Flowers are certainly the most traditional and most admired way to top a cake. Flowers are a classic cake decoration. Though they look intricate, they are actually quite simple. Following are some tips for different types of icing flowers.
For decorating debut and wedding cakes, nothing can beat icing in the form of flowers. And during kiddie parties, who hasn’t seen boys and girls quarreling over the four pieces of icing flower from the party cake? Such is the strong market potential that can be tapped by producers of icing flowers for cakes, says Erlinda Ferrer, resource speaker from ESF Cakes and Bread House.
To get started on this project, you need a mixing bowl that can be either plastic or stainless, a flour sifter, a measuring cup, and a pair of scissors. You will also need the other materials listed below, all of which can be bought for around P1,200 from Divisoria in Manila or from the supermarket nearest your place: (actual prices may vary)
12″ pastry bag (P140), with tips 3, 36, 67, 103 or 104 (P35 each tip)
Medium size rubber scraper (P230)
No. 7 flower nail (P50/pc)
Portable mixer (P500)
Code P-100 plastic ware for packaging (P6.50/pc)
12″ floral wire (P26/pack of 100 sticks), or magnetic wire #27 (P492/0.5 kg)
Toothpicks (P9.50 per pack)
Bond paper (P10/20-sheet pack), or wax paper (P500/5-kg roll)
454 g powdered sugar, sifted (P28/box)
1 tsp calamansi extract (P0.50)
2 pcs egg white (P4/pc)
4 colors gel-paste food color (P62/1 oz bottle of primary colors and P75/1 (oz special color)
1. First, separate the egg white from the yolk by cracking it into halves and letting the yolk stay in one shell while the white drips. Set aside the egg white and extract the juice from the calamansi. Then get the sifted powdered sugar, make a well at the center and pour the egg white and calamansi dew onto it. Circularly blend the three ingredients together using a portable mixer that is set to speed no.
The egg white will serve to bond all the three ingredients together, while the calamansi dew will serve as a stabilizer that can hasten the texture of your icing.
2. When the powdered sugar dissolves, turn the mixer to speed no. 2. Continuously mix until it smoothens. You’ll notice that as the mixture smoothens, its shine begins to disappear because the egg white is getting mixed well with the powder. Once the three ingredients are well blended, the mix becomes creamy. Your icing is ready if sharp and pointed edges develop as you mix.
Once you notice those pointed edges, you can now put color to your icing. To do that, get a half-cup of icing using a rubber scraper and put it in a bowl. Cover the remaining icing with a damp cloth and set it aside. Then, apply your desired color to the half-cup of icing by dipping a toothpick in the color container and spread the color. Three dips are usually enough for this amount of icing, but you can reduce or add more color based on your preference.
3. Mix until the color is evenly distributed throughout the icing. Make sure there’s no dull or pale portion left. After that, get the pastry bag, cut its tip using scissors, and insert the tip 67 for leaf making. Then, transfer the colored icing to the pastry bag. You can now color the remaining icing and put them in bowls that are covered with damp cloth.
Lay down a clean sheet of bond or wax paper on the table. To make a leaf, position your tip 67 at a 45-degree angle; the tip should lightly touch the surface of the paper and the wide opening of the tip should lie parallel to the paper. Squeeze out hard the icing to build a base and lift the tip slightly. Continuously squeeze while pulling steadily. Once you achieve the length you want, stop squeezing the pastry bag and lift away from the surface. You’ll notice that the tip of the leaf is created as you pull the bag towards you. Do this repeatedly until you have emptied your pastry bag.
4. Now you can start making full-bloom flowers, like roses. Make flower buds first for your roses by using tip 36 for the shell design or tip 3 for the plain design. Insert a half-inch of the floral wire inside the tip. Squeeze out the icing while you are slowly pulling out the wire. Before doing that, however, make sure that you have arched the tip of your floral wire so it can serve as anchor for your flower. Stop squeezing once you have completely pulled out the wire. Place your flower bud in a Styrofoam to let it dry for an hour.
While waiting for the buds to dry, prepare the icing for the petals. You may use pink or purple colored icing, and tip 103 or 104 for making petals. When the buds are set, get one and start putting the first layer of petals. Hold the bud on your left hand, and the bag on the other hand. Position your tip 103 parallel to the lower part of the bud, with the wide opening of the tip touching the cone of the bud.
5. Make sure that the narrow opening points up and slightly inward. Now squeeze out the icing as you slowly rotate the bud counterclockwise, then move the tip up and down to cover the peak of the flower bud with another layer of icing. Don’t loop the tip to the bud; just move it slowly up and down to create a swirling effect. Let it dry again for about an hour. Do this to other buds.
For the wild rose, however, you can directly make its petals as soon as the buds have hardened. Just hold the bud with your left hand again and the bag with your right hand. Position your tip 103 or 104 at a 45-degree angle to the bud. The wide opening of the tip should slightly touch the bud.
6. Then squeeze out the icing and hold as you slowly turn the bud clockwise, such that the icing is stretched. Then move the tip closer to the bud before lifting it away; this way, you can stick the end of the petal to the bud. Do it five times to complete the flower. To replicate your wild rose, just do the same procedure.
After an hour, you can go back to your rose base. To add petals, do the same procedure just like when you were doing the wild rose. The only difference is that you’ll do three petals for the first layer and they will be in a closer position. Then you’ll add another layer of petals-four in all-after one hour or when the first layer have dried. And for the last layer of petals, you’ll need to do five that are in full-bloom position.
Keep your icing flowers in dry and airtight containers. After drying for 24 hours, you can bunch the leaves together with the flowers or put them in your cakes.
Video Demonstrating Another Method
sources: Erlinda Ferrer, Resource Speaker, ESF Cakes and Bread House, www.entrepreneur.com.ph, www.cookgoodfood.com, photo from www.freedigitalphotos.net