The Lambeth Piping Method: Classic, Intricate, Beautiful
When the announcement of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal engagement came through the wire, royal family watchers and fans wanted to know all the details of their impending wedding, including who was going to design their destined-to-be magnificent cake?
The enormously exciting task of the royal cake design was given to British designer Fiona Cairns, and she created an eight-tiered, beautifully delicate cake inspired by the Lambeth style. (You wouldn’t expect Wills and Kate to have an 18-tiered topsy-turvy splatter cake, would you?) While the cake was traditional looking, it also had a modern feel in the sense that vintage cakes have become modern in their current popularity. View the royal wedding cake here.
Fiona noted that the cake design was based loosely based on the classical Lambeth method, a royal icing over-piping technique originated in the UK and popularized in the 1930s by Joseph Lambeth upon the publication of his book on royal icing over-piping for cakes. The technique creates dazzling, intricate depth using layers of over-piping.
The royal wedding brought classic techniques, like the Lambeth piping method, back into style.
There are many ways to take the classic, vintage style of the Lambeth method and modernize it, perhaps by using colored royal icing on vibrantly colored fondant, for a fun twist.
Cake artist Wendy Kromer has modernized the royal icing piped look — her style is unmatched in both color palette and piping technique. Let’s take a look at a few of her cakes.
You know those beautiful, jaw-dropping cakes you see on the cover of Martha Stewart Weddings? Wendy has created many original designs for Martha Stewart and her piping skills are amazing. The cake shown here is a lemon cake with black currant buttercream, covered in a natural looking, pale dusky rose colored fondant and piped with royal icing, similar to the Lambeth method style.
Photo via Wendy Kromer
Here, a trio of pure white wedding cakes, each piped with precision, sit on cake pedestals of varying tiers. These would be perfect for an ultra romantic, traditional yet modern wedding.
Photo via Wendy Kromer
The draping, tiny pearl border and ruffly shell bordering the top of this cake makes me want to whip up a batch of royal icing and start practicing.
Wendy teaches this technique in her online class Learning the Lambeth Method. Over the course of 9 lessons, she shows you from start to finish how to get a stiff and strong royal icing, as well as how to get comfortable with using royal icing, how to pipe basic techniques, which later become the foundation for over-piping more intricate designs, as well as ruffly scalloped tapered borders.