We’re making our wedding cake on Thursday and Friday, but I’ve decided I can make the little white flower-like decorations to go on the side early: we have the rollable icing, and we can leave them to go hard before affixing to the cake using egg white (which is what I’m using to attach the ribbon – it can be pretty sturdy).
So I thought we’d talk about cake. Everyone loves cake. I’ve had a little browse on the net and found some pictures to help me with my flower making. None of these pictures are of shocking wow-factor cake because we’re going for something fairly simple. Partly because we’re making it, partly because that’s what the Fiance wanted, and partly because none of the wow cakes hit the right buttons for me. Especially flowers on cakes: they look pretty, but they don’t do it for me.
And so, having said that, I’m looking to put a few flower bits on our cake, chiefly the bottom layer. So our cake should look something like this.
Except round, 4 tiers, and definitely no bow. I was planning to have the flowers more at the bottom kind of trickling upwards a little. Sort of like the inverse of this:
But with fewer flowers, all the same kind, and more spaced out. Rather like:
I have lots more inspiration pictures. This one shows all kinds of floweer shapes/types:
Originally, I was thinking about fairly generically-shaped simple curved flowers, like these:
But the more I have googled around, the more I like the spikier looking flowers, of which these are my favourites:
I’m not sure whether I want the flowers to lie flat, like in the first picture, or curl out a little bit, as of the last. I will either make the Fiance decide (*ask his opinion*), or we’ll make our minds up when it comes to putting the thing together – but if the latter, the flowers will have to be kept moist once I have made them, which could prove tricky.
Another thing worth pointing out is the flower “centres”. I want flowers with no centres. Most of the above pictures either having little icing/silver balls in the centre of the flowers, or look like they’ve been attached with pearl pins. Laying aside the fact that neither I nor the Fiance like pearls at all, this is quite a clever way to ensure that your icing flowers stick to your cake and remain in place, although two problems do occur to me:
1) The pins would have to be stuck through whilst the icing was still moist, i.e. as the flowers are being made. This means either you’d have to make your wedding cake well in advance of the wedding and decorate it gradually whilst the central sponge quality deteriorates, or you’d have to make your flowers in advance, stick the pin through whilst moist and then pin the thing to foam or oasis whilst it dries and/or waits for the cake to be ready.
2) Your caterer would have to know exactly how many pins you have put in so that, on serving, she can count them all out and ensure nobody is accidentally served a pin in their piece of cake… as that would not make for a very happy wedding day. One of my teachers at school had a lump on his neck, which rumour told was because some kids put a pin in his sandwich one, and it got stuck and had to be removed! Never found out whether that particular rumour was true. It honestly might have been…
Cake without centres to flowers:
And one last cake picture. I am not particularly in love with this cake: it isn’t a design I like at all, but I do love the colour. This deep, midnight blue just excites me when I look at it, and although we’re having a white cake (out of necessity really: it’s very hard to dye fondant, and with 5kg and at £2.28/kg and the price doubling for buying the coloured stuff, we’re sticking with white. Besides, finding the perfect shade is no easy task, and all our ribbon – which we have miles of left – is blue). Cake:
So, this morning and this afternoon I got to work on my icing flowers. I thought about making a cutter, but decided it would be too long and time consuming, besides of which, I couldn’t guarantee making it neatly, or it cutting smoothly when it was complete. So I went with the template idea: significantly trickier and more time consuming, but I have 5kg of icing sitting in my kitchen: if it went wrong I could keep rolling it out and trying again. Although hopefully I would be fast enough to mass produce.
I searched the web for flower templates, and after many explorations and frustrations came across these:
I printed the patterns off in many sizes so that I could have a look at the prints and decide which was appropriate. I could always turn the paper round and print many copies of the favoured size overleaf, I decided – and then went ahead and cut it out anyway.
Conveniently, I got by with the one template. It did get fairly soggy and stick to the icing at times, but I always managed to get it off without tearing it. The black gradually began to wear away, so by the time I was finished it was quite speckledy!
To make the flowers all I did was dust a board with icing sugar and use an icing-sugared rolling pin to roll it out nice and thinly.
I then cut it into squares a bit bigger than the template and on each square I pressed the template to leave a faint outline. Sometimes I used the flat side of a pointed knife to do this, other times my fingers were sufficient. Because my board is ribbed, the side I rolled upwards had to remain upwards, so I was careful not to make any mistakes and “use up” squares.
Taking the Fiance’s non-serated point-tipped narrow-bladed knife, I cut out the templates carefully. As you can see from the results, some were neater than others, which generally depended on the quality of template impression and how moist the icing was. I suppose it also depended on how patient/impatient I was, and a bit of experimentation with technique.
Spare icing went back into the original pack, which I sealed up inside two plastic bags to keep it moist for Thursday.
Progress was very slow. I listened to 3 discs of ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ whilst I was working and consumed 2 cups of green tea (and maybe a little icing).
I also found that the squares of icing were drying out as I did this, so I sent the Fiance to get me some tissue. Here is a clever trick for keeping pastry or icing moist without just wetting it… Take two pieces of tissue the same size, big enough to cover/lie over the top of your materials – kitchen paper is best if you have it. Dampen one piece. I do this by draping it over one hand, wetting the fingertips of the other hand under a running tap and then shaking my fingers over it. The water spreads quite quickly and it will try to disintegrate a bit, which is why you don’t want to soak it under full flow. Lie this piece of tissue over the dry piece and lie the double-layered tissue over your materials with the “dry” side down – which will now be damp, but not actually wet.
To ensure my icing wasn’t too sticky for cutting and peeling off the template, I laid the tissue over for about half an hour, then removed it, exposing the icing to the drying air again.
To work out how many flowers I would need, I worked out the circumference of my lowest layer of cake, assumed each flower would take up 1 inch round the outside, that I would need two layers, and then a few extra crawlers. Here is how many I made:
I then had to hide the icing in a drawer away from the chat, because I was afraid that if I didn’t she would sit on it. And there aren’t many places she doesn’t go!