Borders are more than something to put on the edge of the cake to fill it out.
They enhance the lines of your cake, which also means that mistakes can be amplified, so rather than hiding your cake, a border frames your hard work, and becomes part of the design.
Borders can be simple or elaborate, and simple doesn’t always mean plain.
I almost exclusively use a number 17 or 18 star tip to pipe my borders, as I have done here on my “Maison Des Fleurs” cake. This border was piped in Royal Icing, because I wanted a crisp white, and also the ridged structure of Royal Icing, to hold up the Buttercream flowers I was planning to attach.
There a lot of simple borders out there, and one you get the hang of it, you can adapt them to suit your design.
Piping buttercream, and borders in general, is all about even pressure. Its about matching the speed that you move along the cake, with the amount of pressure you apply to your piping bag.
It takes practice, a lot of it, to get really good. Elaborate styles like Lambeth and Overpiping look fantastic, but they all start with basic techniques that are built on, and perfected.
As you can see here in my “Maison Des Fleurs” Wedding Cake, a border can really set off your cake (and provide some much needed support for flowers!). I used the ‘Reverse Scroll’ technique, which is actually easier than it looks.
Its really just a ‘question mark’ and ‘reverse question mark’ pattern, but the trick is too make sure you get each question mark even! I like to talk to my Buttercream, yes I’m odd, but seriously, if you repeat the same phrase each time you do something, your body matches the rhythm instinctively. Question mark, reverse question mark, question mark… Give it a try!
Practice, practice, practice
I know you’ve heard it before, but it really does comes down to practice. The more you do something, not only do you get better at it, but your body gets used to the movements, also known as ‘muscle memory’ (its how I talk, answer questions and demonstrate at the same time!)
Get some piping tips, some Basic Buttercream, and a chopping board, and get creative!
Viva La Buttercream x