Oriental String Work
Hope you guys had a good weekend. As promised, here are the progress pictures of my Oriental String work cake.
Royal Icing string work is a very beautiful technique.
The key to a good string is the consistency of your icing. Once you have a good consistency, working with Royal Icing can be a dream but until then it can also turn out to be your worst nightmare. (ask me how I know?)
If your a beginner its best to try Basic String Work first, then move on to more demanding designs.
For Oriental String work you have to Flip the cake over as many times as needed in your design.
You pipe one set of strings, wait for it to dry then flip the cake over and pipe the next set of strings and let that dry too. If needed your repeat the process of flip and pipe as many times as your design requires, giving each process enough time to dry.
Here is my 6″ cake (not a dummy!)
This is my Yellow cake recipe with vanilla Buttercream and homemade fondant/sugar paste recipe.
Next applied second coat of buttercream and covered in Fondant.
In my previous cake, I did not have enough time so I flipped the cake an hour after I covered it with fondant. For this cake, I let the fondant covered cake sit over night and worked on the strings in the morning.
I think it’s best to let the fondant dry over night.
This is Ameri Color Green
I cut a long strip of baking paper the same length of my cake. Made a slight snip at one inch mark and used that as a guide to place my silver degrees / beads with a dab of royal icing. Wait for the beads to dry for at least 15 to 30 mins. or the weight of the strings will drop the beads.
Here’s you can see that I placed the beads in the middle of my cake sides.
(later I changed my mind and re-did them to the top of the sides… just felt it was so boring to do the same thing as the previous cake)
You could do strings on this sides of your cake first before you flip it and then flip the cake over.
I prefer to do it it the other way. Meaning, I prefer to flip the cake first and finish the upside down side first.
I remember, the first time I flipped the cake over, I barely slept that night. I was so afraid that my chocolate pound cake might collapse. I woke up at least five times just to peak and make sure the cake was OK. This time I did it during the day.
I placed a piece of parchment paper the same size as my cake circle, topped by a cake circle.
Then just find some thing high enough so you can work comfortably with.
I used my Crisco container. It’s almost the same size as my cake.
About Royal Icing.
- The consistency of your icing is key to String work.
- When you pipe if you find that your icing is breaking, the first thing to do is check your consistency.
- Pipe a string between too fingers, if it holds itself the icing is good. If not add more powder sugar.
- When making your royal icing use Light Corn Syrup to thin it instead of water. It adds elasticity.
- If your icing curls when you press on the bag it means the icing is too stiff.
- If the icing is too shiny it means the icing is too thin.
- Below show the consistency of Royal Icing I used. as you can see it’s not too stiff neither are the icing peaks falling over too much. It’s just in between and not to shinny.
- The strength of your royal icing is important too. When the icing dries it should crumble into smaller pieces not crush into a powdery mess. So when preparing make sure you do not add too much water in the beginning.
- On the previous cake I used Wilton Tip 1, it looks really beautiful and delicate. This cake had to travel an hour so I decide to use Wilton tip 2 instead.
Start piping the string.
Once you get the icing consistency right… it’s easy.
I explained in detail how to pipe strings when I did my post Basic Icing String work, Please click here to read it.
I think I would make a video of this some day to better show you but right now… ah well. Some day!
Here is my first row of strings. Let dry.
Then the second row. let dry.
After about an hour when it was almost dry, I did something very stupid.
I decided I wanted my strings to stand above the cake not on the sides. So I just plucked the beads and re-did the whole thing thus far again.
Here you can see, I piped the first row of strings with the beads around the top edge of the cake.
And here is my second row of strings.
Not so lucky this time.. had a few extra breakage.. almost 4 or 5 I think.
Next I placed a smaller size bead on the top of the previous bead with royal icings if needed. Just place them over the strings. Do them gently so the strings don’t break.
You could flip the cake, make the next set of strings and then place a bead if you want. That’s what I did on my previous cake.
I left this set of strings to dry for almost three hours before I could flip the cake over.
Since my strings were piped above the cake I did not want to break any strings with my fingers trying to lift the cake. So I flipped the whole cake over with the Crisco itself.
Then just lifted the Crisco, cake circle and parchment paper. Here are my first set of Strings facing upwards.
As you can see, I piped strings all around the cake when I actually needed a small portion open towards the front.
I just played safe in case of breakage. But none broke on this cake as compared to the previous one.
On the previous cake, I had to flip the cake over again because two strings broke.
Now it was time to pipe the bottom set of strings. This is done exactly the same way.
Here is the first row.
Here is the second row. I then placed another bead on this one. Just to hid the string icing work. I think it looks nicer.
And that’s my post on Oriental String Work with Royal Icing.
Here’s the finished cake.
I do hope you learned something. Please feel free to let me know.
Next we will talk about Royal Icing Extension Work.
Thanks for stopping by. Happy cake decorating
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