Adding 2-dimensional appliqué to a cake appeals to my punk rock side – it feels very DIY cut and paste, like a fanzine constructed of cut up newspaper headlines. My design here is a little more glamorous, but retains that fundamental attitude about it. I am going to show you two different approaches to creating 2D appliqué designs for your cakes; one royal icing run-out and one flower paste appliqué. If you are not confident in your hand-painting or piping skills, these are great techniques for you. A cake like this is perfect for a celebration cake or a corporate order. If you consider providing cakes for corporate clients, being able to recreate their logo in icing will go a long way. In either case, these designs are particularly great because the bulk of the time-consuming decorative work can be done in advance. The cake itself should be simple, covered in sugarpaste and nice and tall for a modern look. Sugarpaste should be used for any large appliqué designs, as you will be able to use royal icing as adhesive and feel safe in its security on the front of your cake. You will need • white flower paste • royal icing • selection of professional paste colours • foam mat • small non-stick rolling pin • scribe tool (or cocktail stick) • greaseproof or tracing paper • piping nozzle no.2 • squeezy plastic bottles • small craft knife
The first step is to choose your designs. I am using elements of my own logo because I own the copyright (something that you need to be wary of in print!). Print your designs off at the size that you will want them to be on the cake, then cut them out carefully to make your templates. To make any appliqué design, begin by cutting out the shapes in white flower paste. These backing sections will add stability to a large run-out or constructed appliqué, making the finished pieces easier to adhere to the cake. Roll flower paste thinly to 2-3mm and cut around your paper templates. Set these pieces aside to dry overnight on a foam mat.
- Once the backing piece is dry, you can begin to add raised details in royal icing. I find it easiest to trace my template onto tracing paper and mark through the details to be added with a metal scribe tool. When you are working with a graphic design or logo, accuracy is key.
- Prepare your royal icing and colour to the shade that you require. You will need two consistencies; an icing that holds a peak and curves over slightly, and a 7-second icing (made by gradually adding water to the same stiffer icing), where any ripples disappear into the pool of icing on the count of seven. Load a dessert spoon of your stiffer icing into a piping bag fitted with a no.2 piping nozzle and pour your 7-second icing into a squeezy bottle – you will thank me for that mess-saving advice!
- Pipe the outlines of your design using the stiffer icing and then fill in the design with the 7-second icing. This is a technique known as flooding, which you may have used before to decorate cookies. You do not need to squeeze runny icing right up to the outlines, as the icing should run into those lines independently. A little encouragement with your scribe tool can be used if necessary and this same tool can be used to pop any pesky little bubbles that appear in the icing.
- To add extra detail to the flooded sections, a 7-second icing in another colour will blend seamlessly into the finish. I have used a tiny amount of white royal icing to add the shine to my bottom lip. Set aside to dry overnight.
Layered Flower Paste To make the lipstick, I have ‘exploded’ the template into its various coloured sections and coloured up small amounts of flower paste to match. Roll your flower paste thinly and cut around each tiny template carefully – I used a small craft knife for this task. Set these pieces aside to dry. Once dry, stick the coloured pieces onto your white backing piece using white royal icing or a little edible glue. Any extra fiddly details (like the CW lettering on my lipstick) can be added once the pieces have dried on the backing – this prevents any smudging or damage of your delicate details. To assemble Allow designs to dry completely before trying to stick them to a cake. Heavier pieces (like the lips on my cake) need time to stick. Pipe large blobs of royal icing over the area that will be in contact with the cake, without going too close to the edges. Choose your positioning and, with spotlessly clean hands, place your piece and hold firm for a minute or so. You may find that the piece begins to slip once you remove your hand, so continue to hold the piece gently in place until it feels secure – if you're concerned about heavier pieces, insert a cocktail stick beneath its bottom edge so it rests on this as it dries.