Quick and simple modern roses

These lovely little modern roses really are very quick and simple to make. If you’ve never made any sugar flowers or fondant decorations before, this is a great place to start and you don’t need any special equipment.

Modern roses used as cupcake toppers.

Modern roses used as cupcake toppers.

What you will need:

  • Fondant icing in your choice of colour for the roses.
  • Green fondant icing for the leaves.
  • Rolling pin.
  • Edible glue (water is a good substitute).
  • A small paintbrush.
  • A sharp knife.
  • A scriber/leaf shaper tool but a cocktail stick will do just as well.
  • Some corn flour for dusting.
  • A baking tray or plate with some kitchen paper on it. You will use this for drying the roses you make.
Equipment for making roses.

Equipment for making roses.

I have, above, just listed fondant icing but wanted to give you a note on this. If you wish to use your roses as decorations on buttercream, they will ‘wilt’ after 24 hours. You can add them at the last minute but if you want your roses to be more long lasting, I would suggest mixing your fondant with flower paste in equal measures. This will result in something called modelling paste which I explained in a previous post.

How to make the roses:

1) Take a piece of your fondant and place this on a mat or work surface dusted with cornflour. Roll out the fondant until quite thin. Ensure you regularly move the fondant around on the work surface to avoid sticking. You can also dust the top of the fondant with cornflour if you find your rolling pin sticks to it.

2) Cut your rolled fondant into strips. You can make these as narrow or wide as you like, depending on how tall you wish your roses to be. Remove the trimmed fondant and square up each end of the strips.

3) Brush one of the long edges of each strip with a little edible glue or water. Be sparing here otherwise your roses will turn into a sticky mess!

Preparing the fondant.

Preparing the fondant.

4) Fold each strip of fondant in half lengthways, using the glue or water to stick the two sides together.

5) Cut the strips into shorter pieces. The length of these pieces will depend on whether you want to make small rose buds or larger, full roses. If you are not sure at this stage, you can just leave the strips in long pieces.

Folding the strips and cutting to size.

Folding the strips and cutting to size.

6) Now it is time to roll up the fondant strips to make them into roses. Apply a little edible glue or water along the long side of the strip where the two sides meet (not where the fold is). Again, be sparing with the glue.

7) Beginning at one end, start to roll up the strip of fondant. You may find it easier to do this in your hands or on a work top. Gather the fondant at the bottom but allow it to open out at the top so it isn’t rolled too tightly. You can gently ease out the edges with your fingers to give the rose some movement and make it more realistic.

8) Neaten the bottom of the rose by trimming it with your knife. Your rose is done!

9) Place each rose on the tray and leave to dry for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.

Rolling the fondant into roses.

Rolling the fondant into roses.

Making the leaves:

1) Take a small piece of your green fondant.

2) Roll this piece of fondant into a ball. Use the finger of one hand to roll the ball in the palm of your other hand.

3) Keeping the fondant in your hand, place your finger to one side of the ball. Roll the edge of the ball backwards and forwards with your finger to create a teardrop shape.

4) Use your scriber/leaf shaper tool or cocktail stick to make an indent along the centre of the teardrop.

5) Pull the shaper tool or cocktail stick along the fondant to give the impression of a leaf.

6) Make another leaf in the same way so you have enough for each rose. For smaller rose buds, you may want just one leaf each.

Making the rose leaves.

Making the rose leaves.

7) You can use your fingers to shape the leaves a little and give them some movement. You do not need to let the leaves dry at this stage as it is easier to attach them to the roses when they are still soft.

Assembling the roses:

1) Place a little bit of edible glue or water on the top of the larger end of each leaf.

2) Attach the leaves to the base of each rose. Curve them as you wish to obtain the shape you prefer.

Completed rose.

Completed rose.

3) Place the roses, with leaves attached, back on the tray and set aside until they are dry.

Make as many roses as you need. They will keep well for a long time if stored correctly, so you can make them in advance of any event. Remember not to store them in a plastic container or the fondant will sweat. Instead, use a cardboard box lined with some tissue or kitchen paper. An old (but clean!) shoe box is ideal.

Bunches of modern roses.

Bunches of modern roses.

You can use these pretty roses in many different ways on cupcakes, large cakes and biscuits. For this project, I used my pink and cream roses as cupcake toppers. I had to photograph these quickly before they were snapped up by my daughter and husband!!

Cupcakes with rose toppers.

Cupcakes with rose toppers.

Hope you enjoy making these quick and easy modern roses. I’d love to see what you have used them for.

Ruffle flowers

Ruffle flower and rose petal cake.

Ruffle flower and rose petal cake.

Here is my first post on making sugarcraft flowers! It’s a bit of a long one but I’ve tried to break it down step by step and provide lots of useful tips for you.

You will need a few pieces of equipment that you may not already have and there are several steps involved here but please don’t worry, it is easier than you think. Once you have got the hang of the method involved, you will be able to make lots of these. You can pick any colours you like and also add some shimmer spray or edible lustre dust at the end if you fancy some sparkle!

In this post I will also show you how to make some rose petals to add further interest to a cake. You can see how I used these in the finished cake above.

Here is what you will need:

  • 5 petal rose cutters in 3 different sizes. The ones I have are made by FMM. If you really don’t want to buy these, you could use circular pastry cutters but the effect will not be the same.
  • A rolling pin.
  • A small paint brush. Tip – make sure you use it just for food purposes!
  • A ball tool. These are fairly easy to get hold of in places like Hobbycraft and aren’t expensive. I use this a lot in cake making.
  • Edible glue. You can use water instead but the glue will set firmer and be more secure. There are ways of making this yourself but, as I’ve not tried to do this, I can’t really recommend it.
  • A foam mat. You will use this to frill the edges of your flowers. It’s also useful for placing things on to dry.
  • Sugar paste in your chosen colour. You can now get different colours in the supermarket or find a more extensive range on line or in specialist cake shops. If you like, you can make a custom colour by adding some gel food colouring to white fondant.
  • Some flower paste. This is available in some supermarkets in the baking section (I got mine in Sainsburys) and is easy to get hold of online and in specialist shops. Flower paste is different from regular fondant so don’t confuse the two!
  • Different sized rose petal cutters. You can use small, circular cutters instead.
  • Some edible pearls in whatever colour you prefer. I got mine from Lakeland.
  • Cornflour for dusting.
  • Some small sandwich bags.
  • Several glasses, mugs, ramekin dishes for making flower formers.
  • Clingfilm for flower formers.
  • A small palette knife. This is not essential but is useful for lifting the flowers from the foam mat and releasing the paste from the board.
Equipment for ruffle flowers.

Equipment for ruffle flowers.

Firstly, a note about flower paste, or sugar flower paste as it is often called in the baking world. This is used for making sugar flowers as it can be rolled very thinly and sets hard which means it holds its shape. However, you will need to handle the completed flowers with care as they can be very delicate. The paste dries out in the air. So, when working with it, you need to only use a small amount at one time and keep the rest covered over to avoid it drying out and cracking. This is what I use the sandwich bags for.

You can use just flower paste by itself and add gel food colouring to achieve the shade you need. In this post, I have mixed it with regular fondant icing in equal amounts which gives something called modelling paste. This is easier to work with, especially for beginners. I don’t weigh the amount of flower paste or fondant, just approximately the same is fine. As you will roll it out very thinly, you do not need huge amounts. However, do make sure you have enough as it is almost impossible to make the same shade again! If, by mixing your coloured fondant with the white flower paste, you do not have quite the shade you want, add in some gel food colouring to alter it.

For this project, you will also need to make your own flower formers (cheaper than buying them!). This is really easy to do. Get some cups, glasses, mugs, ramekin dishes, whatever you have to hand. Tear off a piece of clingfilm. Place this over the top of your glass (or other item) but do not pull it tight. Instead, push it down into the glass a little to make a shallow dip. Your flowers will each sit in one of these formers whilst drying out and this will give them a more three dimensional shape rather than being flat.

So, now you have your modelling paste and flower formers at the ready, lets start on making these ruffle flowers!

1) Dust your plastic mat with a little cornflour. Take a small piece of your modelling paste and carefully roll this out until very thin – you should just about be able to see through it. Don’t be scared of the thinness as the paste is very elastic and pliable. I tend to use a plastic rolling pin as it is less likely to stick. If your rolling pin is sticking, dust a small amount of cornflour on top of the paste (but not too much as it will dry the paste out). Move the paste regularly to avoid it sticking to the board.

Tip – when rolling out modelling or flower paste, the technique is different from pastry, cookie dough etc. Start with your rolling pin in the middle of the paste and literally push the paste outwards towards the edge then repeat in the other direction, turn the paste through 90 degrees and repeat.

Roll out modelling paste until extremely thin.

Roll out modelling paste until extremely thin.

2) Using the largest of your flower cutters, cut the shape out of the modelling paste. You will need to push firmly and it is ok to wiggle the cutter around to make sure you get a clean-edged cut.

Crumple the remaining paste up and add it to the reserved paste you have covered in your bag so it does not dry out.

Place the rose cutter onto the modelling paste.

Place the rose cutter onto the modelling paste.

Cut out the rose shape.

Cut out the rose shape.

3) Place your cut out shape onto the foam mat.

4) You now need to frill the edges of your flower. Grab your ball tool and hold this at about a 45 degree angle, half on the paste and half on the mat. Press quite firmly and curl the edges of the petal by moving the ball tool from the outside edge towards the centre of the petal where the little point is. Do not go backwards and forwards as this will tear the modelling paste. This technique is used lots in flower making so I would suggest trying it out on a few samples before making your final flowers. If you go wrong, just crumple up the flower and re-use the modelling paste!

Frill the edge of each petal.

Frill the edge of each petal.

Continue until the whole flower is frilled.

Continue until the whole flower is frilled.

5) Lift the flower off the foam using your palette knife or fingers. Carefully place it in one of your flower formers and make sure you are happy with the shape. You can adjust the clingfilm if you want a shallower or deeper flower.

Place the cut and frilled flower into the former.

Place the cut and frilled flower into the former.

6) Roll some more paste and cut out another flower using the large cutter, and frill the edges as described above.

7) Brush some edible glue, or a tiny amount of water, onto the centre of your first flower and also a short way up each petal.

Brush with edible glue (or a little water).

Brush with edible glue (or a little water).

8) Place the second large flower you made in step 6 above onto the first flower. Make sure you off set the flowers so the petals do not sit directly above each other.

Place a second flower of the same size on top.

Place a second flower of the same size on top.

9) Now use your medium cutter to make one more flower, frilling the edges as before. Glue this to the large flowers using the method in steps 6 and 7.

Glue one medium sized flower on top.

Glue one medium sized flower on top.

10) Finally use your smallest cutter to make the last flower and attach this as before.

Attach one of the small sized flowers.

Attach one of the small sized flowers.

11) Place edible glue into the centre of the flower and attach some of the pearls to finish off the ruffle flower.

Apply some edible glue in the centre of the flower and attach several edible flowers.

Apply some edible glue in the centre of the flower and attach several edible flowers.

12) You now need to leave your ruffle flowers to dry in a cool place. Do not cover them over as they need the air to dry them. It may take a couple of days for the flowers to become completely firm so ensure you start making them well ahead of when you will need them.

Tip – it is very important that you do not store these flowers in a plastic box or they will lose their firmness. Once they have dried completely, you can store them in a cardboard box surrounded by some kitchen paper or tissues. Empty shoe boxes are great for this.

image

Once dried, you can add some shimmer spray or edible lustre dust if you like.

Make different sized flowers by just using the medium and small cutters.

Make different sized flowers by just using the medium and small cutters.

You can make smaller ruffle flowers by omitting the largest flower cutter. Instead, make two medium flowers and one small flower then attach together.

To make the rose petals:

1) Use different size rose petal cutters to cut out lots of petals.

2) Frill the edges of each petal. Start by placing your ball tool just slightly away from the point of the petal. Push it up to the top of the petal. Then repeat for the other side. For a different effect, push the ball tool all the way round in one movement.

Cut out different sized rose petals and frill them.

Cut out different sized rose petals and frill them.

3) Leave the petals to dry completely. I place mine on a foam flower former but you can just leave them on a tray or the foam mat you have been using to frill them.

Assembling the cake:

For this you will need a cake that has been covered in fondant icing.

Attach the flowers to the cake with edible glue. You may need to hold them in place with your finger for a couple of minutes, pressing gently in the centre, to ensure they do not slip. This is especially important if you are attaching them to the sides of the cake.

I also tend to support the edges of the flowers with some crumpled up kitchen paper until the glue has dried completely.

Remember not to keep your cake in a plastic box or tin as the flowers will start to sweat and become droopy. Instead, use a cardboard cake box to store your finished creation.

Attach to the cake with edible glue.

Attach to the cake with edible glue.

If you don’t want to make a large cake with lots of flowers and blossoms, you can easily just make a few and use them as beautiful toppers for cupcakes.

I hope this post has been useful and that you enjoy making your own ruffle flowers and rose petals.

Ice cream cone cupcakes

These yummy little beauties were inspired by the start of summer, long days out with the family and thoughts of the seaside. You won’t find these in any ice cream van but we all know what a flake 99 or a Mr Whippy looks like so I thought I’d make a cake version. I first made these last summer and it seems that they are very popular this year. They are actually pretty simple to make and would be great for a picnic or barbecue with friends.

Ice cream come cupcakes.

Ice cream come cupcakes.

Ingredients:

  • 6oz (170g) self raising flour (sieved)
  • 6oz (170g) soft butter or margarine
  • 6oz (170g) sugar
  • 3 eggs

You will also need:

  • 18 ice cream cone cups (these are the ones with flat bottoms). You can find them in the ice cream section of most supermarkets.
Ice cream cups.

Ice cream cups.

  • 9 chocolate flakes.
  • A batch of buttercream (you can find my recipe here – you will need to double the amounts).
  • An assortment of sprinkles.
  • A few tablespoons of jam.
  • Two cupcake baking trays. If you don’t have these, you can use normal oven trays instead but it will be harder to keep the ice cream cups from falling over.
  • Some kitchen foil.
  • Stand mixer or electric hand whisk and mixing bowl.
  • Disposable piping bag.
  • Large star nozzle.

Preparation:

1) Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade (fan oven).

2) Wrap a strip of foil around each ice cream cup and place them in the cup cake trays. This will help to balance the cakes and keep them upright. The cups are quite delicate so be careful when wrapping them.

Prepare the ice cream cups.

Prepare the ice cream cups.

Making the cakes:

1) Place the butter (or margarine) in a bowl with the sugar. Beat this well until pale and fluffy.

2) Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat after each addition.

3) Using a metal spoon, gently fold the flour into the batter until it is all incorporated.

4) Place a teaspoon of cake batter into each ice cream cup. Then add a teaspoon of your chosen jam into each one. Finally, add a dessert spoonful of batter on top of the jam. The mixture should come to about 1 inch or so below the rim of each cup.

Cakes ready for baking.

Cakes ready for baking.

5) Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes or until the cake springs back when pressed lightly with your finger.

6) Leave to cool completely in the tins.

Leave in the tins to cool.

Leave in the tins to cool.

7) When cold, remove the strips of foil. Your cakes are now ready for decorating!

How to decorate your cakes:

1) Snip the end off the piping bag and insert the star nozzle. Fill the piping bag (see my previous post for tips on doing this) with buttercream.

2) Pipe a swirl of buttercream onto each cake.

3) Shake your chosen sprinkles onto the buttercream swirls. Then cut the flakes in half and place a piece into the buttercream on each cake.

4) Your delicious ice cream cupcakes are now ready to be enjoyed!

Finished cakes.

Finished cakes.

This is such a fun recipe make and will put a smile on everyone’s face when they eat the cakes. Why not get your kids involved, especially in the decorating? You can add food colouring and flavouring to the buttercream so the cakes look and taste just like your favourite ice cream. My daughter loves mint choc chip ice cream so next time I’m going to colour the buttercream green, add a few drops of mint extract and sprinkle with some tiny chocolate chips!

Enjoy your tasty cakes!

Enjoy your tasty cakes!

Happy baking folks!

Decorated vanilla biscuits

Here’s a great idea for decorating a batch of my vanilla biscuits. These make a lovely gift for someone special, could easily be used as wedding favours or can be sold at fairs.

Fondant iced vanilla biscuits.

Fondant iced vanilla biscuits.

What you will need:

  • A batch of my vanilla biscuits which are completely cold.
  • Fondant icing in the colours of your choice.
  • Rolling pin.
  • Icing sugar for dusting.
  • Impression mats or patterned rolling pins if you want to add texture to the fondant.
  • Edible shimmer spray if you want to add sparkle to your biscuits.
  • Edible glue or a little water.
  • Small paint brush.
  • Cellophane bags and ribbon of your choice for packaging.

Method:

1) Gently knead your fondant until it is pliable. Dust your work surface with some icing sugar then roll out the fondant to about 3-5mm thick. To make sure your rolling pin doesn’t stick, you can dust a little icing sugar on top of the fondant. Make sure you regularly move the fondant so it doesn’t stick to the work top.

Roll out the fondant.

Roll out the fondant.

2) If you want to add texture to your fondant, now is the time to do this. Place an impression mat over the fondant then roll over the top of this, pressing fairly firmly. Carefully peel off the impression mat. To use a patterned rolling pin, simply roll this over the top of the fondant. You can skip this step and just use the plain fondant.

Using an impression mat.

Using an impression mat.

3) Once you have patterned the fondant, cut out matching shapes using the same cutters as you did for the biscuit dough.

Cut out the fondant.

Cut out the fondant.

4) Spread a little edible glue or a small amount of water to the surface of each biscuit. Do this one biscuit at a time, covering each one with fondant before adding glue or water to the next biscuit.

Spread a little edible glue or water onto the surface of the biscuit.

Spread a little edible glue or water onto the surface of the biscuit.

5) Place your fondant shape onto the biscuit and gently smooth this round the edges.

Attach the fondant to the biscuit.

Attach the fondant to the biscuit.

6) Leave the fondant to set for a while. Then, if you like, you can spray with edible shimmer. I used Dr Oetker silver shimmer spray which is readily available in supermarkets. Hold the can about 20cms away from the decorated biscuit and spray evenly over the surface.

Silver shimmer spray.

Silver shimmer spray.

7) You will now have lovely shimmery biscuits! Allow the shimmer spray to set a bit before packaging.

Completed biscuits.

Completed biscuits.

8) To package the biscuits, place each one into a cellophane bag and tie some ribbon around the bag to close it. Curl the ribbon, tie a bow or leave long trailing ends, whatever you fancy.

Wrap in cellophane bags and tie with pretty ribbon.

Wrap in cellophane bags and tie with pretty ribbon.

These biscuits keep really well so you can make and package them up several days before an event.

The butterfly, bird and ballerina dress cutters I used for this project were from Iced Jems – love all the things in her shop!

Hope you enjoy baking and decorating these biscuits. Please post any photos of your biscuits as I love to see what you’ve been making!

Butterfly biscuit.

Butterfly biscuit.

Bird biscuits.

Bird biscuits.

Heart biscuits.

Heart biscuits.

Vanilla biscuits

I use the recipe for these vanilla biscuits lots as they can be made into any shapes you like and decorated in many different ways. I first used the recipe for my daughter’s second birthday as part of her ‘garden’ cake. In this instance, wooden kebab sticks were inserted into the cut out dough shapes before baking.

Cookies cake

Cookies cake

This recipe will make approximately 35-40 small/medium biscuits but this obviously depends on what size cutters you use. You can increase or decrease the ingredients to make different amounts of dough.

Ingredients:

  • 10oz (280g) plain flour, sieved (plus extra for dusting)
  • 7oz (200g) firm butter
  • 3.5oz (100g) icing sugar, sieved
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Equipment:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Table knife
  • Cookie cutters of your choice
  • Clingfilm
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Baking trays
  • Rolling pin
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Palette knife

Method:

1) Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour. Rub the butter into the flour, using your fingertips, until the mix looks like breadcrumbs.

Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour.

Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour.

2) Add the sugar and stir this in. Then add the egg yolks and vanilla extract.

Stir the icing sugar into the mixture.

Stir the icing sugar into the mixture.

 

Add the egg yolks.

Add the egg yolks.

3) Using the table knife. begin to mix the dough together. Soon it will become too stiff to stir with the knife so it’s time to get your hands in and bring the dough together. It will be a soft, sticky dough.

Start to blend with a table knife.

Start to blend with a table knife.

Bring the dough together with your hands.

Bring the dough together with your hands.

You will have a soft, sticky dough.

You will have a soft, sticky dough.

4) Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Wrap dough in clingfilm and place in the fridge.

Wrap dough in clingfilm and place in the fridge.

5) Whilst the dough is chilling, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade fan oven. Grease the baking sheets and line with greaseproof paper. Cut two additional large pieces of greaseproof paper – you will use these for rolling out the dough. You can roll it out on a well floured work surface but it is a very sticky dough so the greaseproof paper makes this an easier job.

6) Remove the dough from the fridge. Cut it in half, re-wrap one half and place it back in the fridge.

7) Place one piece of greaseproof paper on your work top and generously dust this with flour. Put the dough onto the paper, dust generously with more flour and top with the second piece of paper.

Roll out the dough between two sheets of greaseproof paper generously dusted with flour.

Roll out the dough between two sheets of greaseproof paper generously dusted with flour.

8) Roll out the dough to approximately 3-5mm thick. Cut out the shapes you have chosen and place these onto the prepared baking trays. You may find it helpful to use the palette knife for lifting the cut shapes onto the trays. Repeat these steps with the second half of the dough.

Cut out the shapes you have chosen.

Cut out the shapes you have chosen.

9) Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes or until slightly golden brown around the edges.

Cook for about 10 minutes until golden brown around the edges.

Cook for about 10 minutes until golden brown around the edges.

10) Use the palette knife to move the biscuits onto the wire cooling rack. Leave to cool completely.

Leave on a wire rack until completely cold.

Leave on a wire rack until completely cold.

Once cooled, you can decorate the biscuits however you like. The most simple way is to make a ‘water icing’ which is just some sifted icing sugar mixed with a little cold water until you have a stiff, but spreadable, icing. Spread some icing onto each biscuit then add decorations such as sprinkles, mini sweeties, smarties etc.

For another, special way, of decorating these biscuits, see my recent post.

Sourdough bread class

I had such a lovely time at York Cookery School this afternoon on a sourdough bread making class. I’ve only every attempted to make bread by hand on a few occasions and never had any real success with it. Bread making has always seemed to me to be a mysterious area of cookery that involves a lot of alchemy and time. However, our tutor, Keith, was brilliant and made us feel like the process was actually quite simple. I had lots of fun getting stuck into mixing, kneading and baking and, before long, the room was filled with the enticing smell of fresh, warm bread.

I came home with a huge tray full of loaves and bread which we started to tuck into and taste. It was all really delicious and has inspired me to give the world of bread making a second chance. I now also have a new baby to look after, feed and water…. Before you get any ideas, I’m referring here to my brand new sourdough starter!!

Bread making heaven!

Bread making heaven!

Summer bunting cake

This week it is my daughter’s school summer fayre and I’ve been asked to make a couple of raffle prizes. I’ve had fun coming up with some ideas and one of the things I decided on was a bunting theme, as I thought it would fit in with a summer fayre. I loosely based this on the rainbow cake which I did for my youngest niece’s baptism. Here’s the finished cake – let me know what you think. Hopefully it will help to raise lots of money for the school.

Summer bunting cake.

Summer bunting cake.