If you want a frill or ruffle on your cake the most consistent and professional way to do that is with a Garrett frill cutter. It’s a plastic circle with a ruffled edge, that comes with three interchangeable centres – each one gives a different width to your frill. You just pop one out and the other in.
I’d used a Garrett frill cutter before on this Princess doll cake, but didn’t quite know how to do it properly – you can see from the picture that I used the balling tool wrongly (well, this was 2013 and I was still learning!). I was finally shown how to do it properly in my wedding cake decorating class.
The cutter is pretty simple to use – select the width of frill you want and insert the centre into the cutter. The smaller the centrepiece, the wider your frill.
It’s best to use modelling paste for the frill – sugarpaste is a bit too soft and can’t be rolled thinly enough and flowerpaste is probably too thin and dries too hard. Modelling paste or Mexican paste retains a softer texture so it is nicer for eating, but at the same time it dries enough to hold the shape. I’ve previously written a tutorial on how to make Mexican paste here.
Roll out some paste and press down the Garrett frill cutter. Remove the inner circle you are left with so you have a frilled outer circle, which you cut in half to give you two separate frills. So far, so easy. Now, where I went wrong before is making the edges of the frill curl.
The best tool to use is actually called a friller (the clue being in the name!) though you can also use a cocktail stick. A friller is a thin straight tool that looks a bit like a veiner but is smooth. Place the frill onto a foam pad and roll the friller tool from side to side on each piece of the frill, as you can see here. Don’t be afraid to properly roll it so the icing actually stretches out and thins.
Then, place the friller under the middle of the section you have just rolled, and raise it into a little peak. When you have done this all the way around your frill will be really… frilly!
We all stuck our frills to the cake board that we had previously been trying out other techniques on in my cake decorating class. Most people just stuck their frills to the centre of the cake – you can stick them on using edible glue or by piping a little royal icing, ideally in a matching colour. I decided to stick my frill around the edge of the cake board – if I was doing this on a cake I would put it around the side. One girl had a good idea –when we’d previously done stencilling, she had stencilled a silhouette of a Spanish dancer, so she cut her frill into four sections rather than two, and stuck it on the stencil to show the ruffles in the skirt. You can get as creative as you like with your frill!