Licorice Delight

This chic confection features black lace licorice wrapped around pristine tiers covered in fondant. We set it on a painted wooden cake board that's 16 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick. You'll need a fine-tip natural-bristle paintbrush to attach the licorice laces.

  • Servings: 180

Photography: Sang Ann

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer

Ingredients

  • 1 each 8-inch and 12-inch round cake tiers, filled to 3-inch height
  • 1 each 6-, 10-, and 14-inch round cake tiers, filled to 3-inch height
  • Filling of your choice for tiers
  • Frosting of your choice for crumb coat
  • 13 pounds rolled fondant (1 1/2 pounds for the 6-inch tier, 2 for the 8-inch, 2 1/2 for the 10-inch, 3 for the 12-inch, and 4 for the 14-inch)
  • 12 3 1/8-inch-long 1/4-inch wooden dowels
  • 18 4 1/8-inch-long 1/4-inch wooden dowels
  • Corn syrup
  • 1 one-pound package soft black licorice laces
  • 1/2 recipe recipe Royal Icing Royal Icing
  • Paste food color in black

Directions

  1. Prepare tiers: Place each tier on a piece of foam board cut to fit it. Split the cake layer horizontally, and fill it to the specified height using whatever filling you desire. Spread the assembled tier with a thin layer of frosting to seal in crumbs, and chill until the crumb coat is set, about 30 minutes. Roll out the fondant for the tier 1/8 inch thick, following the package directions. Remove the tier from the refrigerator, and working quickly, lift fondant, center it over the tier, gently lay it on tier, and smooth it in place; trim excess fondant from bottom edge using a pizza wheel. Let coated tiers sit at room temperature in a cool place; do not refrigerate.

  2. Support and stack tiers: First insert 1/4-inch dowels in all but the top tier, placing them about 2 1/2 inches from the edge and spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart. To stack the tiers, first place the bottom tier on the platter or cake board, using a rubber nonslip mat under the foam board to keep the tier from slipping. Then stack on the other tiers, brushing fondant at center of tiers lightly with water so it becomes sticky.

  3. Decorate tiers with licorice laces: To ensure perfectly straight lines of licorice, use a ruler and a cake tester to poke holes lightly marking the path of each licorice strand, using the photograph as a guide. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons corn syrup and 1 teaspoon water; this will act as the glue for the licorice. For each licorice lace, spear one end of the lace to the back of the cake with a straight pin. Brush corn-syrup mixture on the inside of the lace, and attach lace to the cake along the line you marked. Continue around the cake, piecing laces together if necessary; when you’ve reached the back again, cut the lace so ends meet, and anchor the end with another straight pin. Allow the glue to dry for about 1 hour before removing the pins.

  4. Add royal icing decorations: Once all of the stripes have been attached, tint 1 cup royal icing black, and place it in a pastry bag fitted with a coupler and an Ateco #1 round tip; pipe a dotted-Swiss pattern onto the upper section of the 14-inch tier and the lower section of the 12-inch tier, and onto the upper section of the 8-inch tier. Change to a #3 round tip, and pipe an open-dot border around the bottom edges of the 14-, 10-, and 8-inch tiers. Tie extra licorice laces into three bows, and secure to cake using royal icing; hold in place with straight pins if necessary until the icing has dried (approximately 20 minutes).

  5. Display cake: Once cake has been placed on the table where it will be displayed, attach licorice laces to the upper and lower edges of the cake board with hot glue or white royal icing.

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