Ribbons, pearls and piped borders can definitely be the perfect finishing touch to a cake. But sometimes, true elegance and simplicity is achieved without the encumbrance of any type of border between your tiers. These two quick and easy techniques will help you executive a neat cut at the bottom of every cake and eliminate the need for borders altogether.
Photo via The Royal Bakery
This tutorial demonstrates two simple methods you can use to cut perfectly neat edges on the bottom of your cake tiers, totally eliminating the need for ribbons and other borders.
For both methods you will need a small, very sharp knife. If you don’t have a knife sharpener, you can sharpen your knife on the rough underside of any china cup or mug. Just draw the flat edge of the knife along the unglazed ring on the bottom of a cup or mug. Repeat five or six times on each side.
Step 1: Cover your cake as normal, trimming the excess fondant off around the bottom of the tier. Leave about 1/2" - 1" of fondant.
Step 2: Use your fingers to very gently push the excess fondant in toward the bottom of the cake. You do this to make sure the fondant is pressed right up against the board the cake is sitting on.
Step 3: Take a small, very sharp knife and place the blade flat against the side of the cake. Start cutting, keeping the blade flat against the side of the cake, and holding the knife at about a 45° angle.
I’ve pulled a small section of the excess away so you can see that you are cutting through it to leave a perfectly straight cut that is flush with the bottom of the cake.
Step 4: Continue to cut the excess off slowly all the way around the cake. If you find your knife starts to stick, clean it with a damp cloth, dry the knife and continue.
Once all the excess has been cut away, give the cake one last polish with your fondant smoother.
The second method involves raising the cake up slightly so you can use the board it is sitting on as a guide to achieving a perfect cut.
Step 1: Stack a number of non-slip circles on your turntable. These are sold in packs of four to help grip the lids of jars and I buy them from my local dollar store. If you can’t find these, you can use anything with a diameter smaller than the cake you are working on, and secure it with pieces of no-slip shelf liner.
Step 2: Place your cake on the non-slip circles and cover it in fondant as usual. Trim off the excess leaving between 1/2" and 1".
Step 3: You will be using the bottom of the cake board as a guide for cutting away the excess fondant. Insert the knife carefully into the fondant and hold it flush against the bottom of the board. I find the most efficient way to remove the excess fondant is to move the knife inward and to the left in one motion. Then remove the knife, wipe it, dry it and repeat. If you use a sawing motion, you might find the fondant drags and you don’t achieve the neat cut you are hoping for. You might find your knife is sharp enough just for you to hold it in one place and slice all the way around.
Once you have your perfectly finished cake, you can choose a sleek and elegant design to adorn it. Why not try some of the contemporary techniques taught by Jessica Harris in her Clean & Simple Cake Design class?