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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
10) Finally use your smallest cutter to make the last flower and attach this as before.
11) Place edible glue into the centre of the flower and attach some of the pearls to finish off the ruffle flower.
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.
Once dried, you can add some shimmer spray or edible lustre dust if you like.
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.
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.
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.