Wedding Cake III: Gum Paste Dogwood Blossoms

Gum paste was the real wild card in this whole process. I’ve done ganache and fondant and even a small tiered cake before, but gum paste is a totally new beast.

Turns out, it’s a friendly beast. I expected this to be a long post about how I adapted when things went wrong and what I was going to do to adjust the cake design when they didn’t work out, but instead, just watch this how-to video from Wedding Cakes for You:

And then do that. Voila!

Not enough?

Okay, that wouldn’t be much of a post, and there are a few more details I can share.

Making the blossoms

Here’s my setup:

gumPasteDrying

You don’t want them to dry flat or they will end up looking fake and lifeless, but you also don’t need to buy those fancy Wilton flower cups. I used an upside down egg carton. I had to keep an eye on them as they dried to adjust them if they were sinking too much, particularly those that I’d rolled too thin. In a few cases of really thin ones, I had to let them dry on the foam mat for a minute to let them start to firm up before putting them on the carton. As they hardened more, I transferred them from the egg carton to a wire cooling rack to make more room.

This technique led to a nice variety in their shapes, which will probably come in handy when trying to fit them onto the cake.

shapedDogwoods

This whole process was remarkably fast. I timed myself somewhere in the middle, and each flower from cutting the rolled gum paste to putting the finished flower on the carton to dry took less than 2 minutes. Making all 23 of them took about an hour, and then I let them dry overnight.

Decorating the blossoms

Adding the decorations wasn’t too bad either. I had white chocolate centers left from the cookies. The look more candy-like and less authentic than the gum paste would have, but not enough that it would have been worth making new ones.

I glued the centers on by mixing a small chunk of gum paste with some water to make an edible glue, and then I painted the centers with gold pearl dust and the tips with pink.

 

Top left: pearl dust mixed with bourbon, and the two brushes; Bottom left: gum paste dissolved in water to make glue; Right: fully decorated.
Top left: pearl dust mixed with bourbon, and the two brushes I used; Bottom left: gum paste dissolved in water to make glue; Right: fully decorated.

Because the paint I used on the cookies was too diluted, this time I used closer to a 1:1 ratio of pearl dust and liquid. I also used bourbon instead of vodka, partially because it’s more vanilla-like than vodka in case anyone eats them, and partially so I could enjoy sipping a glass while I worked.

I wasn’t sure I liked just the tips painted, so I took advantage of the bloom I’d ruined with a freak gold pearl dust accident to test how it would look if I dry brushed pink over the petals to give them a little extra pop.

Overall it looked good, so I started dusting the rest using my thin fan brush. Of course a few ended up streaky, so I went back with the fan brush after I finished and used more bourbon to gloss them over.

streaksBeforeAfter
Before and after brushing out streaks with extra bourbon.

And that’s it! I lost 2 of the 23 in the process: one from the aforementioned pearl dust accident, and another that was just too thin and cracked while I was finishing the pink paint. Since I don’t have an actual precise plan for applying them to the cake, I’m sure 21 will be plenty.

The are currently stored in a plastic container with plenty of padding awaiting the journey downstate. I’ll assemble the whole thing on site this weekend!

 

2 comments

  1. […] It has been less than 3 weeks since I wrapped up the Year of Cake, and I am already restless for another baking project. I learned so much last year and tried a bunch of new techniques (that was the point, after all), and many of them worked well enough. Gum paste, in particular was a great success. […]

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