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Ask The Expert: Emma Jayne

Emma Jayne is our expert of the month. She is an award-winning cake artist who regularly holds impressive cake decorating classes at Renshaw Academy. She has created a range of impressive cake designs including the beautiful Angela dress and Christmas Bulldog. Find out more at:

Fruit Cake Tips

Q: I have left it too late to make a fruit cake for Christmas, do you have any ideas of what I can do?

A: If you have left it too late to make a fruit cake for Christmas, you can purchase ready made fruit cakes from a cake supplier or buy online.

Piping Royal Icing

Q: I find it really difficult to pipe royal icing and shake a lot, what can I do?

A: If you find it difficult to pipe royal icing, make sure you have made your icing to the right consistency to pipe. It needs to be soft peak consistency where the peak falls over when mixing, this is ideal for piping most detail on cakes. If your hands shake, use your other hand to support your piping hand.

Sticky Fondant fix

Q: My fondant sticks to my board when rolling out, what am I doing wrong?

A: If you find your fondant sticks to your work surface whilst rolling out, make sure you have plenty of icing sugar dusted on your surface before rolling. Moving the paste around whilst rolling also helps as you can add more icing sugar if needed.

Shiny Cake Finish

Q: I want a really shiny finish on my cake, what can I use?

A: The best way to achieve a shiny finish on your cake is to steam with a professional cake steamer. These are well worth the investment as they can be used for more than one purpose e.g. steaming sugar flowers. Another method is using equal parts of vodka and clear corn syrup, mixing together and brushing on. Once dry, more coats can be added to make a shinier effect.

Gold Leaf

Q: What is the best way to apply gold leaf?

A: I buy my gold leaf on transfer papers. This makes it much easier to apply as the gold leaf stays on the transfer paper until applied and then you simply peel away. Brush water in small sections on your cake before applying and work around the cake until completely covered.

Create your own glue

Q: How can I make my own glue?

A: Making your own edible glue is more cost effective. I use Rainbow Dust Tylo powder added to water and shake well. Leave overnight to disperse and thicken until it is clear and smooth. You can adjust the thickness of the glue by adding more or less powder, practise makes perfect!

Edible Glitter

Q: What is the best option for edible glitter?

A: The best option is Rainbow Dust’s edible glitter range. It comes in various colours and different effects with two toned colours. I particularly like the Halloween colour which is a mix of black and orange and is so effective and 100% edible.

Christmas Sponge Cake

Q: What is the best way of infusing Christmas flavours into my sponge?

A: I would use spices added to my sponge mix. There’s nothing like ground cinnamon and mixed spices to add flavour and they smell so good! Don’t be afraid to experiment with flavours.

Applying Sprinkles

Q: What is the best way to apply sprinkles to the side of a cake?

A: I apply sprinkles to the sides of my cakes by placing the cake in a large tray. Brush the surface with piping gel and sprinkle the cake, ensuring every part is covered. You can use a large spoon to pick up excess on the tray and keep applying.

Sugar Decorations

Q: How long do sugar decorations last?

A: Hand sculpted sugar decorations made with modelling paste can be kept for quite some time. Most of these are not meant for eating as they have supports in them and are just meant for decoration. They can last for a few years on display in dry air conditions.

Ribbon Safety

Q: Should I apply ribbon to the side of a cake? Is it safe to do so?

A: Yes, it is safe to apply ribbon to the side of a cake. It can be glued together with a little royal icing or double sided tape as long as the tape is not in contact with the cake.