1.Trim cakes (page 91). Secure 25cm cake to largest board; secure remaining cakes to the same-sized boards. Prepare cakes for covering with ready-made icing.
2.Knead ready-made icing on surface dusted with a little cornflour until icing loses its stickiness. Roll 300g of icing on cornfloured surface until large enough to cover 10cm cake. Using rolling pin, lift icing onto cake, smooth with hands then smoothing tools. Trim icing neatly around base of cake. (Reserve and re-use all icing scraps from each cake for the next cake.)
3.Roll icing on surface dusted with a little cornflour; use 400g of icing to cover 15cm cake, 600g to cover 20cm cake, and 700g to cover 25cm cake, in the same way as the 10cm cake. Dry cakes overnight.
4.Push 3 trimmed skewers into centres of all cakes, except the smallest cake, to support the next tier. Assemble cakes, securing each tier to the tier below.
5.Three-quarters fill piping bag with royal icing, pipe around base of each cake. Use fingertip to blend icing into any gaps where cakes join the boards. Dry cakes overnight.
6.To make pleated strips. Roll 200g of the remaining icing at a time on cornfloured surface into two strips 3mm thick. Using the perspex measure and pizza cutter, cut strips of icing 3.7cm wide and 30cm (12 inches) long.
7.Position 5 of the wooden skewers parallel to the edge of the bench, about 1cm (½ inch) apart. Lift icing strips over the top of the skewers. Place 5 remaining skewers on top of the icing, in between the first skewers. Gently push the skewers closer together to pleat the icing. Carefully remove skewers, and reposition them under and on top of the next section of the icing strip. Continue until the strips are pleated.
8.Use paint brush to brush bottom 3cm (1¼-inch) of cake sparingly with water. Carefully lift pleated strip and secure into position around cake, cutting strip to fit cake. Continue this process all around the base of the cake, joining, trimming and slightly overlapping the ends of the strips. Repeat with remaining strips on remaining cake tiers. Stand cake overnight until pleats dry.
9.Measure around base of cake, trim ribbon to fit around cake, securing to pleats with tiny dots of royal icing. Make small bows to cover joins in ribbon, secure bows with royal icing. Secure perspex initials to cake with a little royal icing.
EQUIPMENT 35cm (14-inch) round wooden cake board 20cm (8-inch) round wooden cake board 15cm (6-inch) round wooden cake board 10cm (4-inch) round wooden cake board Smoothing tools 19 wooden cake skewers Paper piping bag 3.7cm (1½-inch) perspex measure Pizza cutter artist’s fine paint brush Tape measure It’s important to allow time for the icing on the assembled cakes to dry before positioning the strips, use the thick wooden skewers to gently press the pleats into position on the dampened icing. The pleated strips need to be slightly firm, but still pliable enough to wrap around the cakes without cracking or breaking. You may need to join 2 strips for the larger cakes, overlap the next pleated strip to make neat joins. While we used perspex initials on this cake, there are many different types, shapes and sizes available.