Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Lambeth: old cake decorating technique

Joseph A. Lambeth began winning awards for cake decorating as early as 1911 in England. He went on to win competitions as an American citizen in the 1920s. As a recognized master, teacher, and author in the field, his work became well known throughout the world.

Linda Dobson, as established Maryland cake artist, demonstrates her 'quick' version of this incredible art for us. She has described the technique as 'elegant, intricate, Victorian, Baroque, three-dimensional, and time consuming but rewarding.'

Note: You will see that this technique requires many layers of overpiping, and each application should be left to dry before proceeding. Use this time as an opportunity to move on to another step.

You Will Need:

A cake circle or board at least four inches larger than the cake and lots of extremely smooth icing. You should prepare gumpaste roses and daffodils ahead of time.

It is very important to ice the cake with a crumb coating. It will be of particular value, not only for its sealing function, but because it will provide a surface for etching guidelines.

The top edges of Lambeth cakes are beveled at 45 degrees. To create that bevel, measure 1/2 inch in from the sides across the top of the cake to mark an inner circle. This can easily be accomplished by first cutting a wax paper circle one inch smaller in diameter than your cake - an 11 ' circle for a 12 ' cake, for example. Trace the circumference of inner circle into the crumb layer with a toothpick.

You must also measure 1/2 inch from the top of the cake down its side, and mark that line all the way around the cake. You can do this, and other side markings by placing the cake on a turntable. Mark a single spot at the correct height, then securely rest a skewer at the spot while slowly turning the cake.

Step 1-2:

Use a sharp knife to create the bevel by cutting off the top edge of the cake along a straight line between the two marked circles. With the knife at a 45 degree angle, use the upper part of the blade to cut along the top circle, and the lower part of the blade to follow the side circle. Crumb coat the exposed area created by the bevel. Allow the crumb coat to dry. Apply the final coating of icing.

Step 3:

From the base of the cake, measure and mark a spot 1/2 ' up the side. Use the turntable technique discussed above to create an even line around the perimeter of the cake.

Step 4-5:

Create a 'ramp' of icing from the marked line to the edge of your cake board with an angles spatula. This can best be accomplished by tilting the cake slightly upward. You are now ready to begin decorating.

Step 6:

Begin with a #199 decorating tube and medium to stiff consistency icing. Pipe a large shell border in the bevel around the top of the cake. Allow this, like every other application, to crust over before proceeding.

Step 7:

With a #16 tube, pipe a 'C' on each shell, keeping the inward curl of the 'C' in the top center of the shell, and the tail ending at the point where each shell meets the next. Allow to dry. Overpipe each 'C' with each of: #14, 13, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 tips, in that order. Allow each to dry before proceeding. Return later to finish with the tube #1 overpipe.

Step 8:

Using tube #14 pipe a scallop immediately below each shell. Overpipe each scallop with tubes #13, 4, 3, 2, and 1. Then, with tube #13, pipe a second row of scallops just below the first. Overpipe with tubes #3 and #2. Allow to dry thoroughly, and return later to finish with a #1 overpipe.

Step 9:

Pipe a scallop directly above each shell with a #14 tip. Then, with a #13 tube, pipe a second row immediately above the first.

Step 10-11:

On the 'ramp', create a basket weave using tubes #5 and #48. Mark the ramp in fourths around the cake, and pipe the basket weave in every other section. Use tube #5 for the straight lines extending outward from the cake. 'Weave' with the #48 tube. As you lay each set of #48 weaves across the #5 lines, note that to avoid gaps, the distance between the weaves should be no more than the width of the tip.

Finish the side edges of the basket weave and the inner edge of the 'ramp' with a simple #14 shell.

Above and below each shell at the base of the cake, pipe a #357 leaf extending up the side of the cake, and one going down the 'ramp'.

For the side trim, mark a line around the cake using the 'skewer' method described above. Then with a #103 rose tip, place the tip at a 45 degree angle to the cake and pipe out one petal. Turn tube opposite direction and beginning slightly behind the first petal, pipe another at a 45 degree angle. Using a criss-cross motion, work this fashion around the cake.

Fill a pastry bag with both green and pink icing. In the smooth ramp sections, pipe stems with a #3 tip and leaves with a #357 tip. This will create a beautiful two-color effect.

Step 12:

Arrange soft yellow and blush pink gum paste roses and buds and yellow daffodils with the stems and leaves. Add additional leaves as necessary. Finish the outer edge of the cake board with a #14 shell.

Step 13:

Create stems and leaves, and place gumpaste buds on the top of the cake.

Step 14:

Now is a good time to go back and add a #1 tip roping in an accent color to each top scallop. You can also add beadwork behind each scallop in piping gel using the same accent color.

Step 15:

Place gumpaste flowers to the top of the cake. Finish each side scallop with #1 strings in your accent color.

Step 16:

Add your #1 tip accents to the 'C's as described in step #7.

1 comment:

  1. you should credit your photographers! :) I especially like the photo of the one with the hearts on top!