Monday, 10 June 2013

Piping workshop at Stiletto Studio

Following on from our fondant flower making course, we have once again spent the last three weeks in the company of Becs at Stiletto Studio. This time, the work involved practising different piping techniques to decorate cakes. I discovered that slapping basic buttercream frosting onto a dummy cake speeds things up immensely; it's easy to be reckless when you know nobody's going to eat what you've made!

We began with buttercream piping. After admiring rose frosted cupcakes for years, I was both thrilled and slightly put out to learn that they are incredibly easy to make using exactly the same piping technique I use on my own cupcakes but with a different nozzle. Who knew?! I'm definitely adding this one to my decorating arsenal. I also really liked the 'rope' border, created by piping overlapping S shapes.

Buttercream roses with piped 'rope' border
Next up was royal icing. I've piped numerous chocolate filigrees over the years and that technique is similar with royal icing. This time, we learned how to create a brushed embroidery look by piping an outline in royal icing and using a flat brush to drag the icing inwards. I think using a smaller brush would have resulted in a tidier effect here. The rest of the squiggles ... well, I was running out of time and had plenty of icing left over to use up. ;-)
Brushed embroidery flowers ... and some random squiggles
By request, we learned how to pipe royal icing roses. I actually got the hang of this after a few attempts and can see myself doing it again on my own cakes. There are two different techniques here: one involves making a layer of three petals near the top of a glob of royal icing, then adding five and seven petals beneath in two more layers. The second technique (in the middle) is basically a continuous spiral of icing around the centre that opens further out each time you add another layer underneath. I've grown quite attached to my roses so bought the tip to try making them at home.

Finally, we experimented with different stencils. Basically, the technique resembles slapping on concrete and smoothing it with a darby. I think it will work better on fondant than buttercream as I found the layers of buttercream stuck to each other, leaving a messier finish. Also, stencilling or decorating onto the side of a cake is not as easy as it looks!
Stencilled peacock feather with royal icing roses
Thanks Becs for lots more learning and laughter. I'm now dreaming of cake designs and getting really excited about planning all the cakes I'll make for upcoming special occasions!

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