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A Cascade of Snowflakes

Martha Stewart Weddings, 2004

This cake is as magical as the season's first flurry. Snowflakes made from royal icing are miniature at the top of the cake and larger at the bottom, giving the impression of a gracefully drifting snowfall. The tiers are frosted smoothly with Swiss meringue to resemble tightly packed snow.

Tools and Materials
Snowflake images in various shapes and sizes (select from computer fonts or clip-art books)
Baking pan
Parchment paper
Clear tape
Medium pastry bag fitted with an Ateco #2 round tip
Royal icing
Tweezers
Decorations such as white dragees or celeri
Pearl-dust food coloring
Lemon extract
Unused paintbrush
Offset spatula.

Snowflakes How-To
1. Photocopy snowflakes, reducing or enlarging them to be 3/4 to 4 inches.

2. Tape photocopies and then parchment paper onto back of baking pan.

3. Fill pastry bag with royal icing. Holding bag so tip is 1/8 inch above parchment paper, pipe icing to trace snowflake. Before icing dries, trace over snowflake two more times and add decorations with tweezers, if desired. Repeat for all. Let piped snowflakes dry 2 hours before painting or removing from parchment paper.

4. For a glimmering effect, mix pearl-dust food coloring with lemon extract (make small batches, since extract evaporates quickly), and brush on in a thin layer. Let dry, then use an offset spatula to carefully lift snowflakes from parchment paper. Icing snowflakes may be stored in a single layer in an airtight container for several weeks.