bakerfairy Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 8:14pm
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I am making a large wedding cake where every tier is to be 'encrusted' with ivory pearl dragees. Basically no spaces right from the top of each tier and beginning to taper out about half-way down the cake.

I have seen that places like global sugar art sell these dragees in bulk (2.2 lb) boxes. How many boxes do you estimate I would need to cover 5 stacked tiers (8"-10"-12"-14"-16" rounds that are 4" high)? Also, according to the photo the bride sent me, it seems that there is some variation in the size of dragees, so I think I'll buy a few larger ones in a smaller quantity, but what size should I buy for the majority? 4mm, 5mm, 6mm??? Could I brush my fondant with a little piping gel and just stick them on this way? Any advice would be great! Thanks!

As long as I did this correctly, the photo that the bride sent me should be attached.Imageπ

31 replies
bakerfairy Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 8:24pm
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well, looks like my photo from my computer didn't upload. Any suggestions on how to do this? its a jpeg image that is 37kb.

AnnieCahill Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 8:27pm
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No photo attached. I think that part of the site is broken. Can you link to a website or put it on Flickr?

bakerfairy Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 8:33pm
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Ok I found this image online. Hope this helps

bakerfairy Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 11:13pm
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AnnieCahill Posted 23 Nov 2011 , 11:59pm
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Wow that is a very pretty cake. Very pretty. I hope you are getting very well paid for that one!

I think piping gel would be fine. I honestly have no idea how many dragees you would need. I would just buy more than what you think because you can always use them for future projects.

Let us know how much time it takes you to do that! Also post pictures!

aligotmatt Posted 24 Nov 2011 , 1:17am
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I did an orange and green one you can see in my photos that had pearls piled up on the ledges as borders - I think the orange cake was a 14", 10" 8" and 6" and it took about 3,000 pearls total. Those small jars used to have a number count on them, so I just added that up - did not COUNT it.

If I were to apply pearls like that, I would cut out wax paper or parchment the way I wanted it to taper off and wrap it around the bottom. The wet the fondant on top with water, fondant glue, maybe even a light coat of royal icing. Put the cake over something to catch the fallen dragees and then using your had or something else take a bunch and lightly press them in starting from the bottom and going up.

bakerfairy Posted 24 Nov 2011 , 5:46am
post #8 of

Thanks! This is super helpful. Your cake looks terrific! What size dragees did you use? I am still trying to figure out how small I should go and am leaning towards the 4 mm dragees. I think the 2 mm might be a bit small and look more like sprinkles than pearls. I am also thinking I'll add some 6 or 8 mm to create the variation seen in the photo. I think I'll definitely need more than 3000 for the 4mm, but I'm still not sure how much more I'll need, especially if the whole tops of each tier are covered, plus half of the sides of each tier. I figured out that a 2.2 lb box of 4mm dragees is about 6,500. I still wonder if I'd need more than this?

sillywabbitz Posted 24 Nov 2011 , 12:07pm
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For the three bottom tiers, be sure and place a cake board in the center the size of the next tier up so you don't waste dragrees and you have a flat surface for the next tier. By the way I think we can figure out how many dragees you're going to need . Get a piece of wax or parchment paper and cut out a circle that covers the top of each tier and hangs over the amount you would like. Then calculate the total area of the circle. A=3.14*r^2
Where r is the radius of the circle ( half the diameter)
Do the same thing for the inner circle that would represent the next layer above. Subtract the two. Now you have the area of the section covered in dragrees. Convert it to mm.
The area of a 4mm dragee is 12.6 mm square. Divide the area you calculated above by 12.6 and that will give you a general idea for each tier. I hope that helps. It's a beautiful design.

aprilismaius Posted 29 Nov 2011 , 8:24pm

I did a buttercream version of this cake, but with the pearls at the bottom (rather than the top) of the tiers. I used 4, 6, 8, and 10 mm. I found I mainly used the 6 & 8.

bakerfairy Posted 12 Jan 2012 , 2:05pm

Thank you all for your help! I was very pleased with the final results! I used mostly 4 mm dragees with a few 6 mm to give it more dimension. I ended up using about 1 1/2 boxes of 4 mm dragees I ordered from GSA (2 lbs. per box)!!

sillywabbitz Posted 12 Jan 2012 , 2:22pm


Debbye27 Posted 12 Jan 2012 , 2:44pm

Very nice! what did you use to attach them? piping gel?

bakerfairy Posted 12 Jan 2012 , 3:01pm

Yes, I used piping gel and it worked great!

jeartist Posted 12 Jan 2012 , 3:32pm


SugarMama5 Posted 1 Dec 2012 , 12:31am

Did you attach each one with piping gel or did you spread a thin coat of piping gel on the fondant and just stick it on? How much piping gel did you use? I have to do a 6,8,10 wedding cake with silver dragees... trying to figure out how many million I will have to put on... I think I'll be cross eyed by the end!! ;)

remnant3333 Posted 1 Dec 2012 , 1:07am

The cake you did was very beautiful!! The pearls make it look so elegant!!! Excellent job!!!

VKakes11 Posted 1 Dec 2012 , 1:32am

That is absolutely gorgeous! How did you attach them to the piping gel? Wonderful job

SugarMama5 Posted 1 Jan 2013 , 9:24pm

APiping gel works awesome... I did a wedding cake with dragees along the base of each tier... I used piping gel and it worked like a charm!

dawnybird Posted 1 Jan 2013 , 10:32pm

I agree with everyone else: the cake is lovely and very elegant. I do have a question about cakes decorated this way, though. Is it difficult to cut, and what about eating it? I can't imagine having a mouthful of rock hard dragees in my mouth! I've always wondered about this.

SugarMama5 Posted 2 Jan 2013 , 2:33am

AI told my bride not to eat the dragees... No one needs a broken tooth or filling ;) I used to be a dental assistant in my pre-children/pre-cake days ;)

I would guess cutting could/would be a little messy..,

inspiredbymom Posted 16 Jun 2013 , 4:52pm

I have one of these "encrusted" pearl cakes to do this weekend.  I was wondering if there was a trick to applying them to the cake without them bouncing all over!  Any suggestions will help!  I plan on using piping gel instead of royal so it will not be so hard to cut.

SugarMama5 Posted 17 Jun 2013 , 4:44pm

AI did one like that and piping gel worked perfectly. I assembled the cake the placed it on a large pan/cookie sheet... Or for wax paper and use something to prop up the wax paper so that any dragees that drop don't roll onto the floor. I just mixed the sizes together and took handfuls and gently pressed it against the piping gel. It took me about 2 hours or so to do 3 tiers (6,8,10). Get a chair, turn on a movie and your set. :)

Good luck! I have one like this to do in a couple weeks too!

auntginn Posted 17 Jun 2013 , 5:31pm

That is a gorgeous cake, Congrats on a job well done.

celiazumbach Posted 17 Jun 2013 , 6:37pm

AI love this cake, it's so classical and yet romantic all at the same time.

lasweettreats Posted 17 Sep 2013 , 4:51am

AI have an order for this exact cake coming up in the Spring. I don't use fondant do help with doing this to buttercreme without sitting for days applying them one by one would be appreciated. Thanks!

SugarMama5 Posted 17 Sep 2013 , 4:53pm


Original message sent by lasweettreats

I have an order for this exact cake coming up in the Spring. I don't use fondant do help with doing this to buttercreme without sitting for days applying them one by one would be appreciated. Thanks!

You won't have to sit for days and days! And don't add them one at a time. I've done a couple cakes like that and all I've done is take handfuls of the dragees (I mix all the sizes together) and just cup my handful of dragees against the cake. :)

lasweettreats Posted 18 Sep 2013 , 10:55pm

AYou won't have to sit for days and days! And don't add them one at a time. I've done a couple cakes like that and all I've done is take handfuls of the dragees (I mix all the sizes together) and just cup my handful of dragees against the cake.

Ok... But how do you keep them from sticking to the icing you don't want them on? If I let it fully crust, should I paint the areas I want the dragees on with edible glue then go that route? Seems like anytime I try something with sprinkles like this, it never turns out the way I'd like it to. But my employees say I'm just too

SugarMama5 Posted 19 Sep 2013 , 4:47pm

AI would use piping gel over your crusted buttercream. That's what I'd do.

auntginn Posted 19 Sep 2013 , 5:27pm

But wouldn't piping gel just make them slide right off?  I mean since it doesn't dry.

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