Tuesday 23 February 2016

Stencilling a design on a cake

I'm enjoying my wedding cake decorating class even though we are already in week 5 and haven't actually been near a wedding cake yet (even a fake one). My main issue with the course though is that it was described as "intermediate level" - i.e. for people with some cake decorating experience - but we have been doing really basic things I would describe as beginners' level. Take stencilling, for instance - I'd never done it before so it was useful having it explained and having the chance to practice. For me, part of the reason for taking the class is to have a couple of hours set aside a week to focus on practicing cake decorating, which I wouldn't find time for at all otherwise.
But to spend half a class aimed at an intermediate level being taught stencilling was a bit disappointing. Do you want to know how to do stencilling? Well, mix some royal icing, colour it, place a stencil on your cake, and spread the icing over with a palette knife. Then remove the stencil - ta dah! Hardly rocket science - and hardly an intermediate level class. We could have covered that in 20 minutes and then spent an hour working on decorating a covered dummy cake so even if the technique was simple, by the end we would have a nicely decorated cake.

Place the stencil on the covered cake or board
spread over a thin layer of royal icing using a palette knife
remove stencil

Instead, we continue to work on a covered board, using the same board we'd used in previous weeks as you can see from the picture. I had my own set of stencils though I'd never used them, so chose a leaf pattern and added some green to my royal icing. I used a bit of masking tape to fasten the stencil to the board, as you don't want it to move, and spread the icing over the top. You want to spread the icing as thinly as possible. Carefully remove the stencil and you can see it does look good.

After the class I tried stencilling on an actual cake and unsurprisingly found it was a lot more difficult than doing it on a cake board, so I wish we had done it on a cake in class! You can see how mine turned out here.

We spent the second half of the class being shown how to use a Garrett frill cutter, which I already owned and had used before but not correctly as it turned out, so I will do a separate post on this.

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