Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ruffle Wedding Cake Tutorial

I had a request for a wedding cake that had little ruffles applied to the cake upside down, which makes them fall away from the cake and gives a pretty, frilly effect.

I had done cakes that had rows of fondant that looked like pleats before, but they all started at the bottom and worked their way up. This one was more ragged-looking and irregular at the top edge, and it looked like the best way to do it would be to use gumpaste to get the thin edge that you'd need.

I didn't want to cover an entire cake with rows of gumpaste, but I also needed to get the ruffled edge thin enough that it did look like fabric, but would also keep its shape.

I decided to use a 50/50 fondant/modeling chocolate combination, since I've done that a bunch of times to cover cakes to make the fondant taste better and give it some extra body. The chocolate in the fondant would also let me roll it out thinner without ripping it.

I iced the cake with buttercream and used a ridged roller to mark vertical guide lines around each tier. I decided to decorate the entire cake stacked, since it was only three tiers and I wanted to see how it looked while it was going together.

I rolled the fondant mix through the pasta roller to a thickness of 2, so that it would be thick enough to handle and frill. I cut it into strips about 3/4" wide, using a straight pizza cutter and a ridged rotary cutter for the frilly edge.

To frill the strips, I used corn starch on the counter and rolled the zigzag edges with a rounded dowel. Don't press on the straight edge since you want the strip to be frilled.

Keep the dowel dry, and wipe it clean with a paper towel if it picks up fondant. I kept sticking it into a container of corn starch to keep it from sticking.

Attach the strips starting at the top of the cake and working your way down. You'll do about 12 strips per tier for a 4" tall tier. You can piece strips together, they don't have to be long enough to go all the way around the cake.

I attached the strips to the cake by piping a line of buttercream at the base of the previous strip, then pressing the next strip onto that. Use the lines that you marked into the tier earlier as a visual guide of where to place the strips so that they're horizontal.

You'll have to play with the frills to make sure that they don't stick to the cake at the top of the strip. Use the pointed end of a craft stick to manipulate them into going where you want them to be. Gravity will help you with this since it will pull the ruffles away from the cake if the top edge isn't stuck to the cake.

When you're done, put a 1/8" band at the base of each tier to make sure the bottom ruffle isn't gapping at the base of the tier.

You can do this with an ombre effect, or with alternating colors of ruffles.  Wider bands will give you fewer rows of ruffles, but will allow you to cover the cake faster.

For a point of reference, this was a 6-9-12" cake, and it took me 3 1/2 hours to do all the ruffles once the cake was assembled and iced. The 6" tier took an hour, but I think that I got faster as I got the routine down.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA


Anonymous said...

I'm curious about where the bride got the idea for the cake. Were you trying to match part of her dress?
Amy S.

Kara said...

It's a popular style now, I think that she just liked the ruffles. Do a googel search for "ruffle wedding cakes" and lots of images will come up.

Kara said...

I meant "google" :)

SweetThingsTO said...

That seems like a lot of work - I love it!

Cathy Leavitt said...

Thanks so much for posting this tutorial. Just received an order for this very cake and wasn't sure what the ruffles were made of. One question... is the band at the bottom of each tier piped on with buttercream or is it a band of the modeling chocolate/fondant mixture? Again thank you.

Kara Buntin said...

Hi, Cathy,

I did the last band at the base of each tier with more of the modelling chocolate so that it would match the ruffles.

Stevie said...

Did you buy or make the modeling chocolate? I have never worked with it before and Im not sure where to get it or how to make it.

Kara Buntin said...

Stevie, you can make it by combining candy melts with corn syrup. Here's my youtube video showing how.

Dawn Ruth said...


Helga said...

Wow!! Am sure going to try this one out!!

Debra Parker AlObeidy said...

I think this could be done with buttercream using a rose tip, as well. What do you think?

Kara Buntin said...

Debra, It could, but it won't look as delicate on the edge of the ruffle. It's a heck of a lot faster, though! Here's a link

Debra Parker AlObeidy said...

Yes, I can see what you mean. Gum Paste rolls out much nicer.

Leandra B. said...

hi, I'm curious. Will this hold up well or do the ruffles tend to shift around? when I've worked with a mixture of modeling chocolate and fondant it does firm up but not as firm or fast as fondant. Is that your experience as well?Thanks for the help! Val.

Kara Buntin said...

It stays put pretty well because as you apply the syptrips they overlap slightly and form a sheet. The candy clay/ fondant mix will set up but it won't be totally brittle.