Monday, August 30, 2010

What to do???

Designing a cake is the hardest part

I usually design cakes around the gumpaste flowers I want to make. But,I want to make so many different flowers I end up going in circles... so, I took out just 3 of my cutters and have been very good at sticking to my plan for the first time. Lets see how I do... 

I am halfway done making them and now I have to decide what cake design I want to add them to. I have an idea of what I want in my head and I go through a lot of magazines and books for additional ideas. With several different pictures I found that I like and with the flowers I am making I have come up with a design... Yippee!! So, in the next couple of days I am going to make the cake and finish the flowers hopefully and have a completed cake to share.

I will update this later today of my progress and hopefully be able to add some pictures of the flowers I am going to use or at least of the ones that are complete.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gumpaste flowers beginnings

My first ever gumpaste flower class

Several years ago I took my first gumpaste flower class with Nicholas Lodge and learned to make a rose. Being that is the most requested flower why not give it try. I remember not even knowing what gumpaste was but saw books about it and thought this could be fun. It was a two hour class with all the tools supplied.  Leaving the class I was very proud of what I had accomplished in the two hours and was totally hooked on making gumpaste flowers.

What I love about gumpaste flowers
Moth Orchids

It is the detail needed and patience required to be able to make something in sugar that looks so absolutely real. I knew that it would take a bit of practice and time to improve my technique so I decided to further my skills by taking more classes. It isn't only the technique of making gumpaste flowers but the shaping of each petal and leaf and adding the color that really makes the flowers look absolutely real.   If it is possible to make a flower in sugar I can make it.

The Rose, the hardest flower for me to learn
Rose, Gaura, Apple Berries

I have to confess that the rose was the hardest flower for me to learn and just don't understand why. I was able to learn and make the tiniest of orchids, the most unusual flowers, but when it came to roses they just stumped me and didn't look natural. I decided to stop making them for a while and keep learning other flowers until one day I had an order.. So, out came the books, a few samples of real roses, my tools, and I started practicing and finally it just clicked. It was the frustration on not getting it perfect in my eyes that held me back and decided to use different rose cutters and style which really helped. I am no longer afraid of the rose and very pleased at how I make them now.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sugarpaste Pink Dahlias

Pink Dahlias for the Wedding

I had a customer ask me if I could make Dahlias for her daughters wedding cake. She sent a picture of the Dahlias she wanted and I did a bit of research on the Internet about them. I came to find out there are several different types and colors. I then went to the local florists to find the one the customer sent a picture of. Finally, I found it and the same exact color she had requested which thrilled me since it is always nice to have a real flower as reference. 

How the Dahlias came to be

Gumpaste Dahlias for wedding cake
First I had to find a cutter that was the shape and sizes I needed and began trying a few different techniques to find the best way to make them. When it comes to making custom sugar flowers the best way isn't necessarily always the quickest way. How real and life like I can make them is the part I do enjoy the most. Dahlias are a pretty full flower and in sugar it isn't always easy to get them just like you want. After my several different approaches I did find that wiring all the petals individually would work the best.  They can be assembled and arranged much easier and the end result is a much more realistic looking flower. Dahlia petals are quite small and do graduate in size a bit the fuller they become but not much so I had a lot of petals to wire to complete just one flower. I figured out the necessary amount of layers needed and I made 3 different size petals to achieve the flower I wanted.  After the petals were complete I had to make the center of the flower which were very tiny petals not opened yet and very slightly opened. Making that many very tiny petals was too bulky so I ended up taking a small ball of sugarpaste and cutting it to look like closed petals that were opening then making a few tiny petals to attach around it before adding the individually wired ones.  I was very pleased at the one flower I made and how it all worked out especially after I added the pale pink dusting color to it... So, now it was time to make the 10 Dahlias and the other flowers the customer ordered..
Gumpaste Dahlia arrangement

My customer was very happy and pleased how beautiful they came out... I got a big hug and knew she really did love them..

Tropical Sugar Flower Order

Tropical gumpaste flowers
for "Fresh Ideas" venue
I never excepted so much from entering my cake in the Orange County Fair. As I wrote earlier I had several displays and even did a demo.. I met such great people in the culinary department coordinating it all and the whole experience was just wonderful.

To top it all off I got a sugar flower order from Renee Fontes of "Fresh Ideas" who was the coordinator of the culinary exhibits. You can see her blog at . I made the tropical sugar flower arrangement for the cake she made. You guessed it a tropical themed party...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

2010 Orange County Fair display cakes and arrangements

Gumpaste roses and orchids
The other area I contributed to was the floral department with the fresh and dried flowers. I had on display a wedding cake with roses, orchids, and filler flowers. It was very nice of the floral department to allow meto be part of them. When I called to inquire about displaying what I do they really couldn't visualize what gumpaste flowers were. It isn't easy to explain except saying they look real.. so I brought over samples and they were very impressed at how real they do look. I was very excited and honored to have my sugarflowers part of their display as well.


My display
Lastly, I was one of the featured artist and I was displaying a few of my sugar flower arrangements. It was a wonderful exhibit with an array of talent from bread sculptures to butter sculptures. 

A short write up
There was fruit carving and decorated cakes to just name a few.. It was a great honor to be part of such talent and share with others what I love to create...

2010 Orange County Fair Demo I did

Peony gumpaste flower with cake
I also did a demo at the fair for the first time on making a gumpaste Peony. I came with most of the pieces already made and assembled knowing I had only 1 hour to show how to make a complete flower. This particular flower takes at least 2 days to make from cutting the petas, shaping them, drying them, dusting them just the right colors, and then assemblinig it.

I had a lot of interest and questions about gumpaste and the flowers throughout my demo which was fantastic. It is always nice to share with others a craft to keep it going and for others to learn. One person that watched was so kind to email a picture of the cake and flower I made that I had with me... this is it... It was a lot of fun and hopefully next year they will be offering demos again and I can be part of it.

2010 Orange County Fair Winning Cake

gumpaste tropical flowers
It was a wonderful year at the fair not only going and eating all the great fair food but being part of it this year. I was very excited and surprised to learn while I was at the fair that the cake I had entered won "Best of Show" in addition to the Division Winner and 1st place winner.

Winning ribbons!!!
Here are the ribbons I won for it all. It was a very exciting day indeed. The wonderful part was I got to share with everyone at the fair that came to see the culinary department the gumpaste flowers I create. Although it isn't an unknow sugar art, there are still many people who do not know about it or don't know how real they can look.

2010 Orange County Fair

Hi everyone,
Gumpaste flower arrangement
This year I decided to contact the fair and see if I could display my gumpaste (sugar) flowers. When I met with the culinary department they were thrilled to see what I do and have me share it as an exhibitor. I was more than excited. I created 1 gumpaste floral arrangement in a vase and 2 cakes for the display. In additon to contacting the culinary deptartment I contacted the floral deptartment to see if they might be interested in gumpaste flowers displayed. It is always hard to describe what I do over the phone, so I made an appointment and showed them just exactly what gumpaste flowers are.
Large white gumpaste rose

They were very impressed and couldn't believe one could make life like flowers out of sugarpaste. They liked the orchids and roses I made and wanted to display a wedding cake with them too. The cake came out wonderful and I added some berries, leaves, and succulents to the arrangement. I also entered a cake in the cake decorating contest and recieved divisional winner with my cake of tropical flowers. Lastly, I am doing a gumpaste flower demo at the fair on August 1st . All in all this was more than exciting and I am so glad the Orange County Fair gave me this opportunity.