Left Cake-8" round chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream frosting, powdered sugar
Right Cake-8" round white cake, buttercream frosting, cinnamon
Techniques Used-Basketweave, Shell Border, Stencil
Stenciling cakes is one fairly easy way to spice up a cake. It can be really intricately patterned or one big icon (as above). I know Wilton and other cake decorating companies have different stencils, and I figure you can probably buy regular stencils as long as they haven't been used for other things and are cleaned. The ones above of the treble clef and bass clef aren't store bought, and you may be hard pressed to find them. I will let you know how I made these after I explain stenciling.
Stenciling Materials-stencil; fine mesh sieve; powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or spice (left cake has powdered sugar, right cake has cinnamon)
Stenciling-I recommend waiting to put on your top border until after you've stenciled your design. It is possible (but harder) to stencil after the border is on there. I also recommend practicing on another surface before trying the cake, especially if this is your first time.
1. Lightly place the stencil where desired, making sure it isn't going to move. Be sure to wait until the frosting is slightly dry (put it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so), otherwise the frosting will stick to the stencil.
2. Hold your fine mesh sieve directly above the stencil anywhere between 4 and 12 inches from the cake. Pour a little bit of powdered sugar (or whatever you're using) into the sieve and shake the sieve up and down lightly (a light bouncing movement). Don't worry about the sugar "leaking" under the stencil; as long your stencil is flat to the cake and you're shaking up and down instead of side to side, the sugar will just fall straight down. Repeat this until you have a fairly thick and even layer of sugar.
3. Lift the stencil very carefully and evenly. Try and lift as smoothly as possible to avoid sugar from falling onto the cake. You're done!
Making Your Own Stencil
Materials-Xacto knife, manila folder (or something hard and can easily be cut), pen
1. Draw design on Manila folder. As you are drawing it, try to imagine where the holes will be to make sure that you don't accidentally cut off inner portions of your design. For example, on the treble clef (left cake), there is a little break on the top portion so that the inner circle wouldn't get cut off later. Also, the straight line going down the right side wouldn't normally have little breaks either.
2. Use the Xacto knife and carefully cut the folder. Once that's done, you can start stenciling on the cake!
These cakes were decorated May 2010.