This post will show you how to create this simple yet very effective decoration for the sides of your cakes.
I used it on a recent 40th birthday cake and it looked great.
You will need:
Med/lge rolling pin
Plastic sheet or stay fresh mat
Ribbon cutting wheel (not essential – just time saving)
Bobble head pins
Clear alcohol such as gin
Stitching effect tool
Set square/square cake card
Cubes of foam or polystyrene for support if needed
Marking the cake side
This should be done after covering your cake with marzipan or ganache. If you do not wish to do this I would recommend a cover of sugarpaste (fondant) before applying your ribbons. If you use ganache you will need to find a suitable way of marking it once it has hardened.
- Decide how wide you want your ribbon lengths to be. Generally the bigger the tier, the larger the ribbon. On an 8” cake tier I would usually go for a width of 1 1/2″. On a 12” cake for example I would go for a width of 2”.
- You need to mark where the lengths will be placed. Keep in mind that you need an overlap when you place the lengths on the cake.
- I have decided on ribbon lengths of 1 1/2″ wide.
- Wrap a tape measure around the base of your cake (I have one which is only used for cake stuff) and pin it gently in place. Using a bobble head pin mark out intervals at 1 1/2″ (starting from the back of the cake) until you get all the way around the cake. You will probably find that you will not get every interval to be the same size. When you get to the back of your cake where you started you may need to leave a smaller section which can be finished with a smaller strip.
- Once you have marked the intervals on the cake, remove the measure.
- Using your set square or square cake card mark vertical lines through every pin prick with an edible pen (don’t use a bright colour as it may bleed and show through light sugarpaste). Alternatively you can scribe your lines.
Cutting the strips
- Roll out a large strip of sugarpaste app 14″ x 5″. This should be app 3 – 4 mm thick. If it is too thin it will be wobbly at the top end and if too thick the finish will be clumpy.
- Assemble the ribbon wheel so that the strips you cut will be app 1/4″ wider than the sections you have marked on the cake. You can do this by simply holding the ribbon wheel up to the sections.
- Cut out several sections and put them aside under a stay fresh mat of plastic sheet
Attaching the strips
- Take your first strip and ensure the bottom edge is at a right angle with the longer length so that when you apply it to the cake it will be vertical.
- Measure the length you want. I made mine long enough to sit above the top of the cake to make the cake look a little taller. Do not make your strips too long as it will be difficult to support them while they dry.
- Smooth & flatten the long side of the strip on the right hand side (left of you are left handed and working the other way around). this is to prevent a ridge forming where the next strip overlaps.
- Using a stitching effect wheel, create a line of stitches along the opposite long side.
- Brush a little clear alcohol onto the cake (if you brush onto the strip you will get very sticky fingers).
- Place the first strip on the cake, lining up the flattened edge with the vertical line as pictured. Remember to start at the back of your cake. If you have one smaller/larger strip as mentioned earlier leave this til the end to fill in.
- If your strips do not sit more than 1 1/2 cm above the top of the cake you should not need to support them while they dry. As you add more ribbon lengths the wall of strips will become stronger and self supporting as shown in the left hand picture below.
- As you add the strips you should check every so often that they are vertical. Do this using a set square or small square cake card. Lay one side on the cake drum and check that the edges of the ribbon strips line up with the vertical side.
- Remember to brush a little glue on each flattened length above the top of the cake to stick the next strip at the top end.
- Continue this process until you get back to where you started.
- At this point you will probably need to fill the last section with a smaller/larger strip which has the stitching effect along both edges.