Monday, May 18, 2009

Tales of a Tiered Cake #8 – Sugar paste Flowers

anns 50th 002
I made these sugar paste flowers last year for Ann Del Vecchio's birthday cake. They were my first attempt at making flowers, and I think they came out rather well. I used instructions from Scott Clark Wooley's book, Cakes by Design. I must say, though, that I wouldn't have been able to follow the directions in the book if I hadn't also bought his dvd of the same name. I have volume 1 of the dvd, which doesn't include this flower (alstroemeria), but the dvd gave me the understanding of how to roll, vein, cut, color etc. I used some real alstroemeria as models for the coloring that I used, rather than using the picture in Scott's book. These colors fit in with Ann's color scheme, but also the real flowers had such wonderful detail in them that I wanted to duplicate. Scott not only sells his books and dvds, he carries all of the supplies that you need to make these lifelike flowers and actually has a company that makes veiners and molds to his specs. He's a great resource for work like this, and I highly recommend buying his dvds, if you plan on attemping sugar work. If you want to make lifelike sugar paste flowers, it's not easy and it's not cheap. You need lots of equipment, lots of time, and lots of space to work in. But you'll get rave reviews if you are successful, that's for sure.
For my tiered engagement cake I think that I am going to make some roses. I want to try some traditional roses - instructions for these are on my Wooley dvd, and I might like to try making an open rose. I think the directions should be similar to a Gallica Rose, which is described in Wooley's book, or a wild rose (also in the book) but with more petals.
Here are the items I will need to make my rose:
wedding cake 015
A foam backed placemat
a small rolling pin (made especially for sugar paste or fondant)
Petal and leaf veiners
2 sizes of petal cutters (they're sold in sets)
20 gauge green wire
wire cutter/needle nose pliers
sugar paste
medium ball tool (I highly recommend Wooley's tool)
calyx cutters
green tape
brushes ( you need lots of these)
gloves (optional)
petal dust - at least 4-5 colors including green, yellow and 3 shades of red/pink
food coloring
styrofoam blocks
egg white
cotton or batting
a palatte pan for mixing colors
You can see why I mentioned that this is not a cheap endeavor!
To begin my rose, I'm using Satin Ice brand sugar paste. It comes in a large tub that you can buy at cake decorating stores and sites. I also made some of my own sugar paste using a recipe from Nicholas Lodge (you can Google that), another great sugar artist. I used that recipe rather than Wooley's because I was able to get Tylose powder locally, but not Gum Tragacanth, which is used in Wooley's recipe. I thought it might be nice to compare the paste that I buy compared to the one I make. I had tried some sugar paste from Wilton, but I didn't think it worked very well.
For the first rose that I make, I'm not going to color the dough. This way I'll be able to color the base of each petal with a little yellow, and leave some of the white showing through. This is how the roses in my back yard looks.

sugarpasterose 008
I need to form the center bud and put it on a wire so that I'll have something to hang onto and something to push into a piece of styrofoam for drying.
The bud needs to be the same height as the smallest cutter that I’m using. Here are my first 2 buds.
sugarpasterose 003
sugarpasterose 004
Well, the one on the left looks very long and the one on the bottom is very fat. I don’t know if they'll will work at all! I’ve made a little hip at the bottom, but I’m not sure if it’s big enough – I guess I’ll find out after I start wrapping the leaves around. The bud needs to dry overnight before I start adding the petals. Stay tuned!

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