Argh!!! Stringwork!!!

Decorating By vickster Updated 3 Apr 2008 , 3:45am by gscout73

vickster Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 4:57pm
post #1 of 34

Ok. I'm trying to do these triple string drapes. I get about 3/4 of the way, and plop, the string breaks. I tried adding some piping gel. Please, advice needed. I'm used to making cakes that look like '57 Chevy's and picnic tables. This fru fru stuff is driving me nuts. I'm not a real cake decorator!

33 replies
KoryAK Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 5:11pm
post #2 of 34

What are you piping with? I like royal icing for string work, and it can't be too thin.

tiptop57 Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 5:19pm
post #3 of 34

What do you mean you are not a real cake decorator?

Here are my hints for string work:

1.) Use real egg white Royal Icing and not meringue.
2.) Keep the tip clean, only use small amounts of RI otherwise the icing breaks down and does not work properly.
3.) Get a hat pin to clean the broken string areas.
4.) Use a very small damp paint brush to clean-up the tails and such.
5.) Then for every string that makes it count on at least three breaking.
6.) This is a time consuming and repetitive job.

kakeladi Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 5:20pm
post #4 of 34

How far a stretch are you trying to go? I found it you make thr span from point 1 to point 2 shorter it works better.
Also, have you strained your icing??
Have you thinned it w/piping gel?
Both will help greatly icon_smile.gif

beachcakes Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 5:33pm
post #5 of 34

Thanks for asking vickster. Stringwork is something I've always wanted to try, but never knew what to do. I think this will be my next challenge!

The responses have been very helpful!

kakeladi - probably a silly question, but what is the advantage of straining your icing?

tiptop57 Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 6:39pm
post #6 of 34

To strain your icing use a new nylon knee high, plop some icing into it, place in a plastic piping bag with tip cut and squeeze out. Clean and easy way to put into the parchment when ready.

Beachcakes, they reason for straining is to eliminate unmixed pieces from clogging your tube/tip.

bwonderful Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 7:16pm
post #7 of 34

I haven't tried stringwork but I really want to. I am a fru fru at heart.

indydebi Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 11:00am
post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiptop57

To strain your icing use a new nylon knee high, plop some icing into it, place in a plastic piping bag with tip cut and squeeze out. Clean and easy way to put into the parchment when ready.

Beachcakes, they reason for straining is to eliminate unmixed pieces from clogging your tube/tip.




Never heard of doing this! What a great idea!

tonedna Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 2:00pm
post #9 of 34

The nylon idea works great when you are working with your smaller tips like tip #0 or and #1 specially. Like when you do very detailed work for cornelli lace or austrailian stringwork and your more complicated stuff.
Edna icon_biggrin.gif

beachcakes Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 2:20pm
post #10 of 34

Thanks so much! I knew it was a silly question!

tcturtleshell Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 2:37pm
post #11 of 34

I took a class with Geraldine Randlesome last year at the ICES Convention. She uses real egg whites, palate knife to mix her RI not a spatula or spoon. She plays with a small amount at a time on a plate. She strains her RI in panty hose. Uses tip #1. I have yet to try her recipe for the RI. There were a few ingredients that I had never heard of before. If I can find the recipe I will post it. She does the floating stringwork, oh my gosh it's incredible! Good Luck with yours! Stringwork is beautiful!

cakemommy Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 3:17pm
post #12 of 34

I HIGHLY recommend straining your RI!!! It is a must when doing string work.

Like mentioned already, how far are you trying to stretch your strings. The consistency of your icing plays a HUGE role in it's stretchability. How far out you are pulling your string away from the cake before connecting on the other end is important too. You must do it slowly until you get the feel of it. You have to carefully pull the string out and move to the side in one smooth move. Practice Practice Practice!!!!!!!!!

"Fru Fru" cakes as you call it icon_biggrin.gif are my favorite. What you do as far as 3D and sculpting, is so not me! I leave that to the experts like yourself!!! thumbs_up.gificon_biggrin.gif

You can do it oh and most importantly PRACTICE HOLDING YOUR BREATH!!!!! I can not stress how important it is to be able to hold your breath or be able to breath without ANY movement. icon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_wink.gif



Amy

Sugar_Plum_Fairy Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 3:41pm
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by tcturtleshell

I took a class with Geraldine Randlesome last year at the ICES Convention. She uses real egg whites, palate knife to mix her RI not a spatula or spoon. She plays with a small amount at a time on a plate. She strains her RI in panty hose. Uses tip #1. I have yet to try her recipe for the RI. There were a few ingredients that I had never heard of before. If I can find the recipe I will post it. She does the floating stringwork, oh my gosh it's incredible! Good Luck with yours! Stringwork is beautiful!




I'll be taking her class this summer at Cake Camp! Actually three of her classes. I'm so excited. She does beautiful work. I'm glad to find out a little more of what to expect. I've never even heard of straining icing before. Well as the song says, the more I learn, the less that I know! icon_wink.gif

kakeladi Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 3:44pm
post #14 of 34

<...most importantly PRACTICE HOLDING YOUR BREATH!!!!! I can not stress how important it is to be able to hold your breath or be able to breath without ANY movement...>

hehehe this is sooooooooooo true!
Not only that but one **MUST** hold your tounge in the right position too! icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif

servingzero Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 3:56pm
post #15 of 34

I've been interested also in stringwork. Can anyone recommend a 'real egg' RI, that you can mix in small amounts??
I tried looking through the recipes here, and they are all copious, cookie icing amounts.
If anyone has tips about strings I'd appreciate it. (not trying to hijack the thread) I've wondered about how to do those point A to point B (vertical) strings that don't appear to be resting on anything underneath... how the heck do you do those!!

tiptop57 Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 3:58pm
post #16 of 34

Oh too funny cakemommy! I agree! One must take a deep breath and hold while tilting their head just so - right?

I love, love, love stringwork & lace points, ruffles and lace! Preferring pretty instead of bulky, bold and over the top appliquésâ so popular right now.

Hmm I guess I just have to be patient, cuz what goes around - comes around again!

cakemommy Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 4:33pm
post #17 of 34

Tilting the head just so!!!!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif We're serious about all this!!!

String work is so rewarding. Australian string work is my FAVORITE to do!!! LOVE IT LOVE IT!!!!

servingzero~ that string work you are referring to is Australian string work, some of the string work is built upon a bridge and some is not and is indeed suspended on nothing. There is a method to that of course but I have not mastered that one yet. I have tried it once but that's about it! I have to get rid of my kids for the day to attempt such a thing. I need total concentration and the ability to KEEP my patience. Not so easy with two little monsters, I mean boys!!! icon_rolleyes.gif

Any technique is worth trying. Some you may be good at and some you may not. I've tried 3D cakes, not my thing. I've recently dabled in modeling, not too bad but still not my thing. I'll stick to pretty and delicate which happens to be string work. That I'm good at or decent I should say. I can always use improvement!! icon_rolleyes.gif

Once you try string work, you will either love it or hate it. Like I said it is very rewarding to see your finished work and say "I did that!!"


Amy

Sugar_Plum_Fairy Posted 28 Mar 2008 , 1:08am
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

<...most importantly PRACTICE HOLDING YOUR BREATH!!!!! I can not stress how important it is to be able to hold your breath or be able to breath without ANY movement...>

hehehe this is sooooooooooo true!
Not only that but one **MUST** hold your tounge in the right position too! icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif




Let me guess....that tongue position would be sticking out, right? icon_lol.gif

tonedna Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 10:57pm
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by tcturtleshell

I took a class with Geraldine Randlesome last year at the ICES Convention. She uses real egg whites, palate knife to mix her RI not a spatula or spoon. She plays with a small amount at a time on a plate. She strains her RI in panty hose. Uses tip #1. I have yet to try her recipe for the RI. There were a few ingredients that I had never heard of before. If I can find the recipe I will post it. She does the floating stringwork, oh my gosh it's incredible! Good Luck with yours! Stringwork is beautiful!




Do you have the recipe.. I would love to know this ingredients you are not sure about!

lanibird Posted 30 Mar 2008 , 4:41pm
post #20 of 34

Can anyone recommend any books on stringwork? I've really been wanting to try it out. I'm hoping to make it to Cake Camp this year to take the two classes on Australian style, but that isn't a sure thing.

tiptop57 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 1:07pm
post #21 of 34

Why yes I can,
These are all excellent:
Extension Work - Christine Flinn - Excellent book showing different methods for doing extension work.

The Art of *Sugar---craft - Lace and Filigree - Nicholas Lodge (*dashes added since CC blocks this word.)

Professional Touches - Lesley Herbert - Also a very good book with lots of techniques including extension work.
HTH

imaginecakes Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 2:04pm
post #22 of 34

I am soooo thrilled to see this topic and all of the great advice! I have been wanting to give this a try....so far too nervous I guess icon_redface.gif

lanibird Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 2:08pm
post #23 of 34

Thank you so much!

tiptop57 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 3:32pm
post #24 of 34

This is the Egg White Recipe I use: One egg white, and a dash of cream of tartar. I add powdered sugar mixing by hand with a fork to eliminate air bubbles until I get the consistency I require for the work I am doing. I have found that I have been making my icing too thick for the zero tip so I need to thin it down a bit.

HTH

agroeve Posted 2 Apr 2008 , 10:07am
post #25 of 34

i only ever use merriwhite to make my ri and it always works fine for me but you must get your icing consistancy right. i got a great tip from my elaine mcgregor vid to check if its ok. extend 2 fingers and pipe a loop between the two fingers if the loop doesnt break when you gently shake it from side to side then it will be the right consistency and strong enough to do stringwork with. if it breaks your icing is too wet and if its difficult to come out of the tube its too dry. i've never had to strain my icing but i do mix it for about 20 mins.

Petit-four Posted 2 Apr 2008 , 12:10pm
post #26 of 34

Perhaps this is a foolish question -- but I have been making RI for flowers (lilies) using a KA mixer -- it has a stiffness to it, some "body" for the petals. If I understand correctly RI for stringwork should be hand-mixed, so it is more of a "slurry"? Softer, without the volume? And I only put a few tablespoons at a time in the piping bag? Thank you for any help you can give me.

I too have been trying stringwork -- I love the traditional Lambeth/Victorian look. I know it will come back in style in my area!

tiptop57 Posted 2 Apr 2008 , 1:33pm
post #27 of 34

I believe Agroeve gave you the best advice Petit-four about your consistency, because that is similar to what all the books I own that have something to say on the subject. (Unfortunately, I live in a Sugar Art dead zone and there aren't any experts alive and kicking in my neck of the woods that I can take a class with or consult with, so I get all my advice from books, internet boards, by trial/error and people such as Agroeve.) icon_wink.gif

agroeve Posted 2 Apr 2008 , 2:02pm
post #28 of 34

sorry double post

agroeve Posted 2 Apr 2008 , 2:04pm
post #29 of 34

i also use an electric mixer but i make my ri on the slowest speed. i use a lot of ri on my cakes and the thought of mixing it all by hand just makes my arm ache. thanks tiptop i'm classed as just above a newbie but am glad to share any info i can.

Petit-four Posted 2 Apr 2008 , 2:49pm
post #30 of 34

Thank you much for sharing your knowledge! You do lovely work, and I appreciate you all taking the time to help a beginner.

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