Overpiping tutorial

I took part in a collaboration along with some other talented royal icing artists. The theme was Midsummer Night’s Eve. Now, this was a challenge, mainly because I really don’t like Shakespeare. But I do like royal icing, and to my great joy, there was a wedding. Cue a wedding cake!

So this is the wedding cake of Theseus and Hippolyta. If you want to see the other cakes (and you do, they are great), Bella Baking has shared them on their Facebook page.

I made an overpiping tutorial to go along with the cake. This overpiping pattern is the one you see along the top border of the cake. Enjoy!

Intertwined overpiping tutorial

Pipe the middle C-scrolls with round tube #2.

Continue with the S-scrolls on each side, working from the outside towards the middle.

Then pipe the larger C-scrolls in two parts, working from the side of the S-scroll and out.

If you want plumes, they should be piped now, as the overpiping will make it difficult to pipe them later on. Use a light color and round tube #1.5 or #1.

The overpiping is done with a lighter colour than the base (but still darker than the plumes) and tube #1.5 or #1. Repeat steps 1-3.

To achieve the illusion of intertwining scrolls, overpipe the entire larger C-scroll (see photo for detail). And then you’re done!

New on the site: Reviews of vintage royal icing books

Ever wondered which of the good old royal icing books are worth the money? I’ve written a list, containing my own favorites, from bakers such as Lambeth, Schulbe and Borella, along with some basic information about contents and prices. An in-depth review of The Lambeth Method is already up, the rest will follow in the weeks to come.

You can find the list right here.

Green Birthday

My mother has a birthday this year. She also had one last year and the year before that. It is quite possible she’s been having these birthdays every year since she was born.

But I’m not sure. After all, she is older than me.

Since I live in The Kingdom of Far Far Away from my mother, I don’t often get to make cakes for her. This year, however, I decided to take the long 4-hour train trip, cake in hand, to visit my mother on her birthday.

Travelling with decorated cakes can be somewhat nervewrecking. Especially when you don’t have a car, and need to rely on public transport. Stranger-danger everywhere. People have no clue that I’m carrying a fragile cake, and as such do not feel any desire to not bump into me or my white cake box on the crowded train. Thankfully, most of the trip was on an intercity train, with seat reservations and a safe place for the cake.

When I need to transport cakes this way, I use a certain type of design. It’s not too fragile, but still elegant. On the top, some nice overpiping. I can make this as elaborate as I wish – as long as it lies flat on the top of the cake, there’s virtually no risk of breaking the icing. Unless you sit on the cake, but I guess very few types of decorating could survive that.

On the top edge and at the bottom I put clusters of tiny flowers. While they are somewhat fragile, they are not at risk of breaking from the shock alone, if the cake is bumped – like stringwork might.

Most of my cakes are decorated styrofoam dummies. I don’t sell my cakes, and I’m a slow decorator. I refuse to pull all-nighters, real cake or not, and the more elaborate designs can take me days or even weeks to complete – long past the expiration date of most types of cakes. When I do decorate real cakes, such as this birthday cake, I use somewhat simple designs (flowers can be made in advance) that can be done in a day or two. I also use mudcake. It’s stable, easy to transport, doesn’t go bad when kept at room temperature during the decorating process, and it will easily last a week or two in the fridge. But most important, it’s super tasty. Win-win.

For this particular cake, I used Sugarflair Apple Green. The flowers are made with a few different brands of purple, which gives subtle variations in colour, without being too different. There’s also a few pink flowers thrown in the mix. The cake is 6″ on a 8″ board.

And it survived the long trip. It didn’t survive dinner, though.