What to do. When you have a celebration cake on the horizon and the usual frills and florals just won’t cut it. I turned to Cake Lace.
For my Father-in-Law’s ‘big’ birthday, I was keen to design something that wasn’t overly feminine-looking, but still had a bit of wow to it. Clean lines, chic colour scheme, unfussy. I decided that this 8″ vanilla sponge should be covered in burgundy sugarpaste (I used Sattina to get the deep wine colour I was looking for without the hassle of mixing it myself) and I’d decorate it with black Cake Lace and a monochrome cake topper, which would feature a photo of the birthday boy himself printed onto a sheet of icing.
Cake Lace is the brainchild of Claire Bowman, and since it burst onto the cake design scene a couple of years ago, it’s spread like wildfire. There are now loads of moulds available from a wide range of companies, and pre-mixed ‘lace’ in a whole host of colours. Just type ‘cake lace’ into Pinterest to get a sense of the variety of looks you can achieve with this stuff. *Mind Blown*.
All of the tutorials I found on this stuff suggested it couldn’t be easier to create amazing, edible lace…and they were RIGHT! Okay, so the main things I learned:
- The paste itself is quite sticky and takes a bit of getting used to, but 5 mins of messing around with it is plenty.
- You don’t need a special tool to spread it into the mould. I managed just fine with a butter knife and a paddling motion.
- You do need to be SUPER careful to remove all of the excess paste from the raised parts of the mould. One sweep of your knife just won’t cut it (excuse the pun, ha!) – work in small areas and be methodical or your lace won’t have any gaps in it.
- It dries SLOWLY. On my first try, I spread it into the mould before I left for work (it really is a 5 minute job), whopped it into the airing cupboard and thought it would be done when I got it out again 10 hours later. Not so. You might think it’s done, but trust me, it’s not. Leaving it overnight (12 hours +) made all the difference to how easy it was to peel out of the mould and avoided any ‘stretching’ of the finished lace.
- It really is unbreakable. Once out of the mould, you can throw this stuff around and cut it with scissors very easily, which makes for a very easy, stress-free and fast transfer of the lace onto the cake (just brush some water onto your cake first and you’re away).
I made my lace a week or so ahead of time and stored each section in greaseproof paper until I needed it, but I’ve heard it will last up to 3 months when stored this way. I only wish I’d known about this stuff when I was designing my wedding cake. Minimum effort, maximum impact – yes, please.
My only word of warning is that its rubbery nature means it doesn’t cut very cleanly. On my cake, the knife ‘pushed’ it down the side of the cake into a scrunched heap, rather than slicing through it. Not a problem for a family birthday cake, but you might care about this kind of thing if you’re designing wedding cakes.
One final twist. I decided since the exterior design of the cake was minimalist, it was crying out for a fussy ‘inside’. I am beginning to think that there is no cake out there that doesn’t benefit from a bit of ombré. I tinted my four layers from the palest pink to the darkest wine colour to match its ‘coat’. It does take longer when cakes are tinted different colours since they all have to be baked separately (as opposed to one or two cakes cut into layers), but Wowowowow. Amiright?