For those living in more temperate climates, the site of a palm tree brings to mind instant feelings of calm, tropical warmth and, perhaps, relaxation in an exotic setting. When it comes to cake decorating, a palm tree decoration is an appropriate way to celebrate a real upcoming vacation or suggest an imaginary one. By creating your own edible, three-dimensional palm tree cake decorations using gum paste, you can transform a piece of spongy confectionery into a miniature tropical island.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Gum paste
- Green and brown food colouring
- Clean, smooth countertop space
- Small rolling pin
- Butter knife or tooth pick
Mix gum paste in three colours. Mix about a cup of paste with a drop of brown food colouring and another 1/2 cup with green. Separate half of the brown paste and add another small drop of colouring to create a deeper shade of brown.
Sprinkle cornstarch lightly over a smooth, clean countertop space. Use this as your work station.
Form the trunk of the tree. Pull about a 1 tbsp-size lump of light brown paste. Form this into a cylindrical shape by first rolling it into a ball (use light pressure and a circular motion of the paste between your flat hand and the work station), then rolling it straight up and down on the countertop. Keep rolling until the cylinder is about 4 inches long. Bend the cylinder slightly to imitate the bent shape of a palm trunk. Press a toothpick against the sides of the trunk (perpendicular to the length) and roll it around to create grooves, like the lines separating the segments of a palm tree trunk. Make as many trunks as you want trees and set aside.
Make palm leaves from green gum paste. Press some green paste flat on your work station by pressing it with your fingers or rolling it with a small rolling pin. Cut out an oval shape for each leaf using a butter knife or toothpick, then use the same tool to cut slits in the sides of the shape, moving in from the outside to the centre. Make at least three leaves for each tree trunk. Set aside.
Form coconuts from the dark brown gum paste. Pull small pieces of dark brown paste (about 1 tsp) and roll them into balls. Press the head of a round-head pin into each ball three times in a triangular cluster to imitate the grooves on a coconut.
Arrange the palm trees on the iced cake. Press the trunks in a cluster on the icing, then attach the palm leaves to the top. Arrange a few coconuts at the base of the trees.
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