My video about making strings of isomalt or fondant beads is here:
Now we'll see how to put these onto a buttercream cake without ripping it apart. I did this cake a while back, and it took me about an hour and a half to assemble it at the venue because putting strings of beads on buttercream isn't as simple as putting them on fondant.
The strings will press into the edges of the tiers, and will slide off the cake and take all the icing out on the way down. So you have to get tricky and rig it so that they won't go anywhere.
To do this, I use my favorite trick of melting drink stirs with my culinary torch and bending them into a U or a Y shape to use as a clip.
The U is to hold strings against the cake, and the Y is to act as a little rest so that the string doesn't rip the icing. You'll use them in different areas depending on what you need.
And now...Behold the cake. Yes, I spent a whole $2.99 to get one of those nasty little refrigerated cakes from the grocery store since this is a demo and I didn't feel like baking. (I'm actually kind of hoping that this cake wins an award like my other display cake did.) I wanted the top tier to be wider so that the beads would hang down in the empty space.
To keep the beads from sliding off the cake, I started with a skewer inserted into the tier and left sticking out about 1/2".
You can either tie a loop in the string's end, or just wrap the beads around the skewer. Here's a loop:
And here's a wrap:
Either way, just make sure the the end of the string is secure and it isn't sliding off the cake.
Next, determine where your string will go down the cake. See how it digs into the icing? You don't want that.
Life it up and put one of the little Y shapes into the cake. The Y should act as a little holder for the string to keep it from digging into the icing, and the beads on either side of the Y will keep them from sliding down the cake.
Press the beads against the icing to stick them to the cake.
The bottom of the string should rest on the tier below, and the combination of the Y clip plus pressing the string on the icing will keep it all in place.
Place the next strand of beads on the cake and use some of those beads to cover up and hide the Y clip.
Go through the same process with the other strings, then cover the clips with some icing to hide the ones that other strings of beads aren't covering (if you have some overlap).
When you're done all of the strings will be secured and won't have wrecked the icing.
Drape some extra beads over the skewer on the top, or over any visible clips to hide them. Add some more on the flat surfaces on the edge of the tiers, and you're done. And yes, I threw that nasty cake right into the trash after I took the pictures for this post. I tasted some of the icing, and if it was any indication about the rest of it, yuck.
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, online cake supplies at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com