Decorating wedding cakes is not the time to be modest. As a cake decorator, now is the time to showcase all your tricks of the trade to create eye-popping, often inconceivably intricate-looking designs that will captivate the attendees of a wedding reception. Beyond basic piping techniques, wedding cake icing tricks pull out all the stops to create luscious edible art for a very special occasion.
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Pipe a lattice "mesh" pattern onto a wedding cake using royal icing from a piping bag and a No. 3 or 4 tip. Use this technique to decorate the area underneath any scrolls on the cake, but place only the outlines of the scrolls on the cake first and build them up after creating the lattice. Tilt one side of the cake using a small object underneath it, then pipe straight lines at an angle starting from the edge underneath the scroll outward. Let dry for an hour, then apply lines in the other direction, tilting the cake on the other side. Once the lines have all been formed, start to build up your scrolls.
Twisted Sugar Paste Swags
After creating a lattice, you can do some additional embellishments to complete the look. One idea is to add punched-out sugar-paste flowers all along the edge of the finished lattice. Additionally, you can add a twisted sugar-paste swag or drape underneath the lattice to give greater dimensionality and a sense of opulence. Take thin strips of sugar paste cut out using a pizza wheel and twist them, then attach the twisted swags to the cake by dabbing water on the points of contact with a paintbrush to make them adhere. Trim any excess swag with a small knife. Repeat until all the swags have been formed.
Overpiping and Cushion Piping
There's piping, and then there's "overpiping," which is an additional repiping of an area or piped portion of a cake so that the result looks three-dimensional. Overlaying gold frosting onto piped scrolls can give the look of porcelain. An advanced overpiping technique is the "cushion piping" method, which may be used along a cake border to create globular "puffs" of royal icing onto which crisscrossing lines have been piped. This method requires four or five increasingly smaller sizes of piping tips, as well as long periods of drying times in between applications of icing.
When working with either buttercream or royal icing for wedding cakes, borders are an arena where you can put your creativity to full use. Strings and precise details require royal icing. For the top of a cake, place reverse seashell scrolls on the top periphery of the cake using a No. 18 star piping tip, then accent with scalloped strings on the topmost sides of the cake with a No. 3 or 4 round tip and royal icing. Using the No. 18 tip, you can also make garlands for the tops of the sides of the cake, after measuring it and determining how many garlands you need. Pipe drop strings on top, using royal icing, following the shape of the garland; repeat with drop strings below and underneath the middle of the garlands.
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