I'm doing my first stencil this week. It's a brown damask pattern that needs to go on light blue buttercream.
I have done a couple of test runs on parchment paper with my stencil. So far I have tried:
Sugarveil: rips apart when I try to get it out of the stencil, also, there are so many tiny separate pieces that I would need to spend days repositioning them all on the cake. So, I need to stencil right on the cake I think.
Melted chocolate - this gives a nice color, but I was unsuccessful preventing bleeding under the stencil. I tried brushing it on, dabbing it on with a (clean) fingertip, and sponging it on. Sponging gave the best result but the lines still weren't crisp enough.
So now I'm looking at alternatives. I'm strictly a hobbyist, so I don't have an airbrush and probably couldn't get one in time (cake is needed Sunday).
I've seen a post about stenciling with tinted piping gel, and I've also seen the suggestion to use thinned out buttercream. Which would be better in terms of getting the richest brown color and least bleeding?
Finally, how do I do this on buttercream without leaving a crease from the edge of my stecil on the cake?
I just did a black stencil on white butter cream for a wedding cake. I just used buttercream. I did learn that if your pattern is very complex, use a tapered small spatula to apply top frosting.
Buttercream will definitely give you the best color. Just be patient and go slow. Also clean your stencil every time you use it.
If your bottom layer is crusted good your stencil shouldn't leave lines. Your not pushing on the stencil as much as just filling in the stencil. Hope this helps.
Thanks! Yes, that is helpul. A few more questions:
1. Did you thin out your buttercream at all?
2. So if I'm understanding correctly, you spread the BC on over the stencil almost like you would spread spackle on a wall?
3. Do you have a good crusting BC recipe that you prefer? I have tried a couple on here but they all end up cracking/drying out. How do I get a good crust without the cracking?
i agree with wehmom... buttercream will give you a great result and it's not as tricky as it seems.
you can thin your buttercream if you normally ice your cakes with a very stiff consistency. you basically want a very spreadable consistency that isn't so thin that it would run. then you spread it on just like you said.. like spackle on a wall.
indydebi's BC recipe is fantastic, but i use my own. it cracks sometimes, but if it does before i put my stencil on i run a spatula under hot water, dry it off and smooth it out again. that has always taken care of the problem for me.
I have a black damask in my pics. I found that canned frosting is a lot thinner and easier to spread, so I got chocolate canned frosting, and added black tint. Worked great. Just make sure you use a really well crusting buttercream underneath the stencil, and give it time to crust all the way.
Thanks you guys, I really appreciate the advice.
After reading about the Bettercreme, I picked some up at GFS just to try it. It stencils like a dream! Tonight I'll pick up some buttercream at Sam's, since I've read rave reviews about it on here.
I have two more questions, if you don't mind:
1. How do I figure out how to place the pattern on the cake so that I don't have a large gap at the end after going around my cake? I have some sort of plastic measuring tool that I guess is supposed to measure distances for swags, but it didn't come with instructions so I don't know how I would use it for an actual stencil.
2. Any ideas on how to make sure my stencils are evenly placed vertically? My stencil is a diamond shape with an intricate damask design making up the diamond shape. The stencil came with four of these designs in a row on a horizonal strip. So I cut one of those off the end so I can place it individually on the cake and do those stencils one at a time. Because if I overlay the horizontal strip over what I just did below it, it will obviously smear.
2b. When I lay this individual stencil on the cake, there is very little space between the design and the edge of the stencil. How can I ensure that I don't overspread my bettercreme over the edge of the stencil? Other than being painstakingly careful, of course. Just wondering if there are any tricks. Related to this, should I lay the stencil on there using tweezers so that it is easier to pick up? There is about a quarter inche between the stencil design and the edge, so it will be hard to hold it with my finger and get the entire design covered.
Am I making sense?
Thanks in advance for your patience and help. You gus are incredible.
here's my best guesses when it comes to your questions.. i'm glad you found something that spreads well though.. that's definitely key!
1) i would measure it out and pick a start/stop point that will be the back of the cake. it will give you an idea of how much extra room you're going to have and you can adust spacing between your rows as necessary. i have found though that if you let the icing crust a little you may be able to overlay an area that you've already done if you only need 2 diamonds or so to fill in the last gap. definitely trial and error.. and a little creativity!
2) again, i would measure, or come up with some kind of spacer that you can place to make sure your rows are the same distance from each other. when in doubt, cut something out of card stock and hold it up as you place the stencil on the cake.
2b) i had a similar problem (stencil was actually taller than the cake so i had to keep my icing from globbing up at the top) so when i was close to the edges i was just very careful. i used a small, off-set spatula and just took my time. using tweezers to pull it off the cake when your done with a row isn't a bad idea though! as far as holding it, once you get a little icing on there, you shouldn't really have to hold it with your hand to keep it in place. the icing acts sort of like a glue in that sense.
does any of that make sense?? clear as mud?
Not to highjack but can this be done on fondant?? Will the BC adhere to the fondant okay or does it have to be BC on BC??
stenciling on fondant works great too.. the same procedures apply!
Thanks for the reply ebredhawk. Do you have to use a special stencil for it or can I run to a craft store and pick one up?? I would love to try this on a bridal shower cake I am making for my SIL this weekend but would only be able to get to a joanns or hobby lobby etc.
This can be done on fondant and buttercream. If doing buttercream the cake my have been refrigerated until the icing sets and is firm.
i never put my BC cakes in the fridge, but i make sure they have a good crust first.. same purpose, to make sure they're nice and firm.
you can use any stencil from what i've heard... i mostly get the Designer Stencils from Global Sugar Art though. they are made for cakes, pies, cookies, etc. and are really durable and high quality.
LearningCurve, I just picked up a thin stencil at JoAnne's. I tested it on parchment this weekend with a smooth-spreading medium (Bettercreme) and it came out great! I just followed the advice given to me here and put a glob on like wall spackle, then spread it out and scraped it off smooth. It was beautiful.
ebredhawk, thanks for the tips on spacing. I'll give it a try. Maybe I'll used actual crusting buttercream for the stencil instead of the bEttercreME and pop it into the fridge between stenciling each row. That way maybe it will be less likely to smear.
PuffMamaT, How did you get the Bettercream to the right consistency to stencil on it. Did it crust;if so how? Thanks
Ooops, sorry. What I meant was I used the Bettercreme to swipe over the stencil. I don't think I'd be able to use the Bettercreme as the base. I'm going to use Sam's Club buttercream icing for that.
Thanks for clearing that up. So you just use crusting BC to stencil and then swipe with Bettercream; right? I can't believe how many people love Bettercream or Pastry Pride rather than IMBC or SMBC. It's a lot easier that's for sure. I use it to fill cupcakes too.
That's my plan. Of course, I've only swiped the Bettercreme across parchment, so we'll see how it goes over top of the buttercream. I think it will be fine, though.
Make sure your cake sides are perfectly straight with a bench scraper.
You can then test your pattern by measuring around your cake with a ribbon and cutting paper to that length and lay out your pattern on it. Make any adjustments needed on the paper and go from there.
You can also use the stencils with royal icing. A good consistency is a good thing, not so thick you can't wipe it on but not runny either.
Post pics so we can see your end results
If your stencil design is too close to the edge, could you tape on something to the edge of the stencil to give you more of a border. Maybe tape on a strip of wax paper or something? Then you wouldn't have to worry about your brown going outside of the stencil. As far as spacing the design, the ribbon, paper idea sounds good especially if your designs are different sizes. If you have design that you need evenly spaced I have used the Wilton cake dividing wheel with good results. It is a circle of clear flexible material with lines radiating out from the center. You center your cake on the wheel. If you want 6 designs going around the cake just put a little mark on the cake where each of the 6 are on the grid and it will be evenly spaced. It works with any cake size and I think will divide any number of times up to 12.