Until I find a more “perfect” method, this is the one that I use for how to make cummerbund bands. It really is not “perfect” because in life (and cake!), nothing is perfect, but we can sure try for perfect. Sometimes we can say that “perfect” is a sure-fire, time-saving way of streamlining something difficult into something not so tricky after all. I am always looking for something new to learn at Craftsy. So maybe “Elegant Lace Cakes” with Zoe Clark or “Fondant Ruffles, Pleats & Drapes” with Marsha Winbeckler will make me abandon my methods? Or maybe they will add to my cake skills toolbox? Those classes are on my radar and we will see the outcome, once I review the classes….but until then….
Find yourself some thin dowels and attach them with a speck of non-toxic glue, or you can order long dowels online. The longest and thinnest I have seen are 36” by 1/8”, the ones I used were 12” by ¼”. Also, have a couple of long rulers in the width you’d like your pleats to be. (Make sure they are the same size!)
Sprinkle some powdered sugar on your tabletop and over the dowel that you are using. Roll out your fondant, 50/50 paste or gumpaste to the length appropriate for the circumference of your tier. (My 10” tier needed at least 31.4”….circumference = diameter (of cake tier) x 3.14 or 22/7…remember all your math formulas?)
Tip: Make sure it is wide enough to accommodate your two rulers and an extra inch or so.
Lay your fondant or 50/50 paste over the length of the dowel, aiming to get the dowel in the center of your strip.
Using your pinkies and sides of your hands, press a crease down along the sides of the dowel. Don’t press too hard, just enough to make contact with the table.
Make sure you press along the entire length of the dowel, remember—along the sides, not on the top.
Line up your rulers flush against the dowel, press in snugly, but not so hard as to cut through the fondant.
If your fondant or paste seems sticky, you can dust the rulers with a bit of sugar before you proceed to fold the fondant over the rulers down along the entire length of the rulers.
Using a wheeled cutter, trim the excess paste by cutting down on the ruler. You should leave at least ½’ border on each side of the pleats. Once the trimming is complete and you have your creases, carefully slide out the rulers.
At this point you can slide out the dowel very carefully so that you don’t disturb your fold. Optionally, you can secure the edges with a damp brush where the rulers were with a bit of water or vodka.
Pinch your middle crease together and fold up along the entire length of the cummerbund, but do not secure with water or vodka….just press it down along the length, keeping it straight and only pinching where the dowel was. You will see why in later steps.
Carefully flip your cummerbund over and make sure you orient it so that you will apply it to your cake with the crease facing up. Apply water or vodka to your cake surface where you are putting your band.
Wrap your cummerbund around the cake tier, making sure it lines up flush against the side of your cake, press only enough to adhere to cake. You don’t want to smash your cummerbund! It has feelings, you know.
Let your band overlap and make your desired cut through the band and the band underneath that is already attached to cake.
Remove the excess cummerbund from your cut on top, and the little piece underneath the cut. This will ensure your band lines up neatly.
Now you can take a straight or curved fondant tool (either works as long as it is slender and NOT sharp) and create a bit of space in your pleat. Your artistic flair comes in to play here, as you can open it to your liking. Just be careful you don’t stab through it and ruin your hard work. If this had been secured with water or vodka in Step 10 you would not be able to work your “flair”
You can do multiple pleats, as in the half-tier example I did with smaller rulers. You can use two dowels and three rulers. Or you can use just two rulers by securing your bottom pleat first and then moving the ruler over the top ruler to form another pleat next to the second dowel. I used a larger ruler for tutorial purposes, so you can make your cummerbund pleats whatever width your cake design requires. I leave you with one more step that has no picture, and that is: Have fun, practice, practice, practice and happy pleating!!!
Tutorial: “Perfectly” Pleated Cummerbund Bands
Skill Level: Beginner/ Intermediate
- Fondant Tool
- Non-toxic Glue
- Powdered Sugar
- Wheel Cutter
Modern Buttercream Free Class!
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Joanne’s love of pastry started with earning her Girl Scout baking badge! Since then, she has graduated from the French Culinary Institute and The New School in NYC, where she also completed an internship with Gail Watson Custom Cake. Joanne has advanced training with industry experts such as Nicholas Lodge,...