An orchid lends an elegant and luxurious element to the decor of a home and garden. When created out of gum paste, it can also make a special accessory to a tiered or flat cake. While making flowers and other sculptures out of gum paste takes time, patience is rewarded with a decoration that will look almost as authentic as a fresh orchid. Use your sculpting skills and take the time to learn how to make an exotic orchid or two for your next cake.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Rolling pin
- Orchid-throat cutter
- Ball tool
- Vein tool
- Jumbo muffin or ball pan
- Egg whites
- 26 gauge wire
- Orchid petal cutters
- Small paintbrush
- Yellow food colouring
- Red or purple food colouring
- Floral tape
- Blue, orange or green food colouring
Dust a flat work surface with cornstarch. Roll a medium-sized ball of white gum paste into a sheet 1/8-inch thick with a rolling pin.
Use an orchid-throat cutter to cut out the centre shape of the flower. Use a ball tool to thin the edges of the petals and a vein tool to draw light lines to add texture to the flower.
Dip the tip of a stem-length 26 gauge wire into a shallow bowl of lightly beaten egg white and push 1/2 inch of it through the base of the orchid shape.
Curve the orchid throat into a cup shape and let it dry for eight or more hours in a jumbo muffin tin or ball pan.
Cut out two wide orchid-shaped petals with cutters. Cut out two teardrop-petal shapes and one pear-shaped petal out of the gum paste with additional flower petal cutters. Insert egg white-dipped 26 gauge wire halfway into the base of each flower petal.
Thin the edges of each flower with a ball tool and vein the petals for texture. Drape the petals over a rolling pin and allow to dry for eight hours.
Paint the throat of the orchid shape lightly with yellow food colouring and a small paintbrush. Use a dark purple or red food colouring to stripe thin veins of colour, extending from the centre of the throat to one third of the way up the petals.
Brush yellow food colouring over the base of the two widest flower petals. Allow them to dry.
Assemble the orchid. Place the throat of the orchid in the centre and arrange the two widest petals to flank the throat horizontally. Place the pear-shaped petal vertically over the throat and the two tear-shaped petals at the bottom behind the wide petals, at an angle. Wrap all the wires together with floral tape to secure.
Tips and warnings
- Make a small notch at the tip of the two largest petals to increase the realism of the orchid.
- Use purple, blue, orange or even green food colouring to create different hues of orchids.
- Knead in 1 tbsp of shortening to increase the flexibility of stiff gum paste.
- Add cornstarch to your tools to prevent sticking.
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