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Piped Embroidery on Cakes

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Piped Embroidery on Cakes
Used under Licence from iStock

Embroidery influenced piping designs on cakes can have as many colors and complex designs as the real thread counterparts. Patterns, floral designs or whole pictures can be created using piped icing in the form of stitches. This type of piping can be perfect for cakes inspired by wedding dresses, heirloom fabrics or porcelain. Whimsical, elegant and simply spectacular "embroidered" cakes can easily be part of your repertoire with practice and a bit of planning.

If you are not experienced or familiar with needlework it is a good idea to practice before piping on a cake surface. The basic stitches are relatively simple and composed for the most part of dots, lines, crosses and loops. Combined together the basic stitches can create a stunning cake design.

Transferring the required design onto your cake will require parchment paper and a sharp pin. Create your design on paper or trace it from the inspiration source onto the paper. Cover your cake with fondant, marzipan or even smooth royal icing to the exact finish you wish to have on the finished cake. Press the paper onto the surface of the cake and stick the pin through the paper imprinting the outline of your design. Do not transfer too much of the design or it will become too confusing to pipe in the details. Then remove the paper and pipe your stitches onto the traced design. Stencils can also be a convenient starting point for a piped embroidery design.

Always take the time to organize all your colors of icing like skeins of thread. The icing should be soft enough to pipe easily but firm enough to hold the shape of the lines. Practice on a sheet of paper to ensure the correct consistency. You will have to pipe very close to the cake surface and the icing needs to break off cleanly without forming little tails. To produce a real embroidery effect do not overfill your piping bag because you need to hold it like a pen for control at a 45 degree angle to the cake.

A good strategy when embroidering a cake is to start with the background of the design and layer on the details each section at a time. Real embroidery often has many layers of threads and colors to produce the finished piece. Take the time to look at real needlework for technique and inspiration. Try to pipe your lighter colors over darker and if tiny tails form on your "stitches". If you have these uneven flaws wait until the icing is almost dry and press lightly with your finger to flatten the tails away.

Basic Embroidery Stitches that can be used for cake design can include:

  • Long and Short Stitch
  • Satin Stitch
  • Fishbone Stitch
  • Couching Stitch
  • Chain Stitch
  • Cable Chain Stitch
  • Feather Stitch
  • Herringbone Stitch
  • Fern Stitch
  • Star Stitch
  • Stem Stitch
  • Fly Stitch
  • Running or Double Running Stitch
  • Cross Stitch
  • French knots

This design technique is a gorgeous addition for many kinds of cakes. Cakes destined for baby showers, weddings, birthdays and bridal showers can all be adorned with colorful embroidery influenced designs. This technique can be combined with other design elements like quilting or applique work. The possibilities are really endless for embroidery designs due to the countless resources that exist for needlework enthusiasts. Look online for specific types of patterns and experiment with the different types of needle work to get the look you need. This design effect id perfect for new cake designers because the actual piping is easy. As your skill increases you can match your aptitude level with an appropriate design.

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