Whether you’re a hobbyist or a seasoned baker, decorating cakes can be one of the most exciting parts of baking. There are a lot of techniques that you can use in decking out cakes, such as a marbling effect with gelatin or a traditional buttercream icing.
However, if you want to add a classic cake decoration without needing a lot of experience, using sugar flowers is the way to go.
There are many shops that sell flower cake decorations. If you are short on time, you can easily peruse their choices to find the perfect flower for your cake. However, creating your own sugar flowers for cakes can be incredibly rewarding.
If your dessert is meant for a loved one, hand-made sugar flowers can also be an invaluable and personal touch, something that can’t be bought at any store.
How to Make Sugar Flowers
It’s not just rewarding and personal, sugar flowers are also easy to create! You can create simple sugar flower with only a handful of ingredients and supplies.
As a matter of fact, it can be broken down into four simple steps.
Prepare Your Paste
Sugar flowers, also known as gumpaste flowers, are made with a mixture called gumpaste. This paste can be readily bought at most baking supply stores.
However, making your own can be more cost-effective, especially if you plan on selling your cakes. Gumpaste isn’t very hard to make either, and there are many recipes to refer to online.
After creating or buying your gumpaste, you can now color it using food coloring. Remember to color your paste before making your flowers!
Start by creating a circular shape and making a small indentation in its center. Place a few drops of food coloring in the middle and knead the dough.
If you want to create a marble effect for your dough, you could choose not to knead it thoroughly.
Roll the Dough
Don’t be afraid of rolling too thinly. Compared to fondant, gumpaste can be rolled almost paper thin.
Thinner paste also makes for more realistic flowers and allows it to dry much faster.
To make sure that your paste doesn’t stick and rip, remember to add cornflour, confectioner’s sugar, or shortening to your surface before kneading.
Cut Your Shapes
Once you have your dough kneaded, it’s time to cut the shapes! You can use your regular cookie cutters to cut your gumpaste into flowers.
When cutting your dough, remember to press your cutters deep, and move it backwards and forwards to get clean edges. Then, before cutting another shape, make sure to clean any remaining bits of dough stuck to your cutter.
To achieve a domed shape to your flowers, make sure to let them dry on top of drying foam or a mold. You could also opt to let your flowers dry on scrunched up tin foil to achieve a wrinkled effect. This is also a great technique to apply when making leaves.
You may also opt to use a ball tool to wrinkle the edges of your flowers. To use a ball tool, hold the tool firmly as you would a pen, and press down just at the edge of the petal. Half of the balled tip should be on the petal, and the other half should be on the surface.
Do not roll the ball tool. Instead, go forward and backward to avoid ripping.
Before using your cut-out dough, remember to let your flowers dry for one to three days.
Layer Your Petals
When layering flowers, remember to coat your hands with either powdered sugar, shortening, or cornflour. This will make sure that your dough doesn’t stick to your hands.
Make sure that your dough has been thoroughly dry.
The next thing you will need is edible glue. While you could buy this at baking supply stores, edible glue is very easy to make: simply mix 1/4 cup of warm water with either a half teaspoon of tylose powder or a bit of gumpaste.
Many beginners add too much glue, so remember to only add a small amount. Too much glue can make your paste tear. You also cannot add color on surfaces with edible glue, so remember to add only to surfaces that absolutely need it.
Layering petals range in difficulty depending on the type of flower that you’re trying to achieve. Beginner bakers would do well to opt for flowers without a great number of layers, like sunflowers.
When creating more complex flowers, remember to let your paste dry between layers. For this reason, more complex flowers, like roses and peonies, require a longer time to complete.
When creating these types of flowers, it’s much better to create them in batches and store them for future use.
Storing Your Sugar Flowers
Unlike fondant, gumpaste flowers can be stored indefinitely. All you need is to keep your flowers in a container that allows airflow.
Airtight containers are a big no-no; flowers stored in airtight containers will lose their shape and are susceptible to mold.
A good storage method would be the usual cardboard cake box; just remember to keep them to a corner where they wouldn’t be jostled or disturbed.
Here’s a video showing an example of DIY gumpaste flowers.
Do you have any tips for making sugar flowers?