How To Do Beautiful Filigree Icing Work
The delicate, lacy designs you see on cakes is filigree icing work. This is made with a creamy consistency royal icing that is positioned on the cake after it dries.
Shown here is a very simple, hand-drawn pattern that can be tucked beneath the top cake border. If you are placing them sporadically, there's no need to measure. But, if you would like the filigree work to run continuously around the cake, measure the cake's circumference with a string. Decide how many designs you want to make and divide the measurement equally by that number, so all the designs are the same size. Keep in mind,these must be handled carefully, and they won't curve around a round cake. You are better off creating many smaller designs so they will gracefully hug the edge of the cake without a problem.
Once you know how big to make your filigree icing design, mark the correct measurements on graph paper. Draw your design to that width. Make a few of them. When creating a pattern, all lines must be connecting to give the completed design the strength to hold together. Unconnected lines will just pop off.
Tape the graph paper down to a baking pan. Tape wax paper on top. Use a small tip, such as #1, to trace each design in royal icing. As you complete the set of patterns you've drawn, move the wax paper over to make another set.Make a few extra designs in case of breakage.
Drying time can vary according to humidity. (Royal icing doesn't dry well in humid conditions).Try testing them after 1 hour. If the design bends, it's still wet.
When dry, carefully peel the wax paper back from the filigree icing design to remove it. It can break easily, so handle with care.
Cornelli lace is both an elegant and clever technique. When a cake surface is less than perfect, it does a great job of masking the imperfections.
Cornelli lace can be made in either royal icing or buttercream on the surface of the cake. If you create a pattern to place on the cake, royal icing is preferable.
Use tip #1 to draw curves, starting from a point where the icing is touching something else, like a border. The curves bend continuously around in all directions, but the lines never touch. Hold the pastry bag at a 45 degree angle, squeezing with continuous pressure, and without lifting the tip off of the cake. Finish the design in the same fashion as it began.
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