How to make sugar paste flowers

Written by emilymatchar
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How to make sugar paste flowers
Sugar-paste flowers make beautiful cake decorations. (icing flowers image by Trevor Allen from Fotolia.com)

Sugar paste, also known as gum paste, pastillage or sugar gum, is a sugar-based edible dough. It's a popular material for cake decoration because it's sturdy, easy to use and can be moulded into almost any shape. Look for sugar paste at your local craft shop, cake-decorating shop or gourmet store, then learn to shape sugar paste into beautiful flowers---perfect for topping cakes, cupcakes and other treats.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Sugar paste
  • Food colouring in your choice of colours
  • Rolling pin
  • Solid vegetable shortening
  • Sugar paste flower cutters in your choice of flower
  • Waxed paper
  • Cupcake liners (optional)
  • Paintbrush (optional)
  • Edible glue (optional)
  • Decorative items such as edible pearls (optional)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Add food colouring to the sugar paste and knead on a smooth work surface until the colour is evenly distributed throughout the paste. You'll need only a few drops of food colouring to create pale flowers such as light pink roses, but you might need many drops for intensely coloured flowers such as bright yellow daffodils.

  2. 2

    Place your sugar paste on a smooth counter you've greased with a thin layer of solid vegetable shortening. Using your rolling pin, roll the paste out to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Pick up the sugar paste, give it a quarter turn, and roll it out again. Repeat two or three times until the gum paste is about 1/16th of an inch thick.

  3. 3

    Using your sugar-paste flower cutter, cut as many flower shapes as you can fit into the rolled-out paste. Lay the flowers on a sheet of waxed paper and place them in a cool, dry place to dry. If you want flowers with a more three-dimensional shape, place each flower in a cupcake liner so the petals will dry in a curved position. If you want flowers with a fuller look, layer two or more flower shapes on top of each other at slightly different angles.

  4. 4

    Decorate your flowers for a realistic look. For multicoloured flowers, such as lilies, use a paintbrush and food colouring to paint spots or stripes on the petals. For flowers with coloured centres, such as daisies, use food colouring to paint a dot in the centre of the flower. You can also add just-for-fun decorations, such as edible pearl balls, to the flowers using edible glue.

Tips and warnings

  • If you can't find sugar-paste flower cutters at your local craft shop or cake-decorating store, you can cut out the flower shapes with a regular cookie cutter or a paring knife.
  • Dry the sugar-paste flowers very thoroughly or they may lose their shape during the cake-decorating process. Drying can take anywhere from several days to a week, depending on the humidity.

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