Sugar Realm Bas-Relief Technique Tutorial

I originally learned the Bas-Relief technique from the acclaimed Maggie Austin, whose cakes are true pieces of edible art. I was specially intrigued on how she could achieve those beautiful organic textures, that worked as perfect backdrop for her marvelous creations. 

This technique is so versatile, and from the production point of view, so very efficient!
I've incorporated this technique to my repertoire of sugar craft, and it was used for a cake design that was published in Cake Central Magazine, and per their request, now I share it with you!

Make it your own, enjoy the process and create memorable designs that will sure have people asking, How dis you do that?
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1. Start by choosing a food grade silicone mold that has depth and irregular texture. The one featured below is from Stephen Benison's seasons of the year collection. It is the winter mold.
2. Sprinkle your mold with a fine layer of confectioners sugar. I use a custom made pouch made with a fine knee high.
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3. Use your preferred recipe or brand of fondant and roll irregular strips of approximately 1/8". Due to it's moisture and malleability, Fondant is the preferred sugar paste used in this technique.
4. Tear sampled pieces from your fondant stip. The more irregular, the better.
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5. With your fingers, firmly press your fondant. Reposition the piece to achieve a full coverage of the pattern. Sprinkle confectioner's sugar if your fondant starts to stick to your fingers.
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6. Make a few pieces at a time, and place on a plastic bag to prevent them to dry. Some pieces will be used as background, small and detailed ones will be used as foreground and are intended to create smooth transitioning among pieces.
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7. At this point you will need a flat tip brush, boiled water and a dresden tool like the one featured below.
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8. Brush a fine layer of water over the back of the textured fondant piece. Pay special attention to moisten the edges of each piece, as this will assist in the next step.
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9. Overlap each textured strip. Remember, this is not a technique that looks for perfection. On the contrary, the more organic the look, the better!
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10. Thin the borders of each piece using a dresden tool. It is a good idea to apply these overlays to a cake that has been iced ahead of time and not too soft. 
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11. The thinner the edges of each piece, the seamless the overlap effect will be.
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12. Once most of the background is been covered, you will proceed to create smaller "accent pieces". position your fondant piece over the mold and press over your favorite shapes within the mold. Remember, we are looking for a random, organic look.
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13. Position foreground pieces and blend its borders ad with previous pieces.
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14. There are different finishes and looks that you could use to enhance your bas-relief texture. I chose to use a share of platinum dusts, diluted with grain alcohol. 
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15. You could decide to blend in the bas-relief pieces with the rest of the cake or to have them stand alone.
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16. Brushed luster dusts enhance the look and dimension of your bas-relief texture.
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17. You can choose to accentuate your design with an additional focal point. I chose an ascending cluster of fantasy sugar flowers, colored in the same palette as the rest of the cake.
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Give this technique a try, use a combination of molds and even textured rolling pins...mix pieces and make this technique your own!
I hope that you have learned a thing or two, and thank you for being part of my Sugar Kingdom!!!

Comments (5)

on

wow -- i so wanna do this! thank you so much -- gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous -- 'random, organic' aka shabby chic is one of my my favorite things -- thank you for sharing part of your sugar kingdom -- very appreciated

on

This is such a beautiful technique! Thank you for the tutorial! Do you apply these molded pieces to a cake covered with buttercream or fondant? 

on

Hello Sweet Devotion:)...I think that you could apply the molded pieces to a chilled buttercream finished cake, but you would probably see the appliqués. Adding them to a chocolate or fondant covered cake makes possible to work the edge of the pieces so that it looks seamless!

Give this technique a try and you will have everybody asking "How did you do that!"


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