Pleats and ruffles on a wedding cake mimic the fabric manipulations in the bridal wardrobe for a finished look that is both elegant and impressive. Soft fondant sugar dough is easy to manipulate, resulting in perfect ruffles and pleats without the bumpiness sometimes associated with buttercream decorating. For a multi-tiered cake, try decorating one tier with ruffles, one tier with pleats, and one tier with smooth fondant and a monogram accent.
Things You'll Need
- Buttercream frosting
- Fondant roller
- Rotary fondant cutter or pizza cutter
- Small paintbrush
- Fondant smoother
- Fondant foam pad
- Fondant ball tool or sharpened dowel rod
- Tylose powder (optional)
Coat the cake with a thin layer of buttercream frosting. Cover the buttercream layer with a 1/4-inch thick layer of fondant in your choice of color. You can use the same color fondant as you plan to use for the pleats, or use an accent color.
Roll out a piece of fondant to about 1/4 inch thick and at least 2-1/2 times the diameter of the cake. Use the bottom of a cake pan or similar object as a guide to cut the shape from the fondant. If the cake is round, for example, you'll need a fondant circle larger than the cake diameter.
Cut the large fondant piece in half with a rotary fondant cutter or a pizza cutter. Continue cutting the halves into halves down to 1/16 pieces. For square cakes, cut the cake in half diagonally. The resulting pieces should be wedge or triangle shaped.
Lift up one wedge or triangle fondant piece and brush the back side lightly with water to make it tacky. Use a small artist's paintbrush reserved for use only with your cake decorating supplies.
Position the fondant piece on the cake so the narrow point touches the center, top of the cake and the wider base lines up with the bottom, side of the cake. Press with a fondant smoother to firmly attach to the cake. Trim any excess along the bottom with the rotary cutting tool.
Line up a second fondant wedge or triangle with the previously attached piece. Overlap the edges by one-fourth to one-third the total width. Brush the back of the piece with water to make it tacky and press it on with a fondant smoother. The overlapping edges give the look of a pleat without the extra bulk of actually folding the fondant. Repeat this process with the remaining fondant pieces.
Coat the cake with a thin layer of buttercream frosting and cover the entire cake with a layer of fondant rolled about 1/4 inch thick. Apply the fondant while the buttercream is wet or lightly mist crusted buttercream with a spray bottle of water to make the surface tacky. Rub a fondant smoother over all sides of the cake to remove air pockets and make the finished surface as smooth as possible.
Roll a ball of fondant into a sheet about 1/8 inch thick. Cut it into strips 1- to 1-1/2 inches wide and no more than about 6 inches long.
Lay a fondant strip on a foam pad used for fondant decorating. The foam pad is necessary because the springiness helps the edges ruffle.
Roll a fondant ball tool or the pointed end of a sharpened dowel rod along one edge of the fondant strip with medium pressure. Pick up on the ball slightly as you roll to help lift and ruffle the edges. The pressure makes the edge even thinner while the foam pad and lifting action curl the fondant.
Brush the back side of the non-ruffled edge with a damp brush to make it tacky. Mix a bit of tylose powder in the water to make an edible glue, if desired.
Line up the non-ruffled edge along the top or bottom edge of the cake. Start at the bottom with the ruffled side down if you want the ruffles to face down. Work from the top edge to the bottom edge of the cake with the ruffled side up if you want the ruffles to face upward. Press the non-ruffled side gently with your fingertips to attach it to the fondant-covered cake.
Ruffle one edge of the remaining fondant strips. Line up the end of one strip with the end of the previously placed ruffled strip. The ruffles detract attention from the seams so they won't be noticed. Continue this process around the entire cake to make the first ruffled tier. Line up the ruffled edge of a fondant strip over the non-ruffled edge in the previous tier so the ruffles overlap. Rub your finger along the edge to secure the two tiers.
Tips & Warnings
- Save time by making cutting all the pleats or ruffling all the strips at the same time in assembly line fashion. While working with one piece, cover the remaining pieces with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.
- Photo Credit JCamposPhotography/iStock/Getty Images