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How to decorate a cake with a sequin effect

How to decorate a cake with a sequin effect

Over the weekend we celebrated our future sister-in-laws 30th birthdays. Being twins they decided to have a twinning themed party where everyone had to come dressed in the same thing with at least one other person. With Donnah and I big on birthdays, right down to the perfectly wrapped gifts and elaborate cakes, we decided as a surprise to make their birthday cake. 

Their little sister Annette was going to make some cupcakes for each twin and Tania wanted hers to reflect a child's birthday, all fun and bright, while Laura wanted hers to be pretty and classic. Keeping in with this theme, it was decided to make the cake half Tan and half Laura. We had to bake, decorate and assemble at night after work, so we did it in bits and chose a sequin effect. The sequins make it look elaborate, yet not as time consuming as you would think.

The cake was made up of three tiers, with the top two tiers a sour lemon cake and the bottom tier a cherry ripe mud cake. The lemon cakes were covered in a white chocolate ganache and the mud cake was covered in a dark chocolate ganache -this helps adhere the fondant to the cake, while giving it an extra level of indulgence. We personally prefer to work with ganache or marzipan when using fondants on cakes, as our climate is really humid and don't have the industrial freezers to keep it at the perfect temperature.  

While Donnah made the top two tiers at mums house, then made the bottom tier and the ganache with me. We did the fondant together and then I did the sequined effect and finished it all off. Being super anal about these types of projects I was up until 2:30am decorating it (I actually didn't think it would have taken so long, but more on that later). I didn't plan on making this a proper tutorial so I didn't take photos for a step by step and only a few on my phone; but it's enough to see how easy it is to decorate a cake like this (just excuse the quality). I find most cake instructions leave out a lot and don't really focus on tips and tricks for regular people making it at home, so the next cake I make like this, I will do a more detailed guide/post.  This will just focus on the sequin effect part.

 Robert makes his own beer and I love how he themed it all to match the party! 

Robert makes his own beer and I love how he themed it all to match the party! 

HOW TO CREATE THE SEQUIN EFFECT

You will need:

  • A fondant covered cake
  • Clear piping gel (this is used as a glue for the sequins)
  • A clean wide paint brush (to apply the piping gel and silver dust)
  • Edible sequin sprinkles (depends on how many tiers/large I used four of the containers below and needed an extra one)
  • Edible silver dust (make sure it's edible if you are going to slice and serve, as there are non edible versions available)
  • Vodka (this is to mix with the silver dust and create a paint like texture)
  • Ribbon to decorate
  • Silk pins to attach the ribbon at the back or double sided sticky tape
  • Scissors
  • Cake board
  • Candles

*I find these products at my local speciality cake store instead of the supermarket. Supermarkets either don't have it or not exactly what works best.

 I started on the top tier as it was the first time I was working with this effect, that way I could tell properly how much sprinkles I needed to use and the best way to apply them. Because I was was leaving the sprinkles as they came, I needed to be extra careful as you will be able to see any mistakes or mess. 

I started on the top tier as it was the first time I was working with this effect, that way I could tell properly how much sprinkles I needed to use and the best way to apply them. Because I was was leaving the sprinkles as they came, I needed to be extra careful as you will be able to see any mistakes or mess. 

Step One:

  • Start with a fondant covered tier/cake.
  • Take the clean paint brush, dip it in the clear piping gel and gently paint over the tier in even strokes. I did mine in sections starting on the sides (top or sides doesn't matter), make sure it has enough gel to let the sprinkles stick -I did it in a medium thickness.
  • Once you have applied the gel, add the sprinkles. Now there are two ways of doing this, you could loosely sprinkle them on and patting them down or individually place them on. If you are covering them with a coloured dust then it doesn't matter how, as the paint will fill in any gaps and hide everything. Because I was leaving them as is, I sprinkled them on and then did touch ups in the gaps by individually placing them on with tweezers. But seeing as I'm anal, I spent more time with the tweezers, hence the up until 2:30am part. 
 The gel doesn't dry instantly so I was able to go back in and move around the sprinkles where there are visible gaps etc...

The gel doesn't dry instantly so I was able to go back in and move around the sprinkles where there are visible gaps etc...

 Notice how I have baking paper underneath all of the tiers? It's because it keeps your space cleaner, you can use it like a mess catcher or tester and wipe any excess off onto the paper without having to dirty more dishes, and the main reason is, you can work with the tiers easier. Plus when it's time to stack them on top, you don't have to worry about messing up the tier -you just lift at two sides and gently peel back without having to push and slide.

Notice how I have baking paper underneath all of the tiers? It's because it keeps your space cleaner, you can use it like a mess catcher or tester and wipe any excess off onto the paper without having to dirty more dishes, and the main reason is, you can work with the tiers easier. Plus when it's time to stack them on top, you don't have to worry about messing up the tier -you just lift at two sides and gently peel back without having to push and slide.

Step Two:

  • Once you have finished with the top tier, put it to the side and work on the second. I worked my way up from the sides and left a gap for the top tier -don't cover the whole area with sprinkles or it will just be waste, plus the tier will sit unbalanced.
  • After you have covered the second tier where needed, gently place the top tier on to see that everything looks even. Now, after finishing the frosting/fondant you would normally adhere all the tiers together with an even layer of ganache, heavy bar straws, bubble tea straws, skewers or wooden dowels within the diameter of the cake for support. I didn't include this as a proper step as I haven't bothered to use anything other than ganache or icing before, and in this case I didn't at all. The cakes were heavy and even enough for me to not worry.
  • When the placement of the top tier is looking the way it should on the second tier, you can go back in and fill the gaps around the top tier and where you left the space on the second tier.
 These tiers aren't too heavy/big so I was able to finish the two together and then place onto the third tier last. Normally it is best to assemble from the bottom tier and work your way up -all depends on how you need to decorate and assemble (just keep that in mind).

These tiers aren't too heavy/big so I was able to finish the two together and then place onto the third tier last. Normally it is best to assemble from the bottom tier and work your way up -all depends on how you need to decorate and assemble (just keep that in mind).

 As I mentioned above I left this tier until last, in case i ran out of sprinkles, and as you can see I did. The store didn't have much stock in when I bought them so I got the really small sprinkles as a back up. You can see here how the piping gel is also visible through the white gaps, which is fine when you paint it.

As I mentioned above I left this tier until last, in case i ran out of sprinkles, and as you can see I did. The store didn't have much stock in when I bought them so I got the really small sprinkles as a back up. You can see here how the piping gel is also visible through the white gaps, which is fine when you paint it.

Step Three: 

  • Now for the final tier repeat the same steps with applying the sprinkles and leave the gel to harden up a bit so when you paint it won't lift up. I just tested it with my fingers to see if it was staying put.
  • Take the coloured dust and tap out a little bit on to a small dish or something you will be working out of (I did this mixing part gradually so you could get the right consistency and amount without wasting so much product as you don't need much dust or Vodka).
  • Add a few drops of Vodka into the dust and mix to a paint like consistency.
  • Taking the clean paint brush (make sure you wash off the piping gel first and dry off) and paint the dust mixture all over the areas that need covering on the bottom tier -again leave a gap on top for the other tiers like before.
  • Allow the bottom tier to dry.
 Now this obviously isn't my cake but my sister did this for my awesome nautical birthday cake the year before and sent it to me as a reference. It doesn't need to be this messy on the paper, it looks like she spilt it or was testing out the consistency of her paint. 

Now this obviously isn't my cake but my sister did this for my awesome nautical birthday cake the year before and sent it to me as a reference. It doesn't need to be this messy on the paper, it looks like she spilt it or was testing out the consistency of her paint. 

Step Four:

  • Stack all the tiers together onto the cake board and go back in and fix any gaps with the dust mixture and sprinkles like the other tiers.
  • Do another once over to make sure nothing else has moved and needs fixing
  • Select your chosen ribbon, then measure and cut to the amount you need.
  • Use the silk pins to fasten the ribbon to the back of the cake (I use these as they are good at hiding in the cake and easy to remove. You could also use a small amount of double sided sticky tape between the ribbon (take not that using the pins will attach the ribbon to the cake, whereas the tape won't attach the ribbon to the cake and may move in transportation).
  • Add you candles when you are ready and that's it! you're finished!
 For transportation concerns.... This survived travelling in the car for an hour and yes the road was bumpy the whole way! I placed it in a big enough cardboard box and sat in the back of the car, holding it the whole time to make sure it didn't slide -don't forget the air-con as well. 

For transportation concerns.... This survived travelling in the car for an hour and yes the road was bumpy the whole way! I placed it in a big enough cardboard box and sat in the back of the car, holding it the whole time to make sure it didn't slide -don't forget the air-con as well. 

Not bad for my first go...

xo Noskam

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