One might think that piping consistent lines on cakes is an easy task. After all, its just straight lines, and how difficult can that be?
Well, that was what I always thought until the day I held a piping bag and tried to pipe straight lines on my cake. Let me tell you, it is not so easy unless you have had enough practice and you know the techniques.
This post is not about how to get straight lines on cakes, but rather, how to pipe consistent lines on cakes. What exactly do I mean by consistent straight lines? Well, see the bottom tier of this snowflakes wedding cake?
The dark blue vertical lines were piped all around the cake tier and the space between each tier is consistently same. It's not easy to achieve this without some form of guide unless one is a pro at piping work.
I am definitely not a pro and so definitely needed some guide to get the consistent lines on my cake.
Using my snowflakes wedding cake as an example, I have created the tutorial below to show you the technique I used in piping the consistent vertical lines all around my cake tier.
First of all, I covered my cake in fondant and smoothed the edges just like I would for all my fondant covered cakes. And then I measured and marked tiny lines all around the tier as a guide for me to pipe the icing lines.To measure and mark the lines, I started by placing my fondant covered cake tier right in the center of my fondant rolling mat. The one I have here is by Wilton and this mat was particularly useful for this technique as it has dividing lines all around, making it extremely easy for me to identify halves and quarters on my cake. If you do not have this mat and do not wish to purchase one, you can always make one your self either by using a large grease proof or parchment paper and marking the lines on the paper before putting your cake on it for guide. I tried searching for this mat on Amazon so that I could provide a purchasing link here in case anyone is interested, but it looks like Wilton is not producing this anymore. I did find another one that has guiding lines like the one I have and you can check it out here.
Once I was sure the cake was appropriately centered on the mat, I used 2 long strands of normal sewing thread and taped the ends on the opposite sides of the rolling mat, on the dividing lines of the mat as shown below. In doing this, I made sure the thread was running over the center of the cake.
And the 2 strands were taped such that they cross each other at the centre of the cake.
Using my pointed fondant shaping tool, I marked the center of the cake where the 2 strands of thread met.
And then, using the threads as a guide, I marked the first for lines on the cake. These lines mark the cake into 4 equal quarters. I made the marks on the edges of cake and then on the base of the cake, following the thread as a guide at all times.
This was how I used the thread a guide to mark the base of my cake.
I repeated the marking process by removing the tape and adjusting the thread to the centre of each quarter. And then I marked these lines similar to the ones earlier. The lines on my rolling mat made this process much easier.
This was how my cake looked like after all the marking. See the consistent space between each line? And see also how the top and bottom markings are perfectly aligned in a straight line?
Next in the process was adding similar lines on the cake top. To do this, I used a small stainless steel plate and marked its diameter on the fondant. You can even use a small saucer or cake board for this, it does not really matter, so long at it is round. In choosing the plate, I made sure its diameter was smaller than the diameter of the cake that was going to be stacked on it.
And then, I removed it, and poked in the center of the cake, a wooden skewer with a strand of thread tied to it.
And then I straightened the thread towards the lines I made earlier on the cake edges.
I straightened it towards the lines on the cake edge, one line at a time. And as I straighten it line by line, I use the thread as a guide to mark the center of the cake.
This was how the cake center looked like once all the markings have been added. With that, the marking process was done. I have made marks on the top of the cake, its edges and its base. And each of the marks on the top of the cake are perfectly and consistently aligned to the lines on the edges and the base of the cake. The reason I did not start the markings on the cake top right in the center of the cake itself is because it was going to be stacked with another cake and therefore, there was no need to pipe from the center. The icing was not going to show once the cakes were stacked.
And after the marking process, next step was the piping itself. Using the marks as guide, I was able to pipe the lines consistently all around the cake.
And that was my technique of piping consistent lines on cakes.
Hope this was useful. This was how the finished cake looked like. I have a full decorating guide for this snowflakes wedding cake and you can learn more about it here.
Happy Decorating :)
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