cake stencil [keyk sten-suhl] noun
A thin sheet of plastic, metal or stiff paper that has cutout patterns or letters. These templates are used to produce designs on a cake. The stencil is placed on the cake and colored icing, colored sugars, cocoa, confectioners’ sugar or other decorative items are applied on top on the stencil. The decoration fills in the cutout area; the stencil is then removed leaving a perfect pattern. Stencils can be made or purchased.
A simple paper doily can be used as a cake stencil. The key to great results is to make sure that the stencil is as flush with the surface as possible. If your cake frosting is soft, this can be an issue. This technique works best with a surface that won’t be marred by the weight of a stencil, such as the top of a plain un-iced cake or one coated with marzipan, fondant or chocolate plastic. Once the stencil is placed as firmly as possible, apply your decoration evenly and then remove the stencil very carefully, which usually means keeping it level so you don’t ruin your created design.