Lace designs on wedding cakes mimic the elegant lace of the wedding dress for a cake that looks simple in style but appears difficult in execution. The technique varies depending on whether you make the lace with icing or rolled fondant. Stencils and embossing mats save you the trouble of tracing and drawing the lace entirely by hand -- a process with a huge margin for error. Try making white lace over a simple white cake, or apply it over a colored cake for contrast.
Things You'll Need
- Crusting buttercream frosting
- Icing spatula
- Acrylic lace stencil
- Stick pins
- Tulle (optional)
- Royal icing (optional)
- Bench scraper or acetate sheet (optional)
- Powdered sugar
- Fondant mat
- Fondant roller
- Lace embossing mat or stencil for fondant
- Fondant cutting tool (optional)
- Piping gel
- Artist's paintbrush
- Luster dust
- Grain alcohol
Buttercream or Royal Icing
Frost the cake with a crusting buttercream frosting. Use your favorite buttercream frosting recipe, but replace at least half of the butter in the recipe with vegetable shortening. Dip an icing spatula into hot water, wipe off the water and spread the frosting as smooth as possible. The hot blade melts the sugar and fat slightly so it spreads easily. Leave the cake at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until the outside of the frosting forms a crust.
Wrap an acrylic lace stencil around the cake and insert stick pins to hold it in place. Work in sections, depending on the size of the stencil and cake. To create a fine grid pattern in the lace frosting, wrap a piece of clean tulle around the stencil and pin it into place.
Spread your choice of buttercream frosting or royal icing across the stencil in a thick, even layer, using an icing spatula. The appearance is the same with either choice, but royal icing dries much harder than buttercream frosting.
Scrape off the excess frosting or royal icing, using a clean icing spatula, a bench scraper or a piece of acetate sheet. Drag the tool slowly across the stencil, careful to avoid digging into the frosting in the stencil openings. As you swipe the excess frosting off the stencil, it fills in any empty spaces in the openings. Wipe the frosting off the tool frequently.
Remove the pins from the stencil. Peel the stencil away from the cake slowly to reveal the lace design. Depending on the detail in the stencil, expand upon the design with some piped icing, if desired. For example, if the lace stencil has flowers with spaces of separation, use a piping bag and small round tip to make crosshatch designs to connect the floral sections. Wait until the stenciled design hardens before embellishing the lace design with piped icing.
Dust a counter or fondant rolling mat with powdered sugar to prevent sticking. Roll a piece of fondant to between 1/4 and 1/8 inch thick, using a fondant roller.
Lay a lace pattern fondant embossing mat or stencil over the rolled fondant.
Roll the fondant roller over the back side of the embossing mat or stencil, using firm, even pressure to press the lace design into the fondant.
Cut out sections of the lace, using a rotary fondant cutter, if desired. Choose this step if you want to decorate a fondant cake with smaller pieces of lace design. Alternatively, emboss the lace pattern into a large piece of fondant and use it to cover an entire cake or cake tier.
Brush a thin layer of piping gel onto the cake where you wish to apply the lace piece. Brush the piping gel onto the back side of the lace piece. Place the lace onto the cake and rub over it lightly with your finger to set it into place. To cover an entire cake tier with embossed lace fondant, spritz the buttercream-frosted cake with water and drape the fondant over the cake. Run a fondant smoother tool over the fondant to set it into the frosting layer; rub lightly to avoid damaging the lace design.
Mix your choice of luster dust with a grain alcohol to the consistency of paint.
Brush the luster dust paint all over the lace designs, using a clean artist's paintbrush. Apply the paint lightly over the surface without working it into the embossed pattern. This highlights the lace detail while giving the cake an overall shine. The grain alcohol evaporates quickly, leaving the cake with a shimmering finish.
Tips & Warnings
- Keep track of the number of pins to ensure that you remove them all.
- Acetate sheets can be found in craft stores and work well to scrap off excess frosting as they are flexible and follow the curves of a round cake.
- Pearl luster dust works well for white lace, but you might also use silver or gold to accent the white lace.
- If you don't want to use luster dust on a fondant-lace cake, try painting the cake with food coloring. Thin food coloring gel with grain alcohol to make a paint consistency. Try a mixture of orange and brown to make the lace appear aged. You can skip the painting altogether, but it helps the lace pattern stand out.
- Purchase a set of good quality artist's paintbrushes in a variety of sizes to use only for cake decorating. Clean the brushes well and dry them before storing, just as you would maintain a set of brushes used for paint.
- Photo Credit Ruth Black/iStock/Getty Images
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