Icing cake top

Susan May

PFG, Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
May 28, 2000
moved to Clermont, Florida
I have a customer who wants me to frame the icing roses that were on a wedding cake.

I already informend her that it might be a bug collector, but I would ask the powers that be... So, would you take a job like this? ...and how would you attack it?
Been there, done that.

However mine was 50 years old already. Very dry and had been in a china closet all that time with no bug problems.

What type of icing is it?
Some kinds will not be much of a bug problem.
Maybe shellac can be applied to seal the icing.
Maybe shellac can be applied to seal the icing.
I really don't know, but I would be afraid the shellac would react with the sugar and melt the flowers. We framed sugar flowers from a wedding cake, deep frame, black silk mat back/sides, a/r glass. Absolutely stunning. We did not treat the flowers and no problems so far (about four years ago). If I remember correctly, we advised against framing...she spent a fortune anyway. :D
There was a bit of a discussion on the Grumble a year or 2 ago. I ended up
turning the job down. Some of the reasons were: insects, breakage, condensation. There was some good info on the Wilton Cake Decorating site. Some of the cake decorators paint their sample cakes with several layers of, I think, acrylic varnish. They admitted that they had no idea as to the longevity of the process.

Condensation was a big concern for me. It's so easy to go from cold environment to really hot environment, as in out of the store, in a hot car and then in a cold house again or into a storage shed for 6 mo. That's like a mini rain shower and you just can't make some people believe that it WILL happen.

Shellac will turn white frosting, or nearly anything white, orange, yellow or amber toned.
Good point about the shellac turning things orange, the only time I used it was on coffee beans and didn't notice anything. :D

I would think that you should avoid anything waterbased. When I did my frosting piece, I did a test with white glue and where it touched it turned the frosting soft and fell off. I ended up using silicone to repair and mount the piece.

I'll have to ask the customer how its doing.
Would the customer agree to asking the cake creator to reproduce a few flowers from the cake using plaster rather than frosting? Then use them in an object box with an invitation, photo, piece of ribbon, a silk flower that replicates one from her bouquet, etc., etc., etc.

The objective is to create something that helps to remember the special day and not necessarily just the cake. Whaddyathink?

Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll talk with her, and let her make the choice. (You never know... I just might be framing the cake top soon.)
Shellac comes in the amber color or it also comes in clear. If the flowers are hard enough to be able to pick up you could try finger nail polish. It would take awhile to cover them, and you would need to open a window. In the food business there is a special coating used to glaze breads for display, you could check with your local bakery supplier.
To recreat the flowers, there is a brand new product on the market. I found it in the section where they have the stencils at Michael's. It is a soft paint (texture of icing) and you can also buy the tips. It works just like icing but it dries like paint. I can't remember the name of the product. Sorry about that.
Sugar panorama Easter eggs dissolve in storage when the humidity gets too high, so the concern
about humidity is well founded as are the issues
about sealants. Solvent dispersed acrylics, such
as spray fixatives, might help and giving the frame package a high degree of seal with glass
could keep the moisture away. The contents of
the package should be conditioned to be dry before
the seal is established. The fixative can be
tested on some other sugar decorations and left
in the sunlight to see how it ages.