Magnificent sprays of edible flowers on cakes can be awe-inspiring to behold. You need not be a professional cake decorator to craft delicate and lifelike hydrangeas composed entirely from sugar. Create royal blue hydrangeas from a variety of different media. To make them out of icing or fondant and gum paste, you will need some advanced planning and a variety of tools. Fondant will give you pliability, while gum paste will give you strength; combine the two for a sturdier hydrangea. Buttercream may be more accessible and doesn't require as many intermediate steps.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Buttercream tinted with royal blue icing colour
- Buttercream tinted with alternate colour for pistils
- Piping bag
- Piping tips #102 and #2
- Parchment paper
- 50/50 gum paste and fondant mixture
- Royal blue icing colouring
- Petal dust and brushes
- Royal icing
- Styrofoam ball (2.5 inches or larger)
- Sugar pot modelled after small clay or plastic flower pot (optional)
- Hydrangea cutter and veiner moulds
- Egg carton foam
- Small non-stick rolling pin
- Pearl-headed pins
Create a free-standing cluster of royal blue hydrangeas using a piping bag filled with royal blue-tinted buttercream with a #102 tip. The buttercream should not be too liquid, or it might be difficult to transfer the dried flower later.
Pipe a small amount to create the effect of the flattened hydrangea petal; there should be four petals per flower. Keep piping, amassing the flowers together, overlapping and layering them on top of each other for a three-dimensional effect.
Transfer to another piping bag with a different tinted buttercream, such as yellow, and a #2 tip to create the pistils of the hydrangea --- in this case, small daubs in the centre of the flower. Wait for at least 24 hours, up to 48 hours, for the flowers to dry. Then transfer them onto a plate with a spatula.
Use a 50/50 mixture of fondant and gum paste to create a "flower pot" of royal blue hydrangeas. For a more structural and vertical presentation of a hydrangea with its distinctive "bushy" shape, use a styrofoam ball to serve as the base for the hydrangeas.
Colour some of the 50/50 gum paste and fondant mixture with the royal blue icing tint. Roll the mixture out into a thin sheet using the rolling pin and cut out the hydrangea patterns with the hydrangea cutter.
Dust each flower with cornstarch and place between the veiner moulds and press, shaping them individually to look more natural. Transfer the flowers onto the egg carton foam to dry for 24 hours.
Dust the centre and edges of the dried petals with contrasting dust colours, darker hued dust in the centre and lighter for the edges. For the centres, use a #2 tip to pipe a dot of white royal icing in each flower.
Affix the styrofoam ball into the sugar pot after applying some royal icing into the opening. Twist to ensure a good seal.
Cover the ball with the hydrangea flowers, starting from the top of the styrofoam ball. Adhere them onto the ball using royal icing coloured to the same shade as the royal blue of the flowers.
Hold the flowers in place with pearl-headed pins until dried. Remove pins.
Gum Paste and Fondant
Tips and warnings
- If you are very ambitious, you may want to create the "complete effect" of a living royal blue hydrangea with the stems, leaves and all. While this is beyond the scope of this article, here are some things to keep in mind: you will need a great deal more equipment, including 26-gauge wire, tweezers, wire cutters, needle tools, florist tape and wooden skewers, as well as additional tools such as a ball tool and grooved board for the leaves. Leave plenty of time to do the painstaking detail work that these extra touches require. The result will be a "bouquet" of hydrangeas ready to be placed on top of your cake or wherever you wish to use them.
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