When I was younger, I used to go to the occasional sugarcraft class with my Mum. I could pipe Roses (badly), pipe basketweave (again, kinda badly), and make some attempt at fondant flowers…. alas, badly.
I have within the last few years started to try to learn again, with some assistance from my Mum, my attempts have gone from bad…to not as bad, but I still often think they look like cartoons of flowers rather than…you know, actual flowers.
It has been a hectic few weeks, what with one thing and another, so what could be nicer than relaxing and playing with fondant for a couple of hours under the expert guidance of the lovely Anna Tyler.
Her cakes are beyond amazing, the piping, the detail…the overall perfection. So when she announced that she was going to start doing classes, I thought…oh yes! She emailed me to say she had a last minute cancellation for her Rose making workshop tonight and I was sold.
So first things first, she uses regular fondant, exactly as you would use to cover the cake, and adds 1tsp of Gum Tragacanth per 250g fondant to firm it up with.
This is added the night before you want to use it, then it has firmed up by the time it is used.
Pick a colour and colour your fondant. Anna recommends having a darker centre colour, fading out to paler towards the edges.
For my main colour, I chose a nice yellow:
As the next layers are added, more white fondant is added to dilute out the colour and fade to the edges.
The centre of the rose is either an egg-(with an extra pointy end)shaped piece of fondant, or a polystyrene egg (chopped in half and trimmed at the base).
Next, the fondant is rolled out (using a light dusting of icing sugar to ensure the surface is dry and non-sticky), and a petal is cut with a cutter (or free-form teardrop shape with a knife) that is just a little taller than the centre cone. It is then softened with a bone tool on the edges, inverted, painted with water (to make it stick) and wrapped around the cone.
Next, 3 petals are cut the same size as the first one and worked with that really high tech sugarcrafting tool… the cocktail stick.
From the centre to the side… press firmly and roll to the edge.
Pinch the rolled out edge to the stick and roll in..
Turn over and place on a flower former… Or in this case, a plastic spoon!
Paint on some water, and apply the petal to the centre so it overlaps the uncovered area,
Then the same, but with a slightly larger cutter, and 5 petals (or a 5 petal multi-cutter):
Next, either slightly larger again and 7 petals, or to cheat slightly (if you have lots to make) a slightly wider petal cutter and 4 petals, and this time instead of just one cocktail stick rolling on the diagonal, rolling twice, to make a point in the centre of the petal. (note: I stuck these on a little too high, they should be a bit lower, but I have fiddled them a bit to make them look approximately right!)
And for my final layer, using the same slightly wider cutter, 5 petals are cut, rolled and applied. (Otherwise, 9 regular shaped petals)
Done! Not quite as good as Anna’s, but getting better!
Delicate pink: Anna
Pink in progress: mine
She also showed us how to make a bud, the method is the same, except only the first single petal is applied to the cone, then a calyx shape cut from some green, edges softened then applied to the underneath of the bud. The below bud then was stuck on a cocktail stick, and a pointy additional bit added, it would then be smoothed out and done!
I was also interested in how she makes the little mini buds used on some of her cakes. Make icing sausage, and slice into equal pieces:
Form small sausages.
Put on some cling film, fold over, and smooth out the upper edge.
Curl up into a small bud.
Then pinch off the lower piece to form a super cute mini bud.
I then forgot to take a picture of the end result. Ooops. I will try and have a play this week and rectify!