Birdcage Cakes with Edible Lace
These vintage birdcage cakes have a lovely romantic feel, don’t they?
One would make a beautiful top tier to a wedding cake.
Don’t analysed that too deeply, though: caged birds might not be the most appropriate symbol to start a marriage …?!
(Perhaps it’s a good thing that wedding cake trends are moving away from fondant, towards buttercream and fresh flowers instead!)
So, while edible lace isn’t quite as trendy as it was a year or two ago, it is still handy to have in your cake-artist arsenal. ( And a big bonus is that it can be made in advance and stored.)
I’ve tried a couple of the commercial lace mixtures, but have had great success with this homemade brew:
Home-Made Edible Lace Mix
125ml (1/2 cup) water
15ml (1 tbs) tylose / CMC powder
15ml (1 tbs) icing sugar
30ml (2 tbs) corn flour
2.5ml (1/2 tsp) meringue powder
5ml (1 tsp) liquid glucose
2.5ml (1/2 tsp) glycerine
Gel food colour – white or other
Corn flour or luster dust
Mix the water and CMC powder together. Use a handheld electric beater and beat on med-high speed until the mixture is clear. (It will be jelly-like).
Beat in the dry ingredients. When well mixed, add in the glucose, glycerine and a few drops of gel colour.
This is a thick mixture, the consistency of set custard!
Dust a lace mat lightly with cornstarch, or alternatively with lustre dust.
Use an off-set palette knife to spread the lace mixture onto the lace mat. Keep the mixture in the pattern, and scrape off any excess.
( I only needed the swags part of this lace design, so I blocked off the rest with masking tape, to save on wastage and to ensure a neat edge to the lace.)
Place in an oven for approx. 10 minutes at 70’C.
When non-sticky to touch, spread a second layer of lace mixture over the first.
Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
Leave to cool before peeling carefully from the mat.
When the lace has been sufficiently “baked”, it is easy to remove from the mat. If it is still sticky, place in the oven a little longer.
If it is too dry, it will crack as you remove it from the mat. In this case, either cover with a slightly damp cloth, or spread another layer of the lace mix over it, return to the oven again – but check regularly and remove before it over-dries again.
Depending on the design, if you gently lift swags and delicate areas from the mat first, it makes it easier to peel off the rest of the lace.