A little while back I enrolled with, and finished, a sugarcraft course at my local college in Nottingham. It was a great course, but a few weeks from the end I fell in the freak snow weather we had in February, and broke my elbow. Unfortunately for me this means I missed the last few lessons of the course, but I kept in contact with my lovely tutor. She is now re-running the course and has invited me back to re-sit the lessons I never got to attend. This week I learnt about brush embroidery.
I like the look of brush embroidery. You don't see it used very often nowadays but it makes a nice change from plain old royal icing and I think it would look nice on the side of a cake. I took a few photos at class where we practiced on some blue sugarpaste plaques and I thought it might be of interest for you to see how I did it:
1. Make a small amount of royal icing and a small piping bag from baking paper. Insert a decorating nozzle, I use a tip no. 1 to pipe my image but you could use any size that you're comfortable with. Fill the bag with a small amount of icing (you only need a few tablespoons worth) and get a good paintbrush ready with a small amount of water in a bowl nearby.
2. Trace the image you want to use onto tracing paper and lay it over the surface you want to decorate like a cake or icing plaque. If doing this on a cake, you could secure the paper with a blob of royal icing.
3. Re-trace your image with a sharp object, like a pin tool, so it leaves an impression on your surface.You could also use a pin to make pin marks and follow those instead.
4. Pipe a small line of icing and using a fine paintbrush dipped in water, be careful not to overwet the brush as you only want it damp. Using broad downward strokes, pull the icing down from the line in a continous stroke towards the centre of your image. Continue to do this all of the way along your line and work quickly as the royal icing sets fast.
5. Follow your image doing a small section at a time. The image should start to look transparent with a thick white line around it.
6. The final image will dry quickly and can be created with any colour royal icing. Some people use buttercream to do this effect but I haven't tried it yet. I think this will look great on romantic/wedding cakes. I'd love to try it on a cupcake one day!
Hope you find this useful, and let me know you get on with it!