Sunday, February 5, 2012

Royal Icing Chain of Hearts

This was truly an experiment; I had no idea if it would work. I wanted to attempt to make an interlocking chain of hearts made of royal icing to drape from one tier of a cake to another. I figured there must be plenty of tutorials on creating such a thing, but finding none, came up with this. First, I found a classic heart-shaped outline online and made a template consisting of a dozen of them:
I printed it out and taped it to a cookie sheet:
Then I taped a piece of parchment paper over it:
I loaded a pastry bag with pink royal icing and a #8 round tip. When I traced the hearts with the pastry bag, I kept the tip just inside the outline. On each row of three hearts I piped a full heart, a right half, and a left half. On the beginning and ending edges of the halves, I used a straight spatula to slice away the rough edges, so they would have a better chance of fitting flush together when dry:
Here's a whole sheet of piped outlines, drying. I gave them about 7 hours. 
You can tell royal icing is ready to be removed from parchment paper when it slides off easily. On some of the pieces I slid an offset spatula underneath to loosen them, and on others I gently slid my hand underneath the parchment and peeled it away from behind:
As with all royal icing projects, it's a good idea to make leftovers to allow for breakage. If the pieces break, though, they can generally be glued back together with more royal icing. Here's the first piece I endeavored to remove; when it popped successfully off the paper, I knew the others were probably ready:
I laid all of the pieces out, just to get an idea of how they'll all fit together. Bear in mind, the pattern is to lay a pair of halves in between two wholes…
…and try to get the edges of the two halves to line up pretty closely. Squeeze some royal icing in between them, and cement the edges together. Keep a dusting pouch full of a 50/50 mix of cornstarch and powdered sugar; you can touch your fingertips to it and then tap out any roughness in the royal icing before it dries:
I was worried I might be stalled at three links until the middle one dried, but I was able to sneak another set of links on to one of the side hearts:
I'm going to let the icing harden a bit before moving on to more links at this point. Next time, I'm definitely inclined to try this with alternating colors. Tomorrow I'm taking a class in making tiered cakes, so I thought this might be a nice decoration for that project. Photos to come!

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