Life's better with cake and a sprinkle of fairy dust
I’ve heard of edible lace for a while now, watched the Youtube videos, hankered after all the Sugarveil kits that the “experts” claim to be so easy to use. Honestly, I was quite put off by the costly molds and tools, and the many horror stories on the Web about it not working well in places with high humidity. Some months ago, I met a lady at baking school who made a beautiful dummy wedding cake with edible lace. She had accidentally acquired an extra set of Silikomart’s lace mold in Leaf Design, so I bartered for the mold with an extra copy of Debbie Brown’s Hot Cakes that I’d bought off eBay.
My local bakery supplies store doesn’t carry Sugarveil, so I looked for Silikomart’s tricot mix. Pricey little bag of dry mix for close to 20 bucks. I was determined to make my own. Read a ton of recipes, strangely most of them were written in Chinese (thank God for O-level Chinese!) by Chinese bakers in China or Taiwan, maybe sugar lace is a big thing there. After all, the bulk of these molds are produced in China.
Found a decent-sounding recipe, but decided to up the gum component, to compensate for all the rain we’ve been having around here and added some black food color powder. The paste came out very gummy and very, very thick, so I softened it a bit with some light corn syrup, fingers crossed that didn’t mess up the whole batch.
The special plastic spreading tool cost, like, 15 dollars on Amazon, so I bought a straight-edged plastic scraper from my bakery supplies store for a dollar. Worked like a dream.
Was I pleased with the result? For a first attempt, it looked very good and professional. It dried in less than 45 mins with the air-conditioning on. You pick off a little corner with your fingertips and if it doesn’t stretch or warp or stick, you basically continue to rip the lace away from the mold. The ingredients (only tiny amounts required, by the way) were things I already had in my cake-decorating larder, so it cost a tiny fraction of the commercially ready mix. For a non-baker, I’d say it’s probably more economical to buy the premix.
The recipe needs tweaking. The paste was too lumpy and difficult to spread without a fair amount of elbow grease (too much powder or gum?). Also there were some bits of white powder (cornstarch or meringue powder) that didn’t get mixed in thoroughly (despite sifting TWICE), and these showed up on some of the lace pieces. Also it takes some trial and error before one gets the hang of when to remove the lace. You can’t really tell by sight or touching the surface. The only way if to do the rip test, so be prepared to sacrifice a bit of the lace. That said, the dried lace stored very well. I rolled them around a clean rolling pin, so as not to crease them, and stored in a Ziploc bag until needed. They didn’t stick nor become stiff or limp. Exactly like lace, but edible.
I used the lace pieces on this 2-tier birthday cake with white fondant ruffles and black bows. Reminds one of naughty, girly lingerie, no?