A personalised message on a cake is a great way to make it that little bit more special. Here, Britt Whyatt from She Who Bakes shows us her top two fonts she uses on cakes and bakes, and how to get a great result using them at home
My two favourite cutters are Tappit and Clikstix cutters, today we're going to look at using Tappit cutters. Both look very similar on a shop shelf, but they produce two different results. If I had a pound for every time someone said to me they couldn’t use these cutters, I could retire tomorrow and move to a desert island! The secret is, no one can really use these at first – I had a set in a cupboard for well over a year before I mastered them. But the good news is, once you’ve got your technique sorted, they will become one of your favourite tools! Now, I can cut out a personalised message in a matter of minutes to really add a special something to my cakes.
The first and biggest tip I can give you when it comes to using any delicate lettering or cutters is to use the right kind of sugar! Not all sugar is created equal. The most common mistake people make when trying to cut out lettering is using sugarpaste aka ready to roll icing. This is too soft to use. It’s perfect for covering cakes, but you can’t get it thin enough as it’s simply not got the strength. It ends up getting stuck in your cutter and you end up getting frustrated – I speak from experience!
For these and most other delicate cutters including plunger and patchwork cutters, I recommend to use either Mexican paste or flower paste, both available from cake shops. Bear in mind, you can now buy ‘flower & modelling paste’ from most supermarkets but please be aware this is NOT the same as regular flower paste, it’s best used just for modelling with.
You can, of course, strengthen your own sugarpaste using tylo or something similar, but I have always bought Mexican paste or flower paste to use and have never had a problem with it.
For this tutorial Britt uses:
• Mexican paste
• Tappit & Clikstix cutters
• foam pad
• rolling pin
• scribe tool
Method 1: The Tappit cutter
- Knead your Mexican or flower paste between your fingers until it’s soft and pliable. Dust your work surface with cornflour, then roll out your flower or Mexican paste very thinly into a long strip. You’ll know it’s thin enough when you can gently lift it over a piece of paper with writing on and you can see the writing through it. If it’s too thick, your letters will get stuck in the cutter. Once rolled out, brush the top with a little more cornflour.
2. Now cut the paste into strips. Some letter cutters come with a plastic strip cutter to use for this, which is what I’m using, but if you don’t have one you can roll strips as thick as your letter cutters using a pizza wheel, cutting wheel or sharp knife. 3. My next top tip is to leave it to dry a little, which goes against a cake decorator's instinct, but you’ll have to trust me. We don’t want it to be solid, but we also don’t want it to be sticky. Stronger pastes like Mexican or flower paste may be a little stickier to the touch than sugarpaste so we have to leave it to settle before cutting out for best results. Go make a cup of tea. I find that’s usually the right amount of time to let it dry.
4. From here, it differs for each letter cutter set. For the upper case Tappit set, find the letter you want to use first, in this case I’m using 'H'. Lay this letter onto your strip of paste, press down your chosen letter firmly and, putting pressure on the back, wiggle it from side to side for a clean cut. The paste should move underneath the cutter. 5. Pull the cutter away to make sure it has come out cleanly. If you are making a letter with a part that comes out such as an A,P or B for example, you can remove these extra pieces with a scribe.
6. Gently tap your cutter onto your counter. 7. The cut out letter should just pop out! If it doesn’t, use a scribe to gently ease it out. If it’s really not budging, let the paste dry out a little more and try again. If this doesn’t work, then you may not have rolled your paste thin enough and you may need to start again. 8. Continue with the rest of your message, leaving the letters to dry on foam as you go.
Method 2: The Clikstix cutter
For the groovy Clikstix cutter, again choose your letter and place it onto the paste, but this time, hold the sides of the cutter and press down firmly. These cutters have a ‘push out’ mechanism on the back so if you push down at this stage you will just press the paste into the table.
Pull the cutter away to make sure it has come out cleanly and this time gently press out your letter. Continue with the rest of your message and leave to dry on foam. Leave your messages to dry, preferably overnight on foam. Then fix to your cake or iced cake board with a paintbrush and a little edible glue.
Tutorial by Britt Whyatt from She Who Bakes