I used these cute little silver leaf bunny toppers on these Lavender-Buttermilk Cupcakes recently, and I thought I’d share the process of how I made them. They require a few specific items to make, but none of them is hard to come by. You don’t have to make bunnies using this method- you could make any shape topper you like: letters, numbers, snowflakes…even unicorns! :O
OK, let’s start.
1. First, you will need:
- Silver leaf (make sure you buy silver leaf which states that it is edible);
- Wafer paper (such as this);
- Piping gel;
- A clean (new) paintbrush; and
- A hole/shape punch with the design of your choosing. I chose a rabbit shape.
Here’s a visual:
Here’s a close up of the punch I used. Cute, no?
A couple of things:
- You can buy piping gel (a clear, flavourless gel which is used as an edible glue in sugarcraft, or sometimes to represent water on cakes etc.) in cake decorating supply shops or online. Hobbycraft also sells it. Alternatively, you can find recipes online to make your own.
- You can buy silver leaf in cake decorating supply shops or online, but I’ve even seen it in supermarkets (like Sainsbury’s). Make sure (if you have the choice) you buy sheets that are loose and backed with a contact paper (like in the photo above), rather than in a ‘book’. It’s easier to apply if you have loose sheets.
2. Take out a sheet of your silver leaf and lay it next to your wafer paper. Load the paintbrush with some piping gel and paint a light covering (i.e. don’t saturate the wafer paper) over an area roughly the same size and shape as your silver leaf.
3. Holding your silver leaf carefully by the contact sheet, line up the edge of the silver leaf with the gelled edge of the wafer paper.
4. Carefully lower down the sheet of silver leaf, and lightly run your fingertips over the leaf so that it adheres to the gelled wafer paper. Sorry about my fingers. [Weird colour?? No nail varnish on nails. Tsk tsk]
5. Slowly peel back the contact paper to reveal the silver leaf. If you find that as you’re pulling the contact paper back, bits of silver are stuck to it, you can lay the contact paper back down and smooth the area again with your fingertips (you may like to dab a little extra piping gel on the ‘bald’ patches before you lay the contact paper back down, but be careful because you might end up lifting off the silver leaf that did adhere).
If little bits of silver are missing, it doesn’t really matter anyway. One thing to try to accept about metal leaf is that it often comes out ‘rustic’. And that’s OK. It’s pretty. And if you must have a solid block of silver, with no bald patches, then don’t worry because when your piping gel/wafer paper has dried, and there’s minimal risk of lifting off any other leaf, you can always reapply the little bits left on your contact paper using a dab of piping gel again.
6. Repeat steps 2-5 with another sheet of silver leaf, right next to the first sheet.
7. Cut out the silver leaf area. Save the rest of the wafer paper sheet for another day. Make sure you leave yourself a little margin of wafer paper so that you can hold it easily (see picture below).
8. Allow the silver leafed wafer paper to dry completely.
9. Now it’s punching time! You can cut your silver leafed wafer paper in half (lengthwise) if that makes it easier. I easily got twelve 1 inch bunnies from this area of silver. I actually got more by manipulating where the hole punch was on the leaf. I could actually tessellate the shapes to maximise how many shapes I could cut out.
I sometimes ‘missed’ though, in my attempt to fit more bunnies in (see the chopped in half bunnies in the picture below!). It’s actually OK if you chop off a little of your design by accident, because if you’re burying the toppers in, say, buttercream, no-one will see the bottom anyway.
(The lime green Post-It note below is just to show the bunny shape a little better!)
10. If any of the bunnies have ‘bald’ spots, you can touch up the silver leaf covering, as discussed above. Just add a dab more piping gel, and reapply the little bits of leaf that stayed stuck to the contact paper.
Voila! You have made your own, unique, silver leaf toppers for cakes, cupcakes, cookies…
They are completely edible, and there is nothing quite as impressive or decadent as gold or silver leaf on a dessert, in my opinion. There is so much scope to make whatever toppers take your fancy. If your calligraphy skills are up to scratch, you could even trace your letters out on the silver and cut them out with a craft knife. Perfect for wedding cupcakes?
Please note that the wafer paper will dissolve if it gets wet, so don’t use water on it or put the toppers on anything very wet. They will be fine on a buttercream or fondant/sugarpaste.
Have fun making these! I’d love to know if you have a go.
Credit: The first time I cam across silver/gold leafing wafer paper was when Stevi Auble of Hey There, Cupcake! did it. So credit to her for this technique.