White Beaded Wedding Cake Design

Follow Charlotte White's tutorial for an Elizabeth Taylor inspired wedding cake design.

Image credit: Vintage wedding cake
Image credit: Vintage wedding cake
Image credit: Vintage wedding cake

Follow Charlotte White's tutorial for an Elizabeth Taylor inspired wedding cake design. You can learn how Charlotte created the sugar lily of the valley in the January 2018 issue, available to buy here.  For the bottom tier template, click here. For the top tier template, click here.

You will need:

Edibles:

Equipment:

  • 6”, 8” and 10” cake tiers mounted on matching cake drums
  • 3kg white sugarpaste
  • 250g royal icing
  • pearlescent white dragees
  • 12” cake drum
  • tilting turntable
  • baking parchment
  • cocktail sticks
  • scribe tool
  • #1 round piping nozzle
  • #4 round piping nozzle
  • parchment piping bags
  • tweezers
  • double-sided sticky tape
  • 1m of 15mm white satin ribbon

1

Cover each of your 3 cake tiers with a crisp covering of white sugarpaste. My top tip for getting nice sharp edges is to use a sugarpaste that can be rolled thinly without breaking. I am addicted to The Sugarpaste, which some of you may have tried. Allow these tiers to dry overnight before proceeding.

 
2

Cover the 12” cake drum in white sugarpaste. I recommend using marzipan spacers at their lowest setting for this to ensure a level thickness across the drum. Trim the edges neatly, as if you were trimming a pie dish, and set aside to dry with the cake tiers.

 
3

I have provided the templates for this design, which is directly taken from an image of the wedding dress bodice, printed out and traced. You can copy this same technique for any design that takes your fancy! You will need to ensure that you trace each design to fit 4 times around the cake tier that you are working on – my bottom tier template measured 20cm and my top tier template measured 11cm but be sure to measure around your own cake and divide by 4 for accuracy. For the bottom tier template, click here. For the top tier template, click here.

4

Break a cocktail stick in half and use the two sharp ends to pin your bottom tier template to the bottom tier of your cake. Line the design up against the top edge of the cake.

5

Use a scribe tool to poke the pattern through onto the surface of your sugarpaste. Important things to note are that the sugarpaste has been allowed to dry overnight, therefore reducing the chances of any extra dents and damage from this process, and that a scribe tool is really the only tool for this job. Less intricate designs can be poked through with a cocktail stick but you need the fine precision of a scribe for this design.

6

Develop a coded system for the pattern that you are working with. I have poked dots very closely together to denote the long flowing lines of the pattern and single dots through the centre of each circle on the pattern (which will become the pearls of the design).

7

Continue the transfer of the pattern around the entirety of the bottom tier. Each repeat should start where the previous one has finished.

8

Prepare a parchment piping bag with a #1 round piping nozzle and a small amount of royal icing. You will not need loads of royal icing to complete this design and you will find the process more comfortable with a smaller piping bag to hold.

9

Begin by piping a row of tiny beads along the long flowing lines of the design. Hold your piping nozzle close to the surface of your cake and squeeze the piping bag until a small bead of royal icing forms. Once you are happy with the size, stop squeezing and drag the nozzle gently along the scribed line to squeeze another bead of icing next to the previous one. You should aim to create a continuous line of beads.

10

I find it easiest to work on the lines of beads section by section as it is easier to meet the lines while they are still fairly wet. Once the royal icing dries, it can be brittle and easy to damage with the tip of a piping nozzle.

11

To help me along my merry way, I popped pearlescent white dragees at the points where they sit at the end of a line of piped beads. More on these in step 38.

12

Once you have completed the long flowing lines of the design, use the same piping bag and nozzle to pipe the leaves of the design. Leaves are built from little lines of royal icing piped from a central line. You will have marked out the central line with your scribe tool when you marked the design. Pipe one half of each leaf at a time.

13

Mirror the lines that you piped along the central line of the leaf to complete each one.

14

Start adding pearlescent white dragees to the design. You should find it easy to see where they need to go as scribed dots appear in the sugarpaste around the lines that you have already piped. I work to a maximum of 5-7 at a time, piping a small dot of royal icing where each dragee will sit and fixing each one in place with tweezers. I know that this sounds fiddly, and it is a bit, but this is so easy and looks so effective when complete.

15

For the flowers on the design, pipe tiny lines of royal icing from the central scribed dot that denotes your flower.

16

As soon as you have piped the flower, place a dragee in its centre.

17

Finish off the design with a line of tiny piped beads along the central line of each leaf that you piped. These will have had a while to dry, which makes piping this detail far easier.

18

Repeat the entire process of steps 28-41 to complete the top tier design. The design may be different but the process is exactly the same – scribe the pattern, pipe the long flowing lines, pipe the leaves, add the dragees, pipe the flowers, finish the leaves with a piped line of beads.

20

Allow your piping to dry for an hour before attempting to stack your tiers to prevent damaging the detail.

 
21

Putting the cake together: Fix the bottom tier to the covered cake drum with a little royal icing.

 
22

Line the top and bottom tiers up, with the blank middle tier in between them, so that the centre of each pattern lines up nicely.

 
23

Fit a disposable piping bag with a #4 round piping nozzle and load with a few spoonfuls of royal icing. Pipe a line of beads around the bottom of each cake tier.

24

In the same way as you did for the tiny beads along the long flowing lines of the cake tier designs, squeeze a bead of royal icing, stop squeezing when you are happy with its size, and drag the nozzle along to pipe the next bead. You should end up with a neat, continuous line. Allow to dry.

25

Run a length of double-sided tape around the 12” cake drum, remove the protective strip, and adhere a white satin ribbon. A little extra tape can be used to secure a little overlap at the back of the cake drum.

26

Position the Lily of the Valley bouquet at the base of the middle tier of your cake. You can either wrap the wire in floristry tape and use a foodsafe product like Safety Seal to make the wire safe to be inserted directly into cake, or use a foodsafe posey pick to hold the wire. Full disclosure – my cake is a polystyrene dummy, and you can shove wires in them to your heart’s content! Wires should never go directly into any food.

27

Position the leaves and flower stems until you are happy with them. Go for glamorous but a little wild, just like Elizabeth Taylor herself.

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