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Expert cake decorating tips from Renshaw Academy

A trio of handy hints from the Renshaw Academy team of experts:

Emma Chamberlain, Francezka Bell and Tracy Howard

Basic Modelling Shapes for Cake Decoration

Emma Chamberlain – Modelling may seem quite a daunting prospect when you see a figure as a whole but if you can visually break the model down into basic key shapes this will make the whole process easier to recreate. Key shapes for modelling are a ball, a cone or egg shape, an oval, a sausage shape and a rope. Most elements of a modelled figure are made from these shapes, or variations of them. Once you get started, you can really begin to develop and experiment with your modelling skills.

For basic models use Renshaw Ready to Roll Icing mixed with a little Tylose powder or Gum Tragacanth, this gives added strength.   Ready to Roll Icing comes in 28 colours and with the added gum it gives a great texture for modelling.

The new Renshaw modelling paste is perfect for more advanced and intricate models. It contains cocoa butter which keeps the icing supple whilst you work on your piece.  It also helps with the smoothing out of marks and reshaping if necessary. You can colour the icing using Rainbow Dust Progel or Plain and Simple Dust colour ranges.

No matter the type of Icing you choose for your models it’s important to remember to knead it before use, this will ensure that the gums and fats within the icing have been activated. You’ll know it’s ready when it has no cracks on the surface when rolled into a smooth ball. Practice this step at the start of any modelling and this will give you a smooth and even finish on the model you are creating.

What’s also great about modelling paste is that you can make your models, toppers and floral designs well in advance so that you don’t have to bake, cover and decorate a cake all on the same day. Store your decorations in a cardboard box away from sunlight in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to use them.


Francezka Bell – If, like me, you’re a real chocoholic and love to use chocolate in almost everything, then why not cover your cake in it? No, I’m not talking about chocolate ganache. I’m talking about using the new chocolate modelling paste!

Renshaw’s new Belgian Chocolate Modelling Paste is not only perfect for modelling but also tastes delicious too.  But did you know you could mix it with Ready to Roll Icing to get the perfect covering for your cake?

It’s so easy.  Simply knead the Belgian Chocolate Modelling Paste to soften, add it to double the amount of your Renshaw Ready to Roll Icing and mix thoroughly until completely combined. This will create the ideal paste to cover your cake. Not only is it easy to work with but it’s great to eat too. Chocoholics rejoice!

Easy-to-do metallic cakes

Tracy Howard – Don’t you just love the trend for a whole metallic tier on a cake, but perhaps you’ve not been quite sure how to achieve that perfect finish?  The metallic range from Rainbow Dust could provide you with the answer.

Time can be a real issue when painting a complete tier of a cake design, or sometimes even the whole cake! This is especially true if you’re using a paintbrush to complete the task.  Then there’s the added issue of not wanting to leave brush marks which could detract from the finished look.  There’s no need to worry though, simply add a few drops of water to any of the Rainbow Dust metallic paints to thin them a little so allowing you to use these paints through your airbrush.  You shouldn’t have problems using these metallic paints through an airbrush as long as you remember to give the paint mix a good stir before pouring it into your airbrush colour-well. Before you start airbrushing directly onto your cake tier, it’s always a good idea to have a couple of practise sprays onto a piece of kitchen paper just to make sure that the paint is flowing freely through the nozzle. Once you’re happy with the flow, you can start to airbrush your cake. Build up light layers, don’t over spray and this method should give you a beautiful even and smooth finish.

Happy Decorating!

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