We show you how to make a basic wired flower that can be used to decorate just about any bake.
 
DIFFICULTY: moderately challenging
TIME: two hours, plus drying time


You will need

  • gum paste
  • cornflour
  • rolling pin
  • large petal or flower cutter
  • plastic cover or sleeve
  • damp tea towel
  • florist's wire
  • balling tool

 


 

  • foam mat
  • petal dust in the colours of your choice
  • soft paintbrush
  • soft paintbrush
  • soft paintbrush
  • florist's tape

 

Roll out the gum paste to about 2mm thick on a surface dusted with cornflour. Don’t roll the paste too thin or you won’t be able to push the wire up into the petals. Cut out petals, or use a large flower cutter and then separate the petals. Keep them covered in a plastic cover or sleeve and a damp tea towel. We cut out 5 petals per flower.

  

Cut the florist’s wire to about double the length of a petal. Hold the petal between thumb and forefinger and gently push the wire in from the base to about three-quarters of the way to the top. Work carefully and feel for the wire so it doesn’t stick out of the gum paste. (This is the trickiest part – you will have to feel what thickness of gum paste works best for you.)

  

Use the balling tool and work the edge of the petal in a forward and back motion, thinning the edges and frilling them slightly. The tool should be half on the petal and half on the mat.

  

If you don’t have a foam mat, dust the palm of your hand with cornflour and work quickly to thin the edge. Set the petals aside to dry overnight.

  

Use a small, soft paintbrush and petal dust to colour the petals. Start with a darker colour at the base and lighter colours towards the top. Dust off any excess powder from the brush on the paper towel to avoid blotches.

  

To assemble the flower, bend the first petal at a 90-degree angle to the wire then wrap a piece of florist’s tape around the wire right against the base of the petal, pulling the tape to make it stick. Add the next petal, also bent, and secure tightly with tape around both wires. Do this for the next three petals, wrapping tape around all the wires each time.

  
Once all the petals are together, wrap the tape around the wire bundle all the way from the petals to the end of the wires. Arrange the petals, overlapping them slightly. They can be open or more closed.
  
 
Use Huletts sugars to whip up delectable bakes like these nutty cupcakes that are packed with flavour. They are sure to be a hit.

 

PISTACHIO CUPCAKES

Makes: 8 (or 12 smaller cupcakes)
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 12-18 minutes, depending on size
Oven temperature: 175°C
CUPCAKES
  • 125ml (75g) shelled pistachio nuts (or almonds if you prefer)
  • 190ml Huletts White Sugar
  • 190ml cake flour
  • 5ml baking powder
 
  • 65g soft butter
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 5ml vanilla essence
  • 85ml milk
GLACÉ ICING
  • 250ml Huletts Icing Sugar
  • 2,5ml fresh lemon juice
 
  • hot water
  •  

METHOD

  1. Process the nuts with about a third of the white sugar in a food processor until finely ground.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl.
  3. Cream the butter with the remaining sugar until light. This could take a few minutes. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Mix the vanilla essence into the milk. Fold the flour into the butter and egg mixture alternately with the milk. Begin and end with flour.
  5. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter. Lastly, fold in the nut mixture.
  6. Spoon the batter into paper-lined muffin tins, filling them two-thirds full. Bake in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or unti l a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Leave the cupcakes in the pan to cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Glacé icing: Sift the icing sugar then add the lemon juice and a few drops of hot water while stirring to form a thick paste. To thin the paste to a soft dropping consistency add water a drop at a time. The icing should just fall from the spoon and not be runny.
  9. To decorate, spoon a teaspoonful of icing onto each cupcake to cover about half of the top of the cupcake, allowing the icing to spread a little. Finish with a flower cupcake topper (for step-by-step instructions to make the flowers, see above).

by Tani Kirsten
photos ED O'Riley