VARIOUS METHODS OF CAKE DECORATING
English- This method uses swinging curves of borders, piped flowers, and perfect execution of techniques. Color flow, as we
know it, was inspired by the run-in work of the English as well as the Australian and South African methods coming from the
The styles of the English method are:
•Nirvana Style - Cakes are completely, or almost completely, covered by "run-in" work (color flow, flood work) with a
porcelain finish and a high degree of architectural design resembling miniature buildings. Cakes are done in white or
very pale colors with deeper colors used for accents. This is a method of perfection - the ultimate.
•Over-piped Style (known as the Lambeth style made known by Joseph Lambeth) - piping and overpiping in graceful
curves and scrolls with some topped with precise, dainty lines done with complete accuracy. Lattice cushion work is
neat and delicate. Over-piped cakes are white or a pale color and often trimmed with an abundance of delicately
piped flowers in bright colors and usually have a bottom bevel. This method always has more overpiping than any
Australian- This is a dainty form of decorating with cakes being small, perfectly proportioned with meticulous work done to
perfection. Pale pastels are typically used and flowers are either piped or made of gumpaste and are never put on the cakes in
masses or heavy clusters but in a light, airy way. Extension work and embroidery done freehand, both being done with fine
tubes and well-controlled pressure, work, are found in the Australian method. Trim work is often done by making small lace
pieces on nails and applying them to the sides of the cake. Crimper work, ribbon insertion and tulle with intricate lace designs
are also seen in this method of decorating.
South African- This method of cake decorating consists of two separate styles:
•Lacework Style- Fancy, elaborate lace pieces, known as "wings," are piped using fine tubes with the main lines being
over-piped to create an airy feeling and rise above the tiers to give dramatic highlights. To create a soft, cushioned
effect on the edges of the cake, similar to the Over-piped English style, trellis work or lattice work is built up. Net
nails are also used to create lace and lattice shapes, curves and scrolls that are over-piped, and "hollow line work"
(over-piped scrolls). This method elaborates on the English and Australian methods.
•Run-in Style - These cakes feature china-like run-in work based on the Nirvana style. The work is done as three
dimensional to create a dramatic effect.
In the South African method of cake decorating, piped flowers done in royal icing or handmade from gumpaste or marzipan
play a large part in the decorating. They are delicately, realistically and perfectly executed .
Mexican- The Mexican method is colorful and theatrical with life-like gumpaste figurines that are intricately dressed. The
realistic room settings or formal gardens, done in previous time periods, are done to scale from pastillage. A cake drum made
from pastillage is used to display the work and placed on the cake. This method has very little border or side work done on the
Philippines -A dramatic centerpiece displaying the decorator's skills best describes this method. Large tubes are used in
creating sculptural effects with curved borders. Abundant flowers are put in sprays, bouquets, and fountains. These dainty,
gracefully executed cakes with neat, precise work are done in harmonizing pastel colors.
Oriental String Work- Cakes are covered in royal icing and feature intricate patterned string work that begins at the center of
the cake extending over the edge and dropping to the bottom of the cake. The same pattern, formed in an oval shape, is
repeated on the top half. All work is even and uniform in size.
Recommended reading on the various methods of cake decorating:
The Art of Confectionery- George Cox
Lambeth Method of Cake Decoration- Joseph A. Lambeth
The Art of Sugarcraft - Lace and Filigree - Nicholas Lodge
The Art of Sugarcraft - Piping -Nicholas Lodge
The Bride's Choice - Wedding Cakes from South Africa-
Advanced Piping & Cake Designs - Nirvana
Decorated Cakes and Confectionery- Nirvana
South African Sugar Art- Margie Smuts
Australian and New Zealand Cake Decorating- Marie Sykes
and Patricia Simmons
Cake Design and Decoration - Bernice Vercoe and Dorothy
EvansThe Wilton Way of Cake Decorating - Volume Two