Lots of people admire those edible flowers and other decorations that appear on speciality cakes. These flowers and adornments are made from types of sugar dough known as gum paste or fondant. The craft of making decorative edible objects from sugar dough is known as sugarcrafting or sugar art. Getting started in sugar art is not as difficult as you might think, but mastering the techniques often requires practice and patience. Learning to make sugarcraft flowers is one of the simplest projects that you can undertake, and is usually the first step for learning other sugar art techniques.
Combine the ingredients for the gum paste in a large bowl. It is best if you mix the liquid ingredients and dry ingredients together separately and then gradually work the dry ingredients into the liquid mixture. Mix the ingredients well with a wooden spoon.
Tint the gum paste using the desired shade of gel-paste food colouring. Divide out a small amount of gum paste and add the gel-paste to the mixture with a toothpick. To blend the colouring in well, knead the gum paste several times.
Roll the gum paste out on a flat, non-stick board with a rolling pin. Special boards, called celboards, are made specifically for working with gum paste, but any surface that you have will work. The desired thickness for making flowers is about 1/8 to 1/16 inch.
Cut out the gum paste flowers using small blossom cutters. Pinch the gum paste in the centre of where you will cut each flower to make it easier to attach the flowers to the wire later. The section of the gum paste that you are going to cut out should resemble a tiny hat prior to cutting out the flowers.
Run a piece of floral wire through the centre of the top of the flower. Dampen the hook of the wire to allow the wire to go through more smoothly. The floral wire should be about 4 to 6 inches long.
Allow flowers to dry overnight. For a drying rack, insert the floral wire into a piece of styrofoam. Some speciality celboards also contain small holes that allow you to dry flowers directly on the board.
Gum tex, celboards, flower cutters and floral supplies are readily available at a cake supply store or through online sugar supply outlets. Liquid glucose is available at the supermarket in the baking aisle. You can substitute corn syrup. Store remaining gum paste in a gallon freezer bag. Gum paste that is several days old is more pliable and easier to work with. To prevent sticking, sprinkle a small amount of cornstarch on the rolling board and the rolling pin ahead of time. For additional embellishments, add leaves, petals, or place a smaller flower inside of the larger flower.
Fermented gum paste can cause your sugarcraft flowers to explode. Do not use gum paste that has been allowed to sit for too long.