Yesterday I shared with you the mustache themed baby shower cake I made over the weekend.
Today I am going to share a tutorial on how to make the argyle pattern I put on the bottom cake. There is also a tip afterwards for writing nicely on cake toppers, so stay tuned till the end.
Argyle prints are really cute and versatile. They work great on baby shower cakes as well as Father’s Day cakes or really cakes for any age. They can also be for any gender, just switch up the color scheme to match your desires.
There is a fast, easy way to do argyle or a slightly more challenging way. The fast and easy way involves just cutting out squares to the size you want and then placing them point to point around the cake until they meet. The only problem with this is that often they will overlap once they meet. If this doesn’t bother you then just make sure you make that the back of your cake. Also, the “diamonds” will actually be a tilted square instead of an actual diamond. Again, this really isn’t a problem and that actually may be the look you prefer. But, if you want to have a true diamond shape and you want to make sure your diamonds measure perfectly around your cake without overlapping, then read on for a process that requires a little bit more effort and a little bit of math, but is really worth it.
You need to start with a prepared cake. I had covered my cake with blue fondant. You can also use a cake that is just covered in a crusting icing but you will have to be a lot more careful with this first step if you do, so that you don’t mess up your icing job.
Take some receipt tape (you can get it at Walmart or even the grocery store) and wrap a piece around your cake, marking with a pencil where it meets back on itself once wrapped completely around. Lay out your tape and measure the length with a long ruler. Make note of it. My length was just a tad over 32 1/2″ for this 10″ round cake.
Now measure the height of your cake. I used a bench scraper and held it up to the side of the cake to see that I had a height of just under 4 1/2″. Take note of this measurement as well.
Now here is where the math comes in. (Yay! I have more proof for my daughter that you do use math in real life.) You need to decide how many diamonds high you want your argyle print to be. I wanted mine to be 3 high. Now take the height of your cake and divide it by that number. Since my cake is just under 4 1/2″ I used 4 1/2″ as my height number because I could then have the tips just barely wrap over the top of the cake. So 4.5 divided by 3 = 1.5. That tells me that the height of my diamonds need to be 1 1/2″.
Next, take your receipt tape and fold it in half, width wise. Now fold it in half again, and again, and again. Continue folding until the width of it gets to be somewhere close to the size of the height of your diamond. You will find there will be a perfect point to stop because it will be definitely too big just before the final fold and definitely too small if you fold any more.
Now measure the width of this remaining rectangle. The width of mine was 1 1/8”. Unfold your tape and cut one of the rectangles out. Fold it in half lengthwise and widthwise to get the center points of all the sides. Use the edge of a ruler to draw a line from each of the center points to its adjacent points. Cut on the lines and you now have a diamond. (I forgot to take a picture of it once it was cut out.) This is the diamond shape that should fit perfectly both going around your cake and up and down your cake.
If you happen to have diamond cutters, check and see if you have any that are the size you need. I was fortunate to find that I had a cutter that was the exact size I needed. This makes quick work of cutting out all the diamonds.
If you don’t have cutters, or you don’t have any that are the size you need, you can either use your paper diamond as a pattern to cut around or you can use the measurements of it and cut out the diamonds on a grid cutting mat.
To do this, thinly roll out your fondant then use a knife or bench scraper to cut out strips of fondant that are the width of the side points on your paper pattern. In my case I would cut out strips that are 1 1/8” wide. Use the lines on your mat as your guides.
Then use a knife or razor blade to cut out the lengths that are same length as the top to bottom points on your paper diamond. In my case this would be 1 ½”. Again, use the mat lines as guides. The bottom piece in this picture was discarded because it was too small, I only used the top pieces.
Separate your rectangles then either visualize where your center points are on all the sides or use a toothpick to mark your center points, again, using the mat lines are guides.
Now take a knife or razor blade and line it up on the points and cut out your diamond shape.
Once you have diamonds cut out, brush a little bit of water on the back of each diamond and attach it to your cake.
Start at the front and make your first line of diamonds, alternating colors.
Next, attach another row of diamonds on each side, making sure all the points touch each other.
Continue doing this all the way around the cake until you get to the back.
If everything was measured correctly, the diamonds should line up perfectly at the back. I like to start in the front and end in the back just in case I did something wrong and my ends don’t line up right. Fortunately I didn’t have any problems with this cake and it lined up perfect.
The final step is to add some black stitch marks. I made some chocolate royal icing and colored it black. I used the chocolate because it is much easier to dye chocolate icing black than it is to start with white icing. I then used a #1 round tip and piped the stitching in the center of each of the diamonds, first going in one direction.
And then coming back in the other.
Here is the final result.
Okay, now I am going to throw in one more trick I used on this cake. I hate, hate, hate writing on cakes! (Did I mention I hate it?) I have horrible handwriting on paper so it is even intensified when it comes to piping out words on cake. I usually try to avoid any writing but when I have to do it, I try to do it separate from the cake, as in this cake topper sign, so that I can use this handy trick.
I start by cutting out my sign from gumpaste ahead of time and letting it dry completely, usually two or three days. (I always cut out an extra piece, just in case I accidentally drop one and break it) For this sign I used a cutter to cut out the white portion of the sign then traced around the cutter on a piece of paper and enlarged it twice on my copy machine to make patterns for cutting out the black and green pieces.
I then measured the space I had for writing and went to my computer. I found a font I liked and printed it out in the size I needed.
I then turned the pattern over and used a non-toxic #2 pencil to cover the back of the lettering with pencil scribbles.
I placed the paper back on the gumpaste sign (you can line it up properly by holding both pieces up to a light) then traced back over the lettering, being careful not to press too hard and break the gumpaste.
Here is what I was left with.
I could now use my black royal icing with a #1 round tip and trace over the imprints. It still isn’t perfect but it is far nicer than it would be if I had free handed it.
I then layered all three of the sign pieces together and attached them with piping gel and added some small blue icing dots. Finally, I attached a lollipop stick to the back of it with some melted white chocolate then inserted it into the cake.
I hope you found these tutorials helpful. I’ve got several more cakes coming up over the next few weeks so you should be hearing more from me soon.
Until next time, God Bless and Sweet Dreams.
What size cake pans did you bake each tier with?
I used 6″ for the top, 8″ for the middle and 10″ for the bottom.