Cake decorating has many facets and techniques; one of them is sugar veil or sugar lace. Many new cake decorators always ask how to make cake lace but the correct and more popular term for this decorative piece is edible sugar lace.
What is cake lace?
Cake lace is edible decoration that is used to decorate cakes, cupcakes and some baked goods such as cookies. The ingredients used to make cake lace are such as you can find in your cake decorating ingredient pantry. These ingredients include:- icing sugar, tylose powder ,glucose and food coloring.
Cake lace is in the class of fondant applique and the likes. The difference is that it is more delicate and usually thinner than those other appliques and fondant decorations. Click here to read this article on cake stencils; it would help you understand the difference better.
In learning how to make sugar lace for your cake, you have to understand several things. These include the ingredients needed, tools required, how long it takes to make it and the different ways it can be used.
This article would give you some insight into all of the above and also how to make cake lace or rightly edible sugar lace.
How To Make Cake Lace – Ingredients and Tools Needed For Edible Sugar Lace
To create edible sugar lace for your cakes, you need the following:-
Food Color (white or any color of your choice.
These are ingredients needed if you want to make the cake lace paste from scratch. However, you can buy ready to use sugar lace mix.
How To Make Cake Lace – Recipes For Cake Lace Paste
Following are 3 simple recipes for making cake lace. We are confident that one of these recipes would come in handy for you to create stunning edible sugar lace:-
1 Tablespoon Tylose Powder
¼ Cup Boiling water
1 Tablespoon Icing sugar
2 Tablespoon Cornstarch
½ Teaspoon Liquid Glucose
White food color or any other color of your choice
Instructions For Preparation
(i) Pour the boiling water into a small mixing bowl and sprinkle the tylose powder into it. Then mix vigorously with a fork until the mixture is clear.
(ii) Add the cornstarch and icing sugar and mix until well combined.
(iii) Finally, add the liquid glucose and a drop of the food color and mix until thoroughly combined.
(iv) Store in an airtight container until you are ready to use it.
This recipe was adapted from https://veenaazmanov.com/homemade-edible-sugar-lace-recipe/
1 Teaspoon Tylose Powder
1 Tablespoon and 1 Teaspoon of Boiling Water
2 Teaspoon Royal Icing
A drop of White Gel Color
Instruction For Preparation
(i) Follow Step one of recipe #1
(ii) Add the royal icing and mix well.
(iii) Then add the white coloring and mix well too.
(iv) Store in an airtight container until needed.
3 Tablespoon Water
I Tablespoon Gelatin
I Teaspoon Glycerin
Instructions For Preparation
(i) Place the water in a small mixing bowl
(ii) Sprinkle the gelatin over it and leave it to sit for about 5 minutes. This would allow the gelatin to set.
(iii) Next place the gelatin in the microwave for a few seconds at a time until the gelatin is fully dissolves and is clear.
(iv) Finally add the glycerin and food color and mix well. Leave to cool completely before use.
This recipe is best used immediately and note that the lace it would be different from that made with the first two recipes.
It would also work best for lace that you intend to paint before using.
How To Make Cake Lace – Using The Sugar Lace Paste
There are actually a number of methods that are used in making sugar lace. I would share one method with you here and also drop a video that would give you more insight on how to make cake lace.
Spread the Paste
(i) If you are using a paste that you made beforehand, mix it very well until you get a smooth consistency
(ii) Ensure that your place mat is free of dirt of any kind. It is best to use silicone lace mat.
(iii)Using a spatula, spread the sugar lace paste over the mat. Then with an icing scraper, smooth the paste over the mat as thinly as possible, making sure that all the crevices in the mat are covered. Remove excess paste.
(iv) Place the mat on an oven tray and put in an oven preheated to about 150 degrees for about 5 minutes.
(i) Bring out the mat and apply a second coating. At this point you can either place the mat back in the oven for another 10 – 15 minutes or leave out to air dry. Air drying can take up to 5 hours. But leaving overnight works best especially in humid regions.
(ii) Test whether the lace is dry by tapping with your finger; if it is still sticky then it needs more drying time. Also try lifting it off from the edges of the mat. If it pulls up freely then it’s dry but if not, give it a little time in the oven (if you are using an oven to dry) or leave it out a little bit longer if you are air drying.
(iii) Store between parchment papers and place in an airtight container. This would preserve the sugar lace for a long time.
Expert Tips On How To Make Cake Lace
The following are tips that would help you avoid a lot of pitfalls when making your sugar lace:-
Drying The Sugar Lace
Drying your cake lace is a huge factor in the process of making cake lace; so check out these tips:-
(i) In drying your sugar lace, you have to look at the instructions on the mix that you use. That’s actually why we advocate that you start out with a ready to use mix. But in a situation where you cannot get the ready to use mix, then feel free to try out one of these recipes.
(ii) Making cake lace or sugarveil requires a lot of patience. It is not something you do in a rush. Just as with anything in life, your first try might not turn out well. Experiment with recipes. Watch the drying time and temperature (do not use high temperature).
One trick to getting the drying time right is to check it every 2 minutes. Don’t leave it in the oven for more than two minutes apart without checking it.
(iii) The gelatin recipe dries quite fast and can tend to be brittle that’s why we add the glycerin. But however, depending on the humidity of your region, you might need to reduce or increase the quantity.
(iv) Furthermore on the issue of humidity; this can affect the drying time of your sugar lace. If you live in a region with high humidity, it might be best to use the oven to dry your sugar lace. Thereafter, store them immediately. Do not leave them out or else they’ll get soggy.
Creating Flexible Sugar Lace
(i) The flexibility of your sugar lace depends on how thickly/thinly you lay it on. It is best to spread it as thin as possible while filling all the crevices of the design. The thinner the spread, the more flexible the lace would be. That would furthermore make it easier to peel out.
(ii) Some cake decorators argue that adding gel color to the cake lace mix increases its flexibility. This means that your finished product would be less brittle. We always add gel color to our cake lace mix and our finished product is usually flexible.
Note however, that gel color may not be the only factor that would affect the flexibility of your finished product. You have to experiment to know the extent to which this assertion is true.
Accentuate Your Cake Lace
(i) You can accentuate your sugar lace by dusting with petal dust or painting with edible glitters or shimmering colors.
(ii) Some decorators have been known to use sugar lace for trims and ruffles. Bear in mind however, that sugar lace is delicate and has to be handled with care. That being said, sugar lace make great embellishments for delicate feminine cake designs.
(iii) Sugar lace can also be accentuated with crystals, beads and other edible fondant cake decorating ornaments. You don’t have to limit the use of your sugar lace. They are actually very versatile decorating elements that can serve many purposes.
How To Handle Brittle Sugar Lace
There are several ways to handle brittle sugar lace and they include the following:-
(i) Leaving it out for a while – If you discover that your sugar lace is brittle, you can leave them out for a few hours. The humidity in the air would introduce some moisture to it and soften it. Conversely, you can steam the lace a little. This is a dicey step because too much moisture would make it soggy. So just steam slightly in increments until you get the flexibility needed.
(ii) Making two coats – Some decorators swear by making the sugar lace in two thin coats. They believe that if you apply the two thin coats an hour apart and then leave to air dry overnight, you’ll get a perfect sugar lace. Well this depends on the humidity in your region or kitchen; but there’s no harm in trying.
This video below shows you one method that you can use to make cake lace. This method is pretty easy and straightforward.
How To Make Cake Lace – Conclusion
Cake lace, sugarveil or edible sugar lace; whichever name you know it by is fine. True it can be frustrating when you first start learning how to make cake lace. But the key to perfection is patience and constant practice.
Do not wait until you get an order that calls for cake lace before you learn or practice how to make cake lace. Work on it before you ever need it.
In addition to the information in this post, we have many great articles that would give you more insights into cake decoration; check out some of them below:-
- Wedding Cake Ornaments – Fad or Passion?
- Cake Stencils –Create Stunning Effects
- Sugar Flowers – Using the Right Tools
- Cake Airbrush Kit: A Beginner’s Guide
- Wedding Cake Stand – Elegant Cake Display
- Cake Paints: A World of Possibilities
How To Make Cake Lace – FAQs
How Do You Make Gold Cake Lace?
There are three ways of making gold cake lace and they are adding the gold dust directly to the mix, airbrushing the cake lace or painting it with edible gold paint.
To color from scratch, add the gold dust when you are making the mix. Ensure that you mix in the color very well until there are no lumps in the sugar lace mix.
If you want to airbrush or paint on the gold color, you have to make the lace first. When the lace is dry and you remove it from the lace mat, you then go ahead to airbrush or paint. Be careful about moisture especially if you decide to paint the edible lace; allow the lace to dry properly before handling so that it wouldn’t tear.
How Do You Use Lace Mold On Cakes?
Lace molds or lace mats as they are more commonly called can be used for different patterns and designs on cakes. The decorations made with lace mats (sugar lace) make cakes have that realistic look.
The patterns are usually thin and delicate. One of the things you can use them for is to replicate the pattern on a wedding dress. That is why many cake decorators love to use lace mats for wedding cakes.
Lace molds can come in handy for making decorations for Cakes, cookies or cupcakes for events such as a tea party. You would be able to create the effect of a place mat or doily on the baked goods.
All you need to do is moisten the sugar lace created with the lace mold a little with water and then attach it to the cake.
What Does Cake Lace Taste Like?
Cake lace has that sweet saccharine kind of taste; it tastes mostly like sweeteners or sugar substitutes. This is because of the ingredients used in making it. Unlike fondant, although it is edible, it is usually removed before cutting any cake that it is used on. This is not only because of the not too pleasant ‘sweet’ taste but also because it would not allow you to get neat slices from your cake if left on while cutting the cake.
How Do You Decorate A Cake With Edible Lace?
There are many ways in which you can decorate a cake with edible lace. Here are some ideas to jumpstart your imagination:-
Use it for borders:- when you make your edible lace, you can trim off some parts to use for your cake borders
Create ruffles, flowers, bows and ribbons:- you can use edible lace to create ruffles, bows and ribbons with edible lace. Then place them at strategic points on your cake.
Use it to cover the middle of the cake- You can also wrap edible lace around the middle of your cake. This makes beautiful and classy designs; it comes in handy when you do not want too many elements on your cake.
Can You Put Sugar Lace On Buttercream?
You can definitely put sugar lace on buttercream as long as you have allowed the buttercream to crust. Allowing buttercream to crust ensures that you do not smudge your cake while attaching the sugar lace.
So after your buttercream has crusted, moisten the sugar lace a little bit, and then attach the sugar lace to the cake.
Make sure that every part of the sugar lace is properly moisten; do not apply too much water or else you would damage the sugar lace. One sure way of getting the right moisture level is by dipping a very small paint brush in water and shaking it off before using it on the sugar lace.
How Do You Make Buttercream Lace?
You cannot use buttercream to make cake lace (sugarveil or edible sugar lace). But you can use buttercream and a cake stencil to achieve a lace effect on your cake. This effect is best achieved on fondant covered cake.
Here are the simple steps to follow to make buttercream lace:-
Cover your cake with fondant and leave to dry for a sometime. This is so that the surface of your cake would not be dented when you apply the stencil.
Next pin your stencil to the cake and apply the buttercream. Check out this article on cake stencils for more details.
How Long Does Edible Lace Last?
Edible lace can last as long as 6 months. Yes; as long as they are properly stored. To ensure that your edible lace retains its color and structure for as long as 6 months, you have to store them in an airtight container. Place this container in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
The reason why it is not good to be left wherever there is light is that the color would fade. So one great spot would be in a dark corner in your pantry(provided it is not humid in there).
Humidity is one factor that would not allow your edible lace to last long. Refer to our article on how to store fondant decorations for more details on this subject.
How Do You Color Cake Lace?
You can color cake lace by either adding the color while mixing the paste or coloring after making the lace.
To color after making the lace, you can either airbrush the lace or paint. If you want to paint the lace after it been made, ensure that it is properly dry first. This would prevent it from tearing when you handle it. Then use edible spirit to liquefy your color dust and then go ahead and paint the lace.
It is recommended that you use edible dust with alcohol instead of regular food coloring. This is because the moisture in food coloring can make your edible lace soggy. The alcohol in edible dust on the other hand would evaporate leaving the lace as dry as it was before you painted it.
Why Is My Sugar Lace Brittle?
One of the major reasons why sugar lace would get brittle is if left too long in the oven. Each recipe of sugar lace has its methods and how long it is required to be baked or left to dry.
Whenever you are using a different brand of sugarveil mix than the one you are familiar with, ensure that you follow the instructions strictly at first. After you have gotten a hang of the way the particular brand works, you can then proceed to experiment if you choose to.
We have already written extensively about how to handle brittle sugar lace; refer to it for more info.
How Do You Mix Cake Lace?
Every cake lace mix comes with instructions on how to mix it properly. The secret to getting the best of each brand is to ensure that you follow the instructions of the maker to the T. These instructions would help you to get the right consistency and also how long it should be baked or left to air dry.
Some cake lace mix can be mixed easily while others require a longer mixing time. Similarly, some mixes require more water than others so do not take any brand for granted (do not assume that you already know how to mix cake lace). Always read the mixing instructions.