Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Christmas flowers

This week on my cake decorating course we made a selection of christmas flowers and leaves in fondant icing. We were shown how to make winter flowering jasmine, variegated ivy, holly leaves and berries, mistletoe and berries, poinsettia and christmas roses. I had a go at making the first three.

The jasmine was made by using a pulled flower technique. A ball of yellow icing is pushed and rolled onto a pointed stick and five slits are cut up from the bottom edge. Then the icing is removed from the pointed stick and the five petals are pulled apart. The petals are left square shaped and the middle of the flowers is marked with a star pointed modelling tool.

The ivy was made using cream icing and an ivy plunger cutter which cuts the shape and also adds veining to the leaf. The leaf was then draped across crumpled silver foil to give it some shape (so it's not flat) and once dry it was then painted with diluted food colouring (the gel type colouring diluted with water or alcohol). Firstly a lighter shade of green was painted almost to the edges, then a darker shade was painted up the middle of each part of the leaf.

The holly was created using a holly plunger cutter which cuts and veins the leaf. I think this would be good if you wanted to do a flat wreath on top of a cake but for a flower display it just wan't right. The colour of the green icing wasn't dark enough and I think my icing wasn't rolled thin enough. If the icing had been thinner then the leaf would have taken on a more 3D look when draped onto the crumpled silver foil. Using a simple holly cutter and a separate veiner might have also made it more realistic.

I didn't have a cake board small enough to put the display together so I improvised and used the bottom of a cardboard box. I covered the bottom with white fondant and pricked around the edge with a fork for a border then stuck the arrangement together using royal icing in a piping bag and number 2 nozzle. The holly berries were a bit too dark (I added too much black when I tried to tone the red down) and it would have been nice to have had a bit more colour to it (perhaps arranging it on a darker background although I'm not sure what colour would have worked) but overall I am quite pleased with the finished look.

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