As promised in yesterday's post, I'm back today to share with you a little casual tutorial on how I like to make simple gum paste flowers to adorn cupcakes. I've had several inquiries in the past (particularly from photos of these cupcakes) on how I make my gum paste flowers. They're actually very easy to create as long as you have a few basic tools and ingredients. They add a lot of interest and personality to an otherwise plain cupcake and, when stored properly, they last for positively ages.ready-to-use gum paste to save yourself time, but I prefer to use a gum paste mix and make mine fresh as I find the prepared gum paste often tends to be a little dry and difficult to work with. Also, when I use the mix I can control how much I make at once (usually I make about 1/4 batch at a time, unless I'm making a ton of flowers). In addition to your gum paste, you'll need a little shortening to grease your work surface and gel food coloring if you wish to color your gum paste. If I am trying to match the color of something (such as the cupcake liners in this case), I like to keep that close as I'm tinting the gum paste to have as a reference.
these) which makes removing your cut gum paste from your cutter much easier while leaving a small dot which will conveniently act as a guide later on when creating your flower center. If want to do any shaping of your flowers, you'll need a gum paste tool set and a shaping foam set. I also find a storage board helpful to keep your cut flowers from drying out before you shape them. You certainly don't need a board like this, a piece of plastic wrap placed on top of your cut flowers will work just the same. I have a storage board that was purchased as part of a set and I do find it handy and convenient. While purchasing these tools can get pretty pricey, if you enjoy using decorative flowers to adorn your desserts, making them yourself will save you money in the long run. I purchase all my tools and ingredients from Michael's taking advantage of 40% and 50% off coupons.
Now that you know what tools and ingredients you'll need, let's get started.
(Not pictured) If desired, next you'll tint your prepared gum paste. I recommend using caution when coloring your gum paste and only adding the tiniest amount of gel food coloring at a time. This stuff is pretty potent, especially when working with a small amount of gum paste, and it's easy to add too much too quickly and completely ruin the color you're going for. If you're afraid of mistakingly going too dark, one trick I suggest is to start off my cutting off 1/3 to 1/4 of your gum paste and setting that aside (keep it covered while you work so it doesn't dry out). If you end up going a little too dark, you can add in the white gum paste you reserved and it'll help lighten your mixture back up a bit. To tint your gum paste, use a tooth pick to add a tiny amount of food coloring to your white gum paste and knead it gently until the color is completely homogeneous. Keep repeating this process, adding a tiny bit more coloring at a time, until you have achieved the desired shade for your flowers.
The process of shaping the petals is a little difficult to describe and capture in a still photograph. Basically you want to place the ball from the small end of the round shaping tool in the center of a petal and, while lightly applying pressure, move the tool in a circular motion. This serves to add dimension to the petals.
Repeat this process with each of your cut flowers. Once they have all been shaped, set them aside to dry for an hour or two.
Once your flowers are dry, it's time to add a little detail to their center to finish them off. My favorite way to decorate the center of my flowers is to use small sugar pearls which I adhere with a "glue" made from mixing 1 teaspoon of merginue powder with 1 tablespoon of water. I use a small paint brush to dot a little bit of this "glue" to the center of my flower, then place a sugar pearl on top and very gently press it into place. Allow the "glue" to dry and your sugar pearl will be firmly adhered to your flower. Another option for decorating the center of your flower is to use royal icing or other decorative sprinkles or small candies.
I am certainly not a professional and these flowers definitely don't require a lot of skill to make. I find their simple shape pleasing and I appreciate that they're fairly quick to make. While elaborate gum paste flowers are truly works of art, for my everyday cupcakes I prefer to keep thing simple and these sweet flowers are just what I need! With a modest investment in a few tools, you too can whip up these sweet little adornments and add some decoration to your cupcakes, petit fours, etc. This is just my technique on how I like to make my favorite gum paste flowers. I hope you found it helpful and that it's inspired you to experiment with gum paste as well.