The delicate sugar flowers that decorate many of today’s celebration cakes are called gum paste flowers because they are made from confectioner’s/powdered sugar that has been mixed with several ingredients, including edible gum.
It’s made into a paste that has an elastic quality, which can be rolled very thinly then shaped easily by hand and with tools.
If you make a cake for a special occasion such as a birthday, an anniversary or even a wedding wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could give it a professional finish? Making a smooth finish to the icing on the cake may be easy for you, but what about the decorations. Plastic, silk, or real flowers? Why not give it an exceptional finish by decorating it with gum paste sugar flowers?
1. A relaxing pastime
Making sugarcraft flowers takes a certain amount of practice and patience, but it’s a most relaxing pastime.
When I have flowers to make, I usually gather all my equipment and materials and lay them out on my work table. I put on a film that doesn’t require me to watch everything that is going on or listen to some music, and I can sit for hours making them.
However, to get to that stage, the secret is to watch a good video on how to make them, follow the instructions and practice until you get it right.
If you learn how to do it properly, right from the start, and cut out all the stages of trial and error, you will quickly become an expert at making them and feel very proud of your results.
2. Quicker than you might think
Once you have decided on the type of flower you want to make, then the paste is rolled out, petals and leaves are cut out, shaped, and often wired to form each flower.
Some flowers can are made in one go, but others have to be made in stages, letting each step dry before you can go on to the next.
Of course, if you are making an arrangement of flowers, you would make more than one flower at a time and perhaps several different types of flowers.
I always find that making several flowers at a time is quicker than making just one flower because you get a “production line” going with each stage of making the flowers so they are much quicker to produce than you may think.
3. The skill is yours forever
Once learned, it is a skill that stays with you forever, even if you don’t use it daily. What could make you more proud than being able to make your own or your children’s wedding cake flowers or make sugar flowers for a celebration cake for a family member or a friend?
Imagine putting on a dinner party for special guests and being able to present them with elaborate, professionally decorated desserts.
It’s also a profitable skill to learn. Once you have mastered flower making skills, you could apply for a job at a bakery, or even a restaurant that specializes in cakes and desserts.
You could start your own cake making and decorating business, or you could make the flowers and sell them. There is no end to what you could use the skill.
4. Kept as souvenirs
When the gumpaste dries, you will find that the sugar decorations you have made will have dried to porcelain-like hardness.
Because they are made of sugar, they are, in theory, edible sugar flowers for your cakes, but the gum used to make them doesn’t taste very nice. However, it doesn’t seem to deter children who usually have their hearts set on consuming them and insisting that they are delicious even if they nearly crack their teeth trying to bite them.
Because the gum paste flowers are so unique, people usually to like to keep them as souvenirs so, if I know that children are to be present at a celebration, I typically make some flowers just out of fondant for the children to eat.
I know some people don’t care about keeping souvenirs, but the vast majority of people like to have something to remember a special occasion. Because gumpaste sugar flowers are so special and unique, they are perfect for that purpose.
5. Gum paste flowers last forever
Before you cut the cake, remove the flowers and put them to one side where they can still be seen, but somewhere people can’t easily touch and break them or even take them.
One celebration I attended where I had made the cake, the guests were invited to come up to the cake table and take a slice of cake.
The flowers had been removed from the cake and placed around the bottom of the cake so the guests could look at them. However, some of the people thought they were for them and started to take the flowers with their slice of cake.
I had to run around and retrieve them so they could be kept as a souvenir of the occasion.
When the cake had been eaten, and the event was over I collected all the flowers and took them back to the workroom. I cleaned off any cake debris that had got onto the flowers, and I mounted them into a glass dome.
The thing to remember when putting flowers on display is to keep them away from direct sunlight so that the colors will not fade, and they should last indefinitely. I have some flowers that I made 25 years ago, and they are still in excellent condition.
However, you must remember that the flowers are made out of sugar and are easily destroyed by moisture, but there are precautions you can take to prevent this from happening.
The flowers should be mounted on a base or backing and placed, with a couple of sachets of silica gel into, e.g., a box frame, display case, or glass dome, and it should be sealed to keep them from getting damp.
Silica gel is used in case it is not entirely airtight and also to absorb any moisture that may still be in the flowers.
Once you know how…
Making gum paste flowers is a skill that many people would love to learn but, because they look so delicate and complicated, some people don’t have the courage even to try.
However, it’s like anything else; once you have been shown how to make them, and if you are willing to spend time and have the patience to practice, then you will quickly become expert at making gum paste sugar flowers.