Texture adds a depth to cakes that other techniques cannot match. Whether it’s creating life-like grass for a child’s birthday cake, fuzzy fur on a teddy-bear cake, or fabric on a couture wedding cake, texture can take your cake from drab to fab! You don’t need to invest in piles of expensive tools (sorry!); you can create lots of amazing techniques with everyday tools that you already have in your kitchen. Join buttercream guru Kerrie Wyer for this insightful blog post and get crafty and creative in your kitchen!
The Power of the Pastry Brush
Pastry brushes, or silicone basting brushes, are completely food–safe, easy to clean, and come in a variety of bristle styles. This simple tool is a secret texture-creating weapon; perfect for fur, grass, woodgrain, concrete, and a host of other strand–like textures. To use a silicone brush to add texture to your buttercream, you need to use a crusting buttercream recipe, and, more importantly, you need to add your texture before your buttercream crusts. If your buttercream is getting a bit too dry, you can remedy this by dipping the brush into some warm water, shaking off the excess, and brushing again.
There’s really no limit to what texture you can create with a simple paintbrush, from smooth ridges, to
recessed filigree, and elaborate scroll patterns. Paintbrushes can use them to blend edible food paints into your buttercream, hand-paint lettering, the works! When choosing a paintbrush for use with food, be sure the brush is clean, free of rust or chipping paint, and has never been used with non-edible materials like acrylic paints. I pre-wash all of my brushes with dishwashing liquid before use. It helps to invest in a quality paintbrush—this will minimize shedding of the bristles during use. To add texture using a paintbrush, use on buttercream that has not crusted, but for handletting and precision work make sure you chill your cake first to create a firm surface on which to work.
Create your own texture roller with aluminum foil! You can create pretty much any style you can model, but I have chosen to go with a rough texture, perfect for grass. You can also use foil to create rough-shaped stamps, and even texture combs! If you are using a buttercream that does not crust, chill slightly until the surface of the cake is dry and firm.
It’s not just for cleaning up after you! Paper towels makes a perfect disposable texture mat. It’s food-safe, it’s paper, so it doesn’t create a suction like some plastic and silicone mats can, and there’s usually lots of interesting textures available. You can also use fabrics, but be mindful that some fibers or dyes may be unsafe for food, so stick to un-dyed and natural fabrics like muslin or cotton. For best results, use on crusted Buttercream.
Step 1: Frost your cake however you like! You can even use this technique on globe cakes and sculpted cakes, as you can form the towel to the shape of your cake.
There are some many amazing textures just waiting to be created from the everyday items in your kitchen draws! Pretty much all tools and gadgets from homeware stores are food-safe, so go to town! You never know what you’ll create until you try, and making a mess is all part of the fun! The best part is you can always eat the evidence!