Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cake Stencils are Awesome!

I love "Designer Stencils" a bunch. My current favorite is the mod flower because it gives the cake a sophisticated texture which seems to be a hot button with my brides. There is a display cake in my shop with this stencil and I swear that is why it keeps being picked. Here are a couple of my  "pearls of  wisdom" on stencils. First, you can absolutely use them on buttercream IF you use butter based icing that you can get cold/hard in the fridge. Sometimes I even but the tier in the freezer for 15 minutes so that it's super cold. Just go straight to the work when you take it out of the cold so that it doesn't get a layer of condensation because then the icing won't stick. I have bought some stencil holding "kit" but it was just two book clamps and some stretchy gauze. I found that it did more harm than good, so I don't use it. I sometimes use a corsage pin through the hanging hole and hold the other end with my fingers. Using a small angled spatula, I put on a clump of buttercream and spread it down the stencil. Once you get icing on the end your hand is holding you won't have to keep holding it down. I then used a plastic, cheap, dough scraper and take of most of the icing. You have to be consistent with the "thickness" or "depth" of the stencil icing or you will have really high sections and some barely there at all. That looks bad so it's a good habit to chose how you like the depth and be consistent. While the stencil is still attached, I airbrush the entire stencil with luster dust. Remove the stencil from one side first, scrape off the leftover airbrushed icing to throw away, wash and dry the stencil for the next section. Sometimes you are going to have some areas that "bleed" under the stencil. Just clean them up with a stiff paint brush (and soft to blend) after you have chilled the cake back up.

My next tip is to stencil the tiers before you stack them. If you want the design at the top of the cake you can raise the cake by placing cake boards/drums under the cake until you get the perfect height. That's a good reason to keep cardboard singles for just the right height. Don't forget to use shelf liner/grip so the doesn't slip when you are stenciling. When doing the cake pictured, I saved the bottom tier until last and then I had to trim the "extra" off the bottom so that it could be flush. I think the hardest part of this cake was the caulking the tiers so that there was no borders. I took out some of the stenciling, but I couldn't help it. The very best idea is to talk the customer into a ribbon border (fondant or real). It gives you lots of material to hide the union of the tiers.

Closeup of Stencil...  It adds so much detail and texture!

Just remember that every cake is going to have a backside. Seams won't match up perfectly. Just blend and love on it so that it's not so apparent. That's all you can do, so don't worry about it. It's just cake :)

Don't forget about the height. Lots of stencils are only 4" tall and I make 5" tall or taller cakes. Luckily some stencils are taller, so focus on those to buy if you make tall tiers too! If you really want to use a skinny stencil, allow for the width of your ribbon border and measure. Cut the cake shorter so that the stencil isn't a weird band looking thing, unless that's the look you are going for :)

One note about the cake featured above.  When I got to the venue, the "florist" left me a bucket of flowers the looked like the trash at the bottom of the boxes. Real Junk! I had to make it work but I don't have to be happy about it. The poppies were squished and mostly closed. The blue things were prickly! Sorry, had to get that jewel off my chest.

Do you have any tips on cake stenciling? Please share them with us in the comments so we can all be better decorators!


  1. Wow - it is perfect. I still don't know how you stack your buttercream cakes so perfectly: seamfree, perfectly centered and so level.

  2. Its perfect wedding cake for me, hopefully soon I can have this in My wedding :)

    cakes bakery in Brooklyn


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