We’ve simplified this advanced sugar flower so you can make a show-stopper cake topper, even if you have only a little experience using gum paste.
 
DIFFICULTY: medium
TIME: two hours plus drying time


You will need

  • polystyrene ball (ours was 60mm, but you can use a smaller ball for a smaller flower)
  • thick florist’s wire
  • florist’s tape
  • lighter
  • gum paste in the colour of your choice (available at baking shops or make your own)

 


 

  • rolling pin
  • four heart cookie cutters in different sizes (we used the middle four sizes of our set)
  • cutting mat (or use cornflour)
  • plastic sleeves
  • moist cloth
  • foam mat
  • small paintbrush

 

Bend the wire in half and form a hook at one end. Bend it in half again so that it loops under the hook with about a centimetre to spare. Wrap florist’s tape tightly around the wire but leave the hook uncovered. Heat the hook with the lighter and press it into the ball. It should just melt into the polystyrene. Push it in, then twist and pull back a little so the wire hooks into the ball.

   

Thinly roll out some gum paste on a cutting mat (or lightly dust a surface with cornflour) and cut out four of the second smallest size heart. You will also need seven of the smallest hearts, another nine of the second smallest and nine each of the two larger sizes. That will be 38 petals in total. Keep them in a single layer in plastic sleeves covered with a moist tea towel until ready to use.

   

Start with the first four petals that you cut. On a foam pad, work the edges with the balling tool to thin and ruffle them. Use a forward-andback motion with the balling tool half on the gum paste and half on the foam pad.

   

Brush a little water all over the petals. Stick the first two onto the ball, so they meet and overlap at the centre top of the ball. Stick on the next two, overlapping them less, to expose just a little of the first layer.

   

Working with the smallest hearts next, thin and ruffle the petals (it’s best to do two or three at a time, but if you work fast enough you can do all of them at once), brush the bottom two-thirds with a little water and stick them onto the ball. Start from one side, overlapping each new petal by about half. Continue the process with the next three sizes. Press the petals along the bottom edges to push the centre of the petal away from the ball slightly to form a more open flower. The last row of petals should cover the bottom of the polystyrene ball.

   

Bend the wire to form a 90-degree angle. Hang the flower over the edge of a tall cake stand or table, placing a heavy object on top of the wire so that the peony doesn’t fall. Leave to dry for 24 hours. You can also do this between layers if it becomes difficult to manage – leave it to dry for 30 minutes or so between the different size petals. To use, either remove the wire and stick in place with royal icing, or use the wire to secure the flower to the cake.

   
 
Fill your kitchen with the delicate aromas of coconut and white chocolate using quality sugar from Huletts.

 

Coconut Cake with White Chocolate Ganache

Makes: 1 x 15cm cake (double the recipe for a 20cm cake)
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Baking time: 30-35 minutes
Oven temperature: 170°C
YOU WILL NEED
  • 180g soft butter
  • 110g Huletts Castor Sugar
  • 5ml vanilla essence
  • 3 large eggs
  • 300g flour
  • 15ml baking powder
  • 75g fine desiccated coconut
  • 200ml coconut milk (make sure you shake the tin before opening)
 
  • fondant in the colour of your choice
  • Huletts Icing Sugar, to dust
  • sugar peony, to decorate
WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
  • 450g white chocolate, chopped
  • 150ml fresh cream

METHOD

  1. Beat the butter and Huletts Castor Sugar together until light and creamy. Add the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder and desiccated coconut together in a separate bowl.
  3. Fold the dry ingredients and the coconut milk alternately into the butter mixture. Pour into two greased and lined 15cm baking tins. Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  4. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Use a bread knife to level the tops of the cakes and to slice each cake in half horizontally.
  5. GANACHE Place the chocolate and cream in a glass bowl and melt using the defrost setting on your microwave. Stir every two minutes until most of the chocolate has melted. Stir slowly until the last of the chocolate melts. Leave to cool completely and set firmly. Sandwich the cake layers together using a portion of the ganache then spread the rest of the ganache around the sides and top of the cake, as smoothly as possible. Refrigerate the cake for 1-2 hours.
  6. Roll out the fondant on a surface liberally dusted with Huletts Icing Sugar. Lightly brush the cake with water, then cover with the fondant. Smooth and trim as necessary. Place the sugar peony on top.

by Tani Kirsten
photos ED'O'Riley