Now that we know how to cover a cake with fondant, it is time to apply fondant decorations to that cake.
A classic decoration for cakes is a cluster of beautifully colored and shaped flowers. Of course, you usually see these pretty decorative fondant pieces on top of cakes made by professional bakers; however, you can make the exact same fondant flowers in your own kitchen.
This week, during the cake decorating 101 series, we are going to spruce up our cake plainly covered in white fondant with beautiful blue and purple handmade fondant dogwood flowers. Just this simple touch makes your cake worthy enough to use at a grand celebration, like a birthday, wedding shower or baby shower.
To make these flowers, you are going to need a few extra tools. In order to make the shape of the flower petals and form the flower together, you'll need a gum paste mold. This tool allows you to cut the petals so each is symmetrical, and also allows you to give your flower texture, something you can't easily do with just your hands. You will also need food gel to give the fondant the color you want, and luster dust to give your flowers some depth. The color of the luster dust depends on the color of the fondant; just use your artistic discretion. Most craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels will have these cake-decorating tools.
For both the flower petals and the center piece, you will need two different colors. I went with blue and purple (two of my favorite color combinations). Roll the fondant to at least a quarter of an inch thick. Once you have given the fondant the correct colors and have rolled it to the correct thickness, you're ready to use the mold.
At first I tried cutting the flower petals out of the fondant by hand, but my petals didn't match the mold, so I decided to trace the shapes of the flower petals from the mold onto a piece of paper. I then cut the shape out of the paper and used it to trace on the fondant -- this way I got the exact shape of the mold.
Take the fondant pieces and gently press onto the mold to give the flower texture. Slowly peel the fondant off of the mold block to reveal the beautiful design you just imprinted on the petals. Now press the bottom of the petals together to form into a blossom. You want to make sure the base of the flower is sturdy enough to hold the petals upright.
To make the center piece, roll teeny tiny balls of white fondant, then press them into the portion of the gum paste mold for the flower centers.
No need to buy a drying rack for the fondant shapes; just use an empty egg carton to stick the flowers and center pieces in so they all can dry completely before you decorate them more. Let the fondant flowers dry overnight, along with the center fondant pieces. As soon as the fondant shapes have hardened, you're ready to finish decorating the flowers.
Start by mixing luster dust with vodka; vodka evaporates when you use it with the luster dust, but if you're concerned, use water instead. For these flowers, I used dark blue luster dust to paint the insides of the petals. Once this dried, I painted the center piece of the flowers with purple luster dust. You can also add a little bit of purple to the inside portion of the petals for extra design. As soon as the center pieces and flower petals were both dry, I "glued" the center to the flower petals with raw egg whites. Both of these paint colors combined together to create a realistic flower petal.
Now that the flowers are completely decorated, it's time to decorate the cake. Use toothpicks to insert the flowers into the cake. The toothpicks act as anchors to pin the flowers to the cake. Start at the bottom and work your way up in a curved fashion until you have used all of the flowers.
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The flowers seem difficult at first, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to crank out a dozen flowers to decorate your cake just like a professional would.
Next week we will take a look at decorating cakes with stencils.
Check out the previous installments of the Cake Decorating 101 series: