Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Royal Icing Cactus

I've been meaning to try my hand at piping some desert-inspired decorations, so naturally I started with a cactus. To pipe cacti, you'll need stiff consistency green icing in a bag fitted with a #8 tip and a coupler, white icing in a bag fitted with a round #1 tip (thinner consistency than "stiff" is ideal when using a #1 tip), a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 blend of powdered sugar and cornstarch, several pre-made drop flowers (unless you have the mad skills needed to pipe flowers directly on the finished cacti), a #2 tip…
…and a piece of parchment paper taped to a cookie sheet. 
 Start by piping a line of icing with the #8 tip. If there's a peak left when you stop the pressure and pull the tip away, touch a fingertip to the dusting pouch and tap it down.
 Pipe the "arms" of the cactus. To pipe the one on the right, I held the tip against the right side of the center line and piped a "J". The arm on the left is overlapping onto the center line, just to give the cactus some depth. Set the cacti to dry for about an hour (you can speed up the drying time by placing them under a desk lamp).
 Pipe some drop flowers and allow them to dry.
 Switch the tip on the green bag to the round #2. Pipe a dot onto the backs of a few flowers…
 …and stick them on. As you've probably imagined, this exact species of cactus exists only in my mind; I might have taken some artistic/scientific liberties with its design.
 Pipe some "spines" with the white icing and the #1 tip. Allow the cacti to dry overnight, then plant them on any desert- or Southwestern-themed cake (or even a cake celebrating water conservation). They'd look great surrounded by brown sugar sand!

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