Using Ribbons on Cake

I have been beavering away adding even more of the fabulous range of Jem products to the Online Store. Today I added Butterfly Cutters, Large Bow Cutters and a brilliant Fantasy Flower Cupcake toppers set.

Jem Small Bow Cutter Set
The Jem Small Bow Cutter Set

I particularly like the bow cutters as it makes brilliant edible bows very simply and as they come in a range of sizes they are perfect for cake sides, tops, details etc. So much nicer than using real ribbon. Which led me to think about how we cake decorators use ribbons.

Set of 4 Jem Fantasy Flower Cupcake Cutters
Jem Cupcake Cutters – Fantasy Flower Set

One of the things that always worries me is the amount  of real ribbon we use on cakes. If you consider how careful we all are with what items are food safe, from food colours to kitchen tools, it amazes me as to how blase we are about adding ribbon. Back in the day we even used to add little pieces inserted into the cake to give the impression of ribbon being threaded through the cake without even thinking about it all that much! I’m sure there are some people who still do that now given that ribbon insertion tools are still in demand.

However by doing this there are several problems for the conscientious cake decorator.

Firstly – where did you buy your ribbon? Was it kept in hygienic conditions or did you buy it from a market stall, non-food shop, or even use second hand? Was it on a shelf where anyone could handle it? – and who’s to know where their hands had been prior to handling that ribbon! And then stick the ribbon onto a cake? … Not a great idea! Who knows what else you are adding to that cake surface.

Secondly – in the case of using small cut pieces, whether as ribbon insertion or as small bows and loops, there is the danger of someone eating them by mistake.

Sugar Bows and Swags on Celebration Cake
Cake with Sugar Drapes and Bows

If you add a little satin ribbon to the top of a frill for example, you need to make sure that the recipient is aware of the non-edible bits! It is particularly important where there are young children and the elderly because they do not notice as easily and could easily choke on something like that.

These days though the equipment is available so that you never have to add satin ribbon again. You can get bow cutters, strip cutters and ribbon cutters from various different manufacturers that suit what you want to do – you can even do ribbon insertion with edible pieces!! No risk of choking,  hygienic and can look identical to the satin equivalent if you use lustre colours and texture mats and pins! For the slightly longer time it takes I personally think it is worth the effort for the peace of mind and the ability to say that everything on your work of art is able to be eaten!


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