Adding intricate details to a cake can be tough and time consuming. But thanks to tools such as cake stencils, the process is made easier. To this end, learning how to use cake stencils is of great value to every cake decorator.
Cake stencils are just like the regular stencils that artists use. The only difference is that they are made with food safe materials and not as rigid as wall stencils.
There are different types and designs of cake stencils. They can be delineated by material of manufacture or size.
Most popular materials of manufacture are plastic/acrylic or mesh and sizes are usually small surface designs and large surface designs.
How To Use Cake Stencils – Tools and Ingredients/Mediums Needed
The under- listed are the basic tools need to use cake stencils. So before you embark on learning how to use cake stencils, go buy these tools if you don’t have them.
Cake Stencils (obviously lol)
A ruler or good icing scraper
Toothpicks or Acupuncture needles
How To Use Cake Stencils – Different Methods and Medium
How To Use Cake Stencil With Royal Icing
You can use cake stencils with royal icing. This works best on fondant covered cakes and cookies.
When using royal icing and cake stencil for a fondant covered cake, you need royal icing with a thick but spreadable consistency. If you use runny royal icing, the icing would seep away from the design and smudge the cake or cookie.
If you want to use royal icing and cake stencil on a buttercream cake, you might need some fondant cutouts. On the other hand, you can still use a cake stencil on buttercream but you have to be extra careful. We would discuss that extensively later in this article.
Steps to Use Cake Stencils With Royal Icing on Cake
(i) Cover your cake with fondant and let it sit until the fondant dries. This would ensure that the surface of the cake would not be dented in the process of the stenciling.
(ii) Prepare your royal icing to the right consistency (thick but spreadable). Color as desired.
(iii) Using your fingertips, apply some shortening to the surface to be stenciled.
(iv) Place the stencil on the surface; ensuring that it is well placed with no bumps and twists.
(v) Secure to the cake stencil with the acupuncture needles. Go over the cake stencil with a fondant smoother. This would further help the cake stencil to adhere to the surface of the cake.
(vi) Then using the offset spatula, apply the royal icing. Ensure that all the crevices are covered. Use your icing scraper to scrap off the excess icing from the surface of the cake stencil.
(vii) Finally, remove the acupuncture needles and carefully lift off the cake stencil from the cake.
(viii) If your cake stencil doesn’t cover the whole cake at once, ensure that one application dries before you start on another side. This would prevent any smudging or accident on the first application.
Using Cake Stencils For Cookies
Using a cake stencil and royal icing to decorate cookies is pretty much easy.
(i) One method is to just place the stencil on the cookie and gently spread the royal icing over it. Then scrape off the excess before lifting off the stencil.
(ii) The second method is to roll out fondant and cut out a round shape to cover the top of the cookie. Next place the stencil on the cut out fondant and follow method (i).
The best stencils to use for cookies are the small individual sized ones. Also note that you can decorate cookies with all the following methods and mediums that would be discussed in this article.
The accompanying video would give you a visual explanation of what we just detailed above:-
How To Use Cake Stencils On A Buttercream Cake
Stenciling on a buttercream coated cake requires the same techniques as stated above. However, there are some precautions that must be taken to ensure that it would come out well.
The following are some precautionary measures:-
(i) Ensure that the buttercream coated cake is well crusted. You achieve this by leaving the cake in the fridge for at least an hour. Then lightly touch the surface of the cake to ensure that there’ll be no smudges when you start working on it.
(ii) Do not press the cake stencil as hard as you would if you were working on a fondant covered cake.
(iii) Pipe the buttercream over the stencil first before scrapping away the excess icing.
(iv) Trim the sharp edges of your cake stencil so that they would not dig into the surface of your cake.
(v) Always wash the cake stencil after each application. This would help you achieve sharper details with each application.
How To Use Cake Stencils – Using Edible Luster Dust
Edible luster dust is also a great medium to use on cake stencils. You can either use them dry or wet.
Stenciling With Dry Edible Dust
(i) Always allow your fondant to dry to avoid smudges and dents on the surface.
(ii) Use your fingertips to apply vegetable shortening on the surface of the cake. Then attach the cake stencil as described in the royal icing method.
(iii) Go over the cake stencil with vegetable shortening again.
(iv) Then using a blush brush apply the edible dust. When you dip the whole surface of the brush into the edible luster dust, always ensure that you shake off the excess. If you don’t, you would have too much edible dust on the cake stencil and the design would be smudgy.
(v) After covering all the designs on the cake stencil, ensure that you clean off all the excesses on the stencil before lifting it off the cake.
(vi) Another method is to go over your dry fondant cover cake with a steamer before attaching the cake stencil on the cake. Then follow step (iv) and (v).
Stenciling With Wet Edible Dust
(i) For this method, you need edible spirit to liquefy the edible dust. Ensure that the consistency is not too thin or thick. The right consistency is that of a liquid gel paste food color.
(ii) Test the paste on a piece of fondant before you apply it on a larger surface area on your cake.
(iii) Then using a small cake decorating brush, paint over the patterns on the cake stencil. Ensure that it doesn’t seep underneath the cake stencil. That is the reason why your cake stencil has to be tight and flush against the surface you’ll be stenciling.
(iv) A second method is to add piping gel to the liquefied edible dust. Then follow the steps for stenciling with royal icing.
See how this second method works in this video. Remember that you have to let one section dry first before applying the second section.
The first method of using a stencil with liquefied luster dust also works with gel paste food color.
How To Use Cake Stencils – Using Icing Sugar or Cocoa Powder
This medium is best used for cakes that are covered in buttercream. If you want to use icing sugar or cocoa powder to stencil, you’ll not allow the buttercream to freeze completely. It is ready to be used once it forms a crust that wouldn’t stick to the cake stencil. You can spritz a little water on the surface it’s too dry. Only ensure that the cake stencil would not stick on the cake.
If you want to use this method on a fondant covered cake, it is either you apply vegetable shortening on the surface of the cake or you steam the cake slightly.
(i) Place the cake stencil on the cake and just sprinkle the icing sugar or cocoa powder over it.
(ii) Carefully wipe off the excess icing sugar or cocoa powder from the cake stencil.
(iii) Gently lift off the cake stencil from the surface of the cake or cookie.
This method is best used for the top of cakes, cookies and other baked goods.
There’s so much more you can do with cake stencils. This piece is just a brief summary. Click here to read our article on cake stencils. You would learn a whole lot more from it.
Finally, this last video has some great tips and hacks that would help you as you learn how to use cake stencils.