Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Designing a Wedding Cake with Dutch Iris Sugar Flowers

I had wanted to combine a couple of design ideas for a while, an offset stacked square cake and Dutch Iris sugar flowers.  This artice is intended to show how the show cake was made from start to finish.  Im hoping this may give more understanding of why wedding cakes can be costly to produce because of the amount of time it takes to make the components to go on it.

Polestyrene dummies are normally used for display cakes and are covered in sugarpaste and decorated in exactly the same way as a real cake would be.  This allows the display cake to be exhibited several times.  I also find them useful for visualising a design or layout of tiers.

Display cakes allow the cake designer to showcase thier skills to potentail clients and give them ideas of how they would like thier own cake made. 

This is how I decided to stack my square tiers (each is 2" bigger as you go down):

Next the colour and decoration.  The beautiful blue Dutch Iris (they also come in other colours, I chose the most difficult!).  I had not made this flower before, so after ordering the cutter (TT-Tinkertech Two) and viener (Squires), I bought myself some of the real thing from the shops.  This is an excellent way to study the flower and make the one in sugar as botanically correct as is possible with the materials.  The petals are more fleshy than those of a rose but thinner than a cala lily. I had a couple if trial runs making the flower until I had a finished flower and method I was happy with. 

The little spaces created by stacking the cake were perfect ledges for placing the sugar flowers as well as a posy on the top, so the design concept was born.

First the dummies where iced and stacked and the ribbon trim added (blue).  There are many border designs you can use on a cake e.g. piped royal icing or sugarpaste cut-outs. The medium you use should fit in with the overall design/cake theme.

Next the sugar flowers.  This is the part that can the most time consuming.  The Dutch Iris has 9 petals, three 'uppers' and 6 'fall', all of these petals need wire supports inside (30g) to help hold the weight of the petals.  You can use moulds and cut outs for flowers or make unwired ones that look very pretty instead. 

Here's how the flowers were assembled over a couple of days:
Two or three flowers worth of petals can be prepared at the same time. All the materials used are available from sugarcraft suppliers

Stage 1- roll out some pale blue sugar flower paste thinly using the grooved side of a non stick board, turn over the paste onto a flat part of the board and cut out petals.


Stage 2- insert wire (put under stay fresh mat while preparing more petals), thin edges on foam mat, vein and shape on dimpled foam until firm (look at a picture to get the petal to dry in the correct shape). Note: All pointed upper petals were cut out first, the forked lower petal second and the bulb shaped petal last.  This sequence ensures that by the time you have finished prepping the bulb shaped petals, the upper petals are firm enough to old their shape.



Stage 3-Dust the petals, use pictures of the flower as a guide if there are no written instructions available from a book or magazine.  I put all the petals in a polyestyrene block when dusted.  I Keep the nice pieces when you get flat packed furniture etc and tape them together to make blocks for this purpose.  Next to set the colour, I pass the petals upside down over a pan of boiling water 3 times to let the steam set the colour.  Its a delicate balance to steam the petals enough to set the colour but not so much as to make them go wet and floppy!.  The petals should be ok to handle after a couple of minutes.  I taped the three upper petals together using 1/2 width olive green florestry tape.


Stage 4-Next time to deal with the lower petals.  The bulb shaped petals were painted white then, yellow, back and front.  While this was drying,  I dusted the forked petals.  The bulb petals were duted last.  The whole lot went in one polystyrene block and was steamed to set.  The lower petals were then taped together (forked and bulb), re-shaped/piched together and left to dry on kichen towel overnight.  If this is done just after steaming they are pliable enough to re-shape togther nicely without breaking.


Stage 4-Now time to make some leaves.  Same principle as above.  Two leaves per flower (26g wire), one of each size using the TT long leaf cutter and corn cob husk veiner from Diamond Paste and Mould Co.  The colour dusted onto the leaves was set using leaf glaze.  When the leaves were touch dry after dipping in leaf glaze they were shaped and left to dry.



Stage 5-The flowers can now be finished.  Three of the lower sets of petals were wired to the stem of the upper petals spaced in between the gaps.  One large and one small leaf was then taped to the stem.  Flowers with wires are put into a plastic posy pic which has been sanitised and are then inserted into the cake (if this is how the flowers are intended to be displayed, a bunch of tied sugar flowers with wires covered in florestry tape can be secured to the cake surface with royal icing). Wires should never be inserted directly into cake (!!heath and safety!!).  I made 3 single flowers to go in the gaps on the cake corners and a big posy for the top with 4 flowers and some extra leaves.



And then the flowers were put into the cake and its done!






So one cake can easily be a few days work! 

Please visit our website for more cakes; www.tashastastytreats.co.uk


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