, since the frosting and icing may bleed into one another. For a more elaborate border, use more than one type of pastry tip. For a more simplified border, use one style of pastry tip.