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Add the juice and whisk until the mixture turns into a thick paste. Keep whisking on a high speed for a couple of minutes. You may need to add a little more lemon juice at this stage. You should be left with a glossy icing, which is stiff enough to use for piping, but soft enough so that your piped lines will not break.


Assembling the whole cake


Smooth a blob of royal icing over the centre of the iced cake drum. Place the base tier of your cake in the centre and use a cake paddle to gently push the cake down to help it stick.


Push a dowelling rod into the centre of the base tier. Insert a further four rods in a square around your central rod making sure they are close enough to support and be hidden by the cake above.


Line up the rods with a ruler, to ensure they are vertically straight, and use the edible pen to mark on the rods where they meet the sugar paste.


Remove the rods and cut them down with a hacksaw to the pen mark. Make sure that the rods are level with the cake tops and don’t stick up (you can rub their tops with sandpaper if you need to smooth their tops). These will take the weight of the tier on top. Wash and dry the rods before re-inserting them.


Smooth a generous blob of icing over the centre of the cake and place the next tier on top.


Repeat the rodding process with the middle tier before placing on the top tier.


Attaching ribbon


Place your iced, rodded and stacked cake on a turntable. Wrap the ribbon around each tier, one at a time to measure how long each length will need to be, leaving a little overlap. Cut the ribbon to length.


Choose the least attractive view of your cake as the back and attach one end of the ribbon with a small blob of royal icing. Wrap the ribbon quite tautly around the cake and secure it in place with another blob of royal icing. Repeat with the remaining tiers, making sure all the ribbon joins are at the back.


For the cake drum, scrape a non-toxic glue stick around the edge. Stick the ribbon around it.


Decorating the cake


For the final step in making your own wedding cake, fill the piping bag with the royal icing and place your prepared cake on a turntable. Starting with the top tier, just above the ribbon, pipe even-sized pearls in rows of between 1 and 5, all the way around the cake.


To create a pearl, hold your bag so that the nozzle is facing, head-on, the point on the cake that you want to ice, without actually touching it. Gently apply a little pressure with your thumb at a steady rate. Once you have created a pearl of the desired size, release the pressure and remove the nozzle quickly. If you have unwanted high peaks on your pearls, you can use a paintbrush dampened with water to smooth them out.


Once you have created an initial line of pearls, continue to pipe more randomly. There should be more pearls gathered at the bottom of the tier, so the top of each cake will be less crowded with pearls.


Repeat the process all around the sides of the middle and base tiers, then pipe a few pearls on the iced cake drum for design unity. By the time you have finished piping the cake drum, the top tier will have set and be ready to be hand painted.


In a small bowl, mix half and half of snowflake and champagne lustre dusts. Add enough rejuvenator fluid to the lustre powder to create a paint, then mix together with the paintbrush.


Carefully dab each piped pearl with the lustre. As you work, the alcohol will evaporate from the lustre dust, so you will need to top it up every now and then with a little more rejuvenator fluid.


Boutique Wedding Cakes by Victoria Glass, photography by Laura Forrester, is published by Ryland Peters & Small, priced £19.99.


www.lifebeginsmagazine.com Life Begins 25


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