The ultimate challenge for most wedding cake decorators is a piped lace wedding cake. And while it truly is an art form, there are some techniques to help the beginner create a beautiful lace effect on wedding cakes quite easily. As for the detailed, intricate lace piping of yesteryear, all the masters emphasize practice, practice, practice to get to grips with piping more challenging designs. Eddie Spence’s book The Art of Royal Icing is considered the bible for those wishing to master the art, but for now, Cake Geek has three simple techniques to get started piping lace wedding cakes.
(Complete beginners in royal icing might what to check out our Piping Techniques series first for lots of tips and advice, plus tutorials: Piping Techniques – Pearl Piping, Scallop Piping & Scroll Piping.)
Cornelli Piping/Filligree Piping
The first easy lace piping technique is cornelli piping, or filigree lace piping as it’s also known. It simply involves taking a piping bag of medium consistency royal icing and a No. 1 or No. 2 icing tip or nozzle and piping continuously “squiggly” line, without crossing over the lines. You’ll find a video clip here to help you get started with cornelli piping.
We have two examples of cornelli piping above. The cake above left is by Cake Geek’s own fair hand (!) and features cornelli piping with white royal icing against ivory sugarpaste/fondant. The cake above right is by the Three Brothers Bakery very cleverly uses just patches of cornelli piping to create a floral lace effect. It also highlights how effective lace piping is against coloured icing.
Piped pearls/dots can be very cleverly used to create a lace pattern if you aren’t too confident with a piping bag. Simply add texture with tiny sugar blossoms and you can create a very pretty lace effect.
The third shortcut to beautiful lace piping is to use a floral cutter to first emboss your icing before piping over the pattern, which is much simpler than freehand piping. Patchwork Cutters have a great selection of cutters for this purpose which you’ll find here: Patchwork Cutters (including Marion Frost’s very useful guide on embroidery and lace piping).
To further enhance the lace effect you can use a damp paintbrush to create a feathered look using the brush embroidery technique, similar to the featured wedding cake at the top of this page (top left) by Australian cake superstars, Sweet Art. Fiona Pearse of Icing Bliss has a great tutorial here on brush embroidery. (You can also find her book, Cake Craft Made Easy here.)
More Ideas with Lace – Lace Borders
Once you’ve piped your lace pattern, you can enhance it further by adding a border. We have a beautiful example on the right by the fabulous UK wedding cake designer, Jen’s Cakery . This design uses a very simple border cut with a garret frill cutter and textured with a frilling tool. The frill is then attached to the bottom of each tier in a garland pattern and a row of dots is piped above the garland. Care needs to be taken when attaching a garland frill in this style so that it sits a few millimetres above the base of the cake and doesn’t get damaged when assembling the cake tiers at a later stage.
Another simple yet pretty lace wedding cake design is a lace band centred around the middle of the cake. This design works great for three tier cakes, as well as four tiers (where you can centre the lace band around the two middle tiers). The two beautiful examples below are by international sugar art teacher Ruth Rickey (below left) and Australian cake designers, Cake Ink (below right).
Once you’re confident with brush embroidery, you might like to try Freehand Piping. We have a simple pattern below to get you started that you will easily master with a little practice. (Cake design by JGMB on Cake Central).
For a tutorial on the ribbon insertion technique, see Mich Turner’s demonstration here: ribbon insertion tutorial.
A beautiful delicate lace pattern together with exquisite freesias by top Australian cake designers, Hello-Naomi, to inspire you.
Another masterpiece in lace piping by Canadian cake superstars, The Cake Whisperer. The floral lace pattern on this cake is piped using a larger piping tip for a heavier lace effect.
Two further examples below of brush embroidery wedding cakes by Cotton & Crumbs (left) and Rouvelee’s Creations (right). The second cake also incorporates Scroll Piping on which you’ll find more in our feature: Piping Techniques Part 3 – Piping Scrolls.
Piped vines also create a pretty lace effect for a wedding cake and you find a tutorial here to help you master this technique: how to pipe vines in royal icing. (Cakes below via Tumblr left and by Rosalind Miller Cake Design right).
An unique piped lace design by cake design genius, New Zealand’s Leslea Matsis, using vines and tiny piped teardrops to create an delicate lace effect combined with little sugar blossoms and silver dragees (below left).
Advertisement: Yener’s Way have added a new class to their online school teaching lace piping skills and techniques. Get all the details here: lace piping tutorial.