String Work

Decorating By jadak Updated 11 Jan 2010 , 7:49pm by luddroth

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jadak Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 2:22pm
post #1 of 13

Hopefully I can explain my question clearly....

When there is beautiful string work on the sides of a cake that looks suspended at the bottom (like it attaches to royal icing or something that curves out from the cake), how are those suspended pieces made? Are they made ahead of time and then attached to the cake and then the strings made? Or are the piped onto the cake with something holding them out from the cake until they dry? They sort of have me stumped. icon_confused.gif If anyone has any knowledge to share, I would appreciate it. TIA

12 replies
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jobueno Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 4:57pm
post #2 of 13

Hi there Jadak:
I think you might be refering to "bridgework"? A pic would most definetly be helpful, but in any case this is what you are refering to, it all done in icing piped one row on top of the other allowing dry-time in between pipings. This is all done with very fine (usually No.0,00,1) piping tubes.

Maybe someone else can give better details

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JanH Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 5:00pm
post #3 of 13

See "Australian Stringwork" in the below link:
(This is a partial picture of Toba's cake below.)

Toba Garrett's two tier Australian stringwork Crystal wedding cake serves 150 for $5000.00:


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tastyart Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 5:10pm
post #4 of 13

Let's see if I can explain this clearly. Start by inserting greased pins into the cake at the points of the scallops. Pipe the scallops over the pins using royal icing. Then pipe the strings from the cake down to the scallops. After it is dry, very carefully remove the pins. The royal is strong enough to suspend the scalloped string work. It is very tedious work but also beautiful. I hope that made sense.

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justsweet Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 5:18pm
post #5 of 13

Suggested and tried by others on another board. they use the red handle clay gun for string work. It works great and the fondant is mixed with a little tylose to help it dry faster but still stays soft. You squeeze the handle measure the length you need cut and place on cake.

I hope this helps.

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ksmith1012 Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 5:27pm
post #6 of 13

Toba Garrett shows how to do this technique in her book, "The Well Decorated Cake"

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TexasSugar Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 5:47pm
post #7 of 13

Isn't this also called extension work? There was a lady on CakeCentral that did gorgous cakes using this. Loved them, but I don't have the patience to do it myself.

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tastyart Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 6:23pm
post #8 of 13

Yes, TexasSugar, I believe you are right. I have the Toba Garrett book. It calls it string work, extension work, and the Lambeth technique or style. I've played around with it but never on a real cake. It would take forever.

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tastyart Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 6:27pm
post #9 of 13

Oh, and Toba does not discuss the pin technique in her book. I learned that somewhere else. She builds up the scallop portion with multiple piping layers so the lower edge of hers is not suspended.

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Gefion Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 7:21pm
post #10 of 13

The book "Floating on air" by Linda Wong is wonderful for both bridged and floating stringwork - an entire book dedicated to stringwork.

Rule #1: Patience! If you pipe strings before the bridge is completely dry, it will break.

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jadak Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 7:36pm
post #11 of 13

Thank you all so much. The pins make sense and I am sure the book would be helpful as well. Just one of those skills that I look at and think, "I wonder if I could do that..." and want to try in the privacy of my own home! icon_lol.gif

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JanH Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 7:47pm
post #12 of 13

Gefion is too modest to toot her own horn - so I will. icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gif

Check out her cakes, she does quite a bit in the Lambeth style and each one is a masterpiece.

Cakemommy also has some great Lambeth cakes in her gallery.

As does ShirleyW.

Sorry if I've forgotten to mention anyone else who works in this style. icon_redface.gif

Just checked the galleries, and here's a link to all the Lambeth style cakes:


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luddroth Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 7:49pm
post #13 of 13

If you decide to try it, do buy Toba's book and use her recipe for egg-white royal icing. I took her class and she says that meringue powder royal does not have enough strength to hold up to string and extension work. I can tell you that it is excruciatingly tedious work, that the cake underneath must be perfectly firm, that it takes a great deal of practice, that the tiny piping tips get clogged constantly, that a single crystal lump in the royal icing can make you want to kill yourself, that the little strings break easily, and that Toba's finished cakes are unlike anything you've ever seen (unless you spend a lot of time with Australian technique people). But everybody in our class ended up with a cake (on a cake dummy) that we never would have believed ourselves capable of doing at the beginning of the class. It was an amazing experience.

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