Maggie Austin created this Stained Glass cake in homage to a childhood Tiffany lamp. The light gave the pieces of coloured glass an almost otherworldy appearance and the organic mottling of the glass translated easily to this cake design.
You will need:
For the Stained Glass cake:
- sugarpaste-covered cake tier(s), cold and firm
- petal dusts (moss, emerald, burgundy, charcoal, dark chocolate brown, yellow rose, golden corn, purple, cream, ocean, forget-me-not blue, baby pink)
- vodka in dropper bottle
- flower paste dragonflies, anemones and berries (optional)
- palette or washable nonporous work surface
- paper towels
- disposable gloves (optional)
- cocktail stick (optional)
- black edible pen (have a few on hand)
- Tap out small amounts of each colour onto your palette. Add a bit of vodka as needed to turn the petal dusts into paint. Wrap your finger with a piece of paper towel and dip it into one of the colours. (If you like, you can wear gloves to keep from staining your skin.)
- If you are working on a specific project that involves a clearly defined flower or scene, you may find it helpful to use a cocktail stick to lightly prick an outline on the fondant to establish a 'map' for your colour. It’s also fine to let the pattern be random and fairly abstract. To begin, apply paint in one colour to a few areas within a section of the tier.
- Return to the first areas of colour and gently add a different colour.
- Continue layering on colour as desired. Include sections that have a greater concentration of lighter colours (greens, creams, yellows) and other sections that have more blues, purples and charcoals. This is where you will start to establish a pattern.
- With a clean paper towel moistened with vodka, go back into your painting and wipe away some of the colour within a shape – as shown in the light-green shapes in this photo. The removal of colour is what adds a 'lit from within' look to your stained glass. Have plenty of paper towels, both dry and moistened with a bit of vodka, on hand.
- Let the paint dry to the touch (it’ll take just a few minutes) before outlining. I tend to work section by section rather than painting the entire cake first and then outlining everything at once. It helps to break up the very time-consuming process, and allows a freshly painted section to dry while I outline another section. Use an edible marker to trace the shapes you’ve created during painting. Try to work quickly without thinking too much (easier said than done!). You’ve done the hard work of painting, so concentrate on simply following your own lead and outlining. Have a few markers on hand to rotate as they lose a sharp point or run low on ink. If you find that the marker isn’t working at all, the paint on the cake may be too wet – let it dry before continuing. This process can take a long time if you are working on a large cake. Be sure that your work environment is cool (cold is even better) and dry to keep the cake firm and happy.
- Continue alternating painting and outlining. If you need to add or remove a bit of colour after all of your lines are drawn, do so very carefully and try not to disturb the black outlines, as they smudge easily.
- I find it easiest to paint each tier separately. As I work, I take note of the emerging 'front' of the design. Once the tiers are stacked, you may find that you need to rotate them slightly to bring the entire design together. Like all sugarpaste-covered cakes, it’s important to keep the temperature and humidity levels as consistent as possible to prevent 'sweating'. Once the cake is painted, this is even more important. If you are refrigerating the cake, place it in a cardboard box and seal the box with tape. Before delivery or service, remove the cake from the fridge but keep it sealed in the box. Any condensation that occurs from the change in temperature will happen on the box, rather than on the cake’s surface. Wait at least 30 minutes before unboxing.