Friday, June 24, 2011

How-To: 3D flowers

I have gotten some questions on how I make the little 3D flowers for my cakes, like the ones on this cake:

And on this one:

So I figured I'd make a little step-by-step tutorial.

First an overview of the things you'll need:

Fondant, tylose powder, a flower-shaped cookie cutter, and a spoon. The pearl nonpareils are just for fun!

First, we add tylose powder to the fondant. This will essentially turn your fondant into gumpaste. What is the difference between gumpaste and fondant you say? Well, here's a clumsy explaination:
Fondant is a sugar paste. Gumpaste is a sugar paste with gum ingredient added, such as gum tragacanth or in this case, tylose. Because of the gum ingredient, it is a lot more stable, more elastic, can be rolled much thinner, and will dry much harder than fondant. The downside is, it won't taste as good. That's why you'll want to make little decorations out of gumpaste, but use fondant as your cake covering.

Just a little sprinkle of tylose is enough in these small pieces. On average you'll need about 3 teaspoons of tylose powder per lb of fondant, so that will give you a perspective of how little we need. If it turns too gummy on you, add some more fondant. If it gets too dry while you're working, add some glycerine, or if you're really in a pinch, some vegetable oil.

After we reach the right consistency, we roll out a thick (about 3 mm) sheet of the gumpaste, and easy-piecy use the cookie cutter to make some flowers. Don't be sad if the flowers look skinny and puny, we'll blow some life into them later.

Lift the flower gently with a butter knife or small spatula, and onto the surface of your choice. I like to use this foam from Wilton, but you can use a (clean!) sponge, a soft pile of (clean!) paper towels, a rubber place mat dusted with powdered sugar... whatever you have and feel comfortable with.

Now it's time to add some life to the flower. I like to use this tool from Wilton. There is a plethora of these tools out there, from different manufacturers, available at cake supply stores and hobby stores everywhere. If you don't want to dish out any extra cash, you can use whatever you can find around the house: the (clean!) backsode of a ballpoint pen, a tiny measuring spoon, even your little finger.
 Lightly press the ball down on each leaf of the flower, and it will spring back up and make the flower come to life. Also, press down on the middle of the flower to make an indentation where the center will be.

Next, we'll get our 2nd color fondant ready. All we need is a tiny round-ish ball to fit the center of the flower.

I like to add a pinch of tylose to a few drops of water and use as a glue for the gumpaste. Just brush on a little right where we want the pieces to adhere, like this:

Then add the little center ball:
And give it a little poke with a gumpaste tool or a toothpick.

Next, to the trick that makes the flowers 3D : Drying them in a spoon. You can use a measuring spoon, a kitchen spoon, a shot class, an egg cup, anything you can find that is hollow and round. I usually scramble up anything I can find in the kitchen. My favorites are measuring spoons, but it's fun to use different things, as they will take on different shapes and angles.
You can leave them like this, or you can ad a little nonpareil just for cuteness' sake. Or dust it with a little edible glitter or disco dust.

In the end, you should have a gumpaste flower garden in your kitchen, which is sure to drive your significant other absolutely insane. ("I can't cook lunch with all these stupid little sugar things every-freakin-where!")

But that's ok, because when you can place a baby in the middle and make a scene like this, it's pretty satisfying.

1 comment:

  1. I just want to say that you are very talented & always do a beautiful job. This will be helpful if I want to make this style of flower. :)