I love using cake decorating stencils they are so quick and easy to use. I first came across culinary stencils in Florida last year at the ICES convention, I saw them being demonstrated and I’ve been hooked ever since. The easiest way to use stencils is on a flat surface, however, once you have practised a few times then you can also stencil on the side of cakes as well.
The secrets of successful stencilling
The first secret is getting your royal icing to the correct consistency. You will need a fairly stiff icing so I suggest you experiment and practice before having a go on your cake.
To use a stencil directly on your cake, board or rolled out modelling paste. Place dollops of royal icing to help hold the stencil in place, then spread the royal icing, using a scraper or pallet knife, evenly over the stencil. Gently pull off the stencil and admire.
Touch up any imperfections with a damp paintbrush. The screenshots above were taken from my wonky celebration cakes DVD, so if you’d like to watch me in action then why not order a copy.
Adjusting the fit of a stencil
Back to the question, it is not uncommon to find that the stencil is not a perfect match for the cake or board which you are trying to decorate. If you are decorating the side of the cake and the stencil will not reach all the way around the cake, you need to allow the first section of stencilled royal icing to dry – usually around 10 minutes or so. Then simply start the next section making sure that the patterns follow on from where you have left off (a bit like matching up the pattern when wallpapering). If you find you have too much stencil for the final section, use masking tape to “block out” the part of the pattern which you do not want to appear.
TIP: Surgical tape can help to fix the stencils in place on the side of the cake when decorating, alternatively another pair of hands is useful.
If your stencil is too large for the top of the cake, then you will need to tape over the part of the pattern which you do not want to appear. On a cake board, like I used in the first example above, you don’t need to mask the area of the stencil not being used.
I hope this helps and that you have as much fun with stencils as I’m currently having!
Selecting stencils to use
This is very much personal choice, dependant on the size of your cake and the patterns that appeal. To see the wonderful array of cake decorating stencils we stock please visit the stencil category in our shop – we have literary hundreds for you to choose from!