Posts Tagged ‘sugar flowers’

May 2011 – What a Great Month!

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

For some reason May usually seems to be a really good month for Delicious Cake Design. May 2011 was no exception – I was absolutely thrilled and honoured for my Muppets Toy Box cake to be included in the Cake Wrecks Sunday Sweets Jim Henson Tribute. Cake Wrecks is a very famous American blog which normally posts pictures of hilariously awful cakes, but on Sundays they turn “sweet” and post pictures of amazing cakes. And my cake was one of them! Check it out here, it’s the Muppets in a toy chest cake which is about the 6th picture down the page:
http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2011/05/sunday-sweets-jim-henson-tribute.html

Apart from that great honour, in May I had a lot of fun making some interesting cakes and here are my favourites.

Garfield birthday cake

Garfield birthday cake

I’m a Garfield fan from way back and have been dying for an excuse to make a Garfield cake for ages. I was so pleased to finally get the opportunity! The head and body are made of cake. The paws, tail, ears, blanket, and facial features are all hand modelled from fondant. The black stripes on his head, in his ears, and on his tail were hand painted. I’ve been doodling pictures of Garfield since I was about 10 years old, so I knew exactly how I wanted to paint on the stripes. The box is also made of fondant and hand painted for a streaky, wood grain effect.

 

Manolo Blahnik shoebox and high heel cake

Manolo Blahnik shoebox and high heel cake

The shoebox cake with fondant/gumpaste high heel shoe is a very popular design, but this is the first time I’ve actually made it! The shoebox is made of cake and the high heel shoe is made from modelling fondant/gumpaste. Once again the edible printer proved itself useful to make the Manolo Blahnik labels. Here is a close up of the shoe:

Fondant gumpaste Manolo Blahnik high heel shoe

Fondant gumpaste Manolo Blahnik high heel shoe

I modelled the shoe on a real Manolo design and it is entirely edible apart from the diamante brooch. It was my first time to make a shoe and I was really pleased with how it turned out.

 

White peony and white lace Mother's Day cake

White peony and white lace Mother's Day cake

I made this one for my mother for Mother’s Day. I wanted to try lace stencilling with royal icing, it’s actually pretty hard to do on a round cake! In hindsight, I wish I’d attempted it on a square cake first. I was still pleased with how it turned out though. Mum loves peonies so I hand crafted a white peony from fondant/gumpaste. She saved it and keeps it in a vase in her living room. I was so pleased with how much she loved the cake!

Hand crafted white peony made from fondant gumpaste

Hand crafted white peony made from fondant gumpaste

Squires Kitchen 5 Day School – Day 5: Flowers

Friday, July 16th, 2010
Me, Alan and my sugar peony!

Me, Alan and my sugar peony!

Today was the last day of the Squires Kitchen 5 Day School with Guest Tutors and the class was Sugar Flowers with Alan Dunn. I have one of Alan Dunn’s books on making sugar flowers, and in fact use his techniques to create many of my sugar flowers, so I was looking forward to picking up some hints and tips you don’t get in his books. We were all smarting a little after the blitz attack that was the modelling course, so I was a little apprehensive today, but it turned out to be a refreshing, fantastic class with an excellent, world class tutor.

For the sugar flower class we were going to be making a peony. Alan firstly demonstrated to us how to create the peony petals, then it was our turn. We started off by creating some formers out of paper towels. We then coloured some white sugar flower paste pale pink with a tiny bit of a very strong plum coloured craft dusting colour, then kneaded it to make sure it was nice and pliable. Alan had shown us his technique for rolling out the paste to achieve a tapered ridge in the middle. First you roll a bit of paste into a cone, then flatten it slightly before rolling out the top part quite flat. Then you roll at an angle on either side of the middle. It’s a great technique I will definitely use again. Then, using a peony petal cutter, we cut out petal shapes with the ridge in the middle, 10 large and 5 medium. Here’s one of the petals I cut out:

Cut out petal with ridge in the centre

Cut out petal with ridge in the centre

A hooked 26 gauge white wire with a little bit of sugar glue was then inserted into the ridge and the end pinched to secure it to the wire. Using a silk veining tool, we veined the petal on both sides, then frilled the edges. The bottom edges near the wire were softened with a ball tool. The petals were then draped over the formers. Here are some of my completed petals:

Some of my wired petals

Some of my wired petals

Next up we were shown how to dust both sides of the petals using the plum coloured dusting powder and a wide flat brush. The aim was to dust quite a strong colour at the base then lighten it as you moved towards the middle. Here are my petals after dusting:

My petals after dusting

My petals after dusting

After lunch we moved on to making the peony centres. Using green cold porcelain, we inserted small balls onto 26 gauge white wire and rolled them into cones, then pinched a ridge on one side and curled the top. These were then taped together with pale green florist tape:

Peony centre created from cold porcelain

Peony centre created from cold porcelain

We bunched together some double tipped white stamens and glued the bunches together in the middle using non toxic craft glue. These were cut in half then glued to the bottom of the cold porcelain centres. We dusted the bottom of the stamens the same plum colour like so:

Peony centre with stamens dusted with plum

Peony centre with stamens dusted with plum

And then dusted the tips with sunflower yellow and the tops of the green cold porcelain with lime green. Then it was time to tape together the petals. The medium sized petals were placed around the centre first and taped together with green florist tape. The larger petals were placed around these, taping a few at a time. Here is Alan showing us how to tape the petals to the centre:

Alan Dunn showing the class how to tape the flower together

Alan Dunn showing the class how to tape the flower together

The end result was quite stunning if I do say so myself! Here is my completed peony:

My completed sugar peony

My completed sugar peony

Alan also showed us how to cut out leaves, vein them, and stick them together with florist tape. He also showed us how to dust them using aubergine on the tips, overdusting with forest green, then overdusting again with lime green. It was just about time to go after that, and as I already have used Alan’s book to create leaves using these techniques, I decided against staying late to create them in class.

I really cannot praise Alan highly enough. Not only is he a great teacher but he is such a lovely person too! He correctly gauged the pace of the class and offered as little or as much help as each individual needed. He explained everything really well and had lots of tips and tricks for us. It was a relaxed and fun atmosphere. And he has such an amazing talent! It was a great way to end a fabulous (and exhausting) week at Squires Kitchen.

The Super Busy Wedding Cake Weekend

Monday, October 5th, 2009

What a hectic couple of weeks it’s been! I had to make two 3-tier wedding cakes for delivery on the weekend, which kept me super busy and super stressed! Having never had to deliver 2 wedding cakes in one weekend before, it was quite an experience. Sleeping and eating became a thing of the past. I’ve never been so exhausted and my feet, back and legs were very very sore from being on my feet so much. Thankfully the two weddings were not on the same day, one was on Saturday and the other on Sunday. I definitely would not accept two orders for wedding cakes that were to be delivered on the same day. Celebration cakes, maybe, but not 3-tier wedding cakes!

CAKE 1: Light ivory 3-tier wedding cake with floral spray of red tinged roses, sugar leaves and bear grass

CAKE 1: Light ivory 3-tier wedding cake with floral spray of red tinged roses, sugar leaves and bear grass

The first wedding cake was quite large with 8inch, 10inch and 12inch sized tiers, plus an extra cutting cake. The cakes had burgundy ribbon at the bases. The top tier had a floral spray consisting of 3 large light ivory roses, sugar leaf branches, and bear grass accents.

It was a Chinese wedding, so the bride and groom did not want white flowers as white flowers are traditionally used for Chinese funerals. The colour red is considered lucky in Chinese tradition, so they wanted some tinges of red on the roses. I originally tried lightly dusting the centre of the roses, but the intensity of the colour was lacking and looked more orange than red. Adding more petal dust ended up making them look too red rather than red tinged (it reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, painting the roses red!). So I re-made the roses and as I made each centre petal, I hand painted the edges of it with red petal dust using a very fine paint brush dipped in water to make the colour more intense . This worked out much better, but was very time consuming.

For the leaves I used some purple coloured petal dust to give the edges some darkness and definition, then over dusted with green petal dust.

CAKE 2: White wedding cake with pearl beads at bases and round posy of white roses

CAKE 2: White 3-tier wedding cake with pearl beads at bases and round posy of white roses

The second cake was smaller with 6inch, 8inch and 10inch cakes with pearl beads of different sizes on wires at the bases. It was quite a challenge finding those beads! But I managed to find them at a wholesale wedding warehouse outside of London.

This cake had a round posy of medium sized white roses for the top tier with no leaves or bear grass accents. This was more straight forward than the other floral spray, but also time consuming as it required a lot more roses! I spent several nights sitting at my work bench making rose after rose after rose. I then dusted the centre of each rose with a little yellow petal dust to give each flower some warmth and depth. It was very nerve wracking arranging the posy as I roll the flower paste quite thinly, so the roses are very delicate and fragile and break very easily.

All the cakes were made of my specialty butter cake. Many people request sponge cakes, but I get them to try my buttercake and they usually end up choosing it which is good as it is a much stronger cake to work with. Baking so many cakes was quite a challenge! It made me very grateful for my wonderful new KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer.

Delivery of the first cake was not fun. A friend kindly agreed to drive me to both venues as my other half was away for the weekend, but her car was very small. We used blankets and cushions to surround some of the cake boxes and minimise movement in the car boot. Driving was slow and excruciating with one cake tier balanced on my lap while I held the top tier in my hands and held my breath at every turn and pothole. The venue didn’t have parking or a driveway, so we had to park on a street nearby and walk each tier over. FYI, 10 and 12 inch cakes are HEAVY!!! I assembled the cake and floral spray at the venue, with my emergency repair kit and spare sugar roses and leaves on hand in case of disaster. Amazingly, these things were not needed.

Delivery of the second cake was surprisingly easy, because the cakes were smaller and there were only 3 instead of 4 cakes to transport. The venue also had parking right out the front – yay! I again assembled the floral spray at the venue, which was very nerve wracking given the fragility of the flowers, and again didn’t need to use my emergency repair kit. A miracle! Though I nearly had a small heart attack when the event staff then decided to pick up and move the entire cake display table to the centre of the room. Thankfully the flowers made it intact.

So delivering two 3-tier wedding cakes in one weekend was a very rewarding and challenging experience. But would I want to do it EVERY weekend? No, I like being able to sleep and eat!