Before I start, all rights reserved for the above picture of these amaaaazing peony sugar flowers were made by the amazing team over at The Cake Journal! I just had to make sure to post up some perfect example of semi open peonies. Click here to check out their other work.
Right, so I’m no expert on sugar flowers that’s something I know for sure! But I do love to use products which make life so much easier to make them.
I have used 2 peony cutters by two completely different brands:
1. Petal Craft Peony Cutter
2. Sunflower Sugar Art
I found that the Petal Craft Peony Cutter was more to my liking as it had the veining set already with it which meant I didn’t have to search high and low for the perfect veiner. I know I can do it using other veiners etc. But I like to use the ‘recommended’ product to get the best effect possible lol!
I purchased mine from a lady who was selling these on facebook as I needed it immediately the following day and she was the only person I could buy from who didn’t insist I spend XXX to get free delivery or next day delivery.
This can be purchased from around £24.99. I would recommend purchasing from Windsor Cake Craft as they are very reliable and you get free delivery for orders over £20!
Here is the peony I made with this cutter and veiner set.
Not perfect of course but I have to admit, for a first attempt it went pretty well. I made this whole peony within 2 hours. Would have been faster but as I was being extra cautious to make shape it how I want, it took longer. I decided to do a more open style peony as you can see.
I kept wondering why all peony tutorials called for at least 4 cutters when this set only had 3. That’s when I decided I just NEEDED to get another set haha! So off I went to purchase the lovely Sunflower Sugar Art Peony Cutter set (pictured below) which set me back £19.00 from The Cake Decorating Company.
This set did not come with any veiners so I ended up not using a veiner as I wanted to see how much of a difference it makes.
I used it on this wedding cake which was set up at The City Pavillion in Romford for a lavish ceremony for my beautiful bride Uma.
I dusted the centre with antique gold lustre dust and kept the peony rather closed as opposed to the first one I made using the Petal Craft Cutters.
Not a perfect sugar artist but am looking to have some more practice in my spare time as well as trying out some other peony cutters like the Claire Bowman ones which I have heard so much about! A steal at only £9.98 from The Cake Decorating Company!
All in all, my favourite is the Petal Craft Peony Cutters as I just found it more to my taste in how I wanted to make my peonies… large, elegant, and flamboyant! I know I can achieve this look with other cutters too but I just found it so much easier with this brand.
Have you tried these peony cutters? If you have which ones are your favourite and why? Or have you got any others you could recommend?
I know… ganaching is a completely new concept to many people. But let me tell you something!… You will NOT regret it!
It is the best thing ever I promise you!
Not only that. Chocolate Ganache is a million times easier to work with than buttercream when crumbcoating! Why? I will tell you…
Buttercream: First things first, it is lovely to work with (kinda), hardens in the fridge relatively quickly, and has a nice buttery taste although it can become rather sickly if eaten too much!
However, I have found that once you bring it to room temperature (and even if its still cold and hard) and try to cover it with fondant, it is a nightmare to work with if you end up smoothing the sides longer than you need to. I have done this on many occasions as I was trying to get a ‘sharp edge finish’!
I ended up ruining my cake and having to rip off the fondant to cover it again due to the buttercream oozing out from the layers of cake and the crumbcoating becoming too soft.
I cannot tell you how in love I am with this stuff! First time around I got it completely wrong. This was a few months ago when I attempted to make a Great Gatsby themed cake. I didn’t let the ganache rest overnight to harden and that was my biggest mistake as you NEED to let it sit overnight for at least 12- 24 hours. Yup, its annoying having to wait that long but it allows the sugar crystals in the chocolate to crystallise which helps it to form the hard outer shell. In turn this makes it so much easier to cover in fondant as it is far less likely to melt or ooze if you’re working to get super sharp edges.
Obviously, do NOT work too the fondant too much or else it will melt the chocolate underneath! But the thing is, you won’t even need to work too long with the fondant as the edges are so razor sharp from the chocolate ganache alone that it automatically helps to form a sharp edge on your fondant with some careful smoothing. By the way, I do highly recommend Bellissimo Flexi Smoothers to get the perfect edges which you can buy from here. You can also make your own and I will show you a tutorial on how to do that very soon!
Another positive is that the taste of the cake altogether is great as you have this wonderful chocolatey sensation as you bite into your cake. Chocolate is sweet, but not as overpoweringly sweet like buttercream is. It makes your cakes stand out a mile from the rest by far!
As I was saying, the main downside is the long waiting time but it just means you can ganache and leave it whilst you get on with your other work or decoration preparation!
I made this cake (pictured below) using ONLY chocolate ganache and did so by ganaching the cake UPSIDE DOWN! Woahhh! Yup, it was so scary but so worth it in the end as I doubt I could get that type of a finish on my first attempt using any other method!
It’s actually a lot simpler than you may think and it does also help you to get amazing sharp edges hence why it is now my chosen method of crumbcoating!
As you can see from my picture I didn’t cover the cake with fondant as it was a simple chocolate cake and I’m glad I didn’t cover it to be honest as it just looks stunning just as it is with the edible silver leaf!
Would you like to see a step-by step tutorial on how I ganached upside down? Have you ever made a cake using chocolate ganache and did so by using the upside down method?
Phewwwww! After spending a little time editing these pictures, I have finally sat down to get this tutorial ready for you.
I will keep it short and simple as I am sure you don’t want to be sitting here reading me waffle on and on like I normally do!
1. The Wilton Paisley Cake Tins, as you can guess, do not have their own specific cake boards made for them. This just meant that I had to go out and purchase thick cardboard to cut around the shape of the tins and then cover with either aluminium foil or silver board cover.
2. Once cake has been baked, let it cool for about 10 minutes before attempting to turn it out. Then when the cake has cooled down, start to level it. You can do this free-hand, by using a leveller, with an agbay, or by using the cake tin. To use the cake tin method, you can view my amateur (lol!!) video tutorial here. (This was a very old video, so I will be making a new one very soon!)
3. Now you need to start assembling your layers on top each other by filling them with your desired filling.
4. When you place your last layer on top, make sure to lay it on with the bottom of the cake so that it is facing the top. This is because it is the most flattest and will help you to get a lovely smooth finish when doing your crumb-coating and when laying over the fondant.
5. Start to do your first layer of crumb-coat using buttercream/frosting.
6. Smooth it over using a stainless steel scraper, spatula, and hot water (video tutorial to show this very soon!).
And just wanted to tell you guys… WOW. Just plain WOW!! This product alone has made a huge improvement to how my cakes are decorated you seriously need to get one now!! Honestly, I don’t know how I have coped so long without this product in my life! I will be putting it onto ‘My Essential Cake Items’ page. In the meantime, you can purchase it from here.
7. Place it in the fridge until the frosting has become somewhat hard. So when you touch the cake lightly, the frosting does not come onto your hands.
Do another layer on crumb-coat just to make sure it is completely level on the top and around the sides. Leave it in the fridge once again to harden over. (But not too long!)
8. Your cake is now ready to be covered.
Measure the dimensions of your cake and make sure that you roll out your fondant wide enough on every angle so that it is covered! I had to roll mine out twice as the first time I didn’t even think about measuring it!
9. After they were covered and smoothed over. I let them rest for a couple of hours to let the fondant harden as I knew I would be doing a lot of piping work and didn’t want to take the risk of leaning onto it and leaving marks! Arghh! Just thinking about the possibility of that happening makes my stomach churn!
10. Make your royal icing for the piping. Now, really you are supposed to use egg whites when making royal icing to pipe. But I have made it in the past without it and got the consistency correct to work with. Plus I am a little funny about using raw eqq whites. I did once buy some imitation powdered egg whites but just didn’t like the results that I got from it!
As I was saying! I made the royal icing with icing sugar, water, and Sugarflair “Autumn Leaf” colour paste. I can’t give you the exact recipe I’m afraid as it’s a secret recipe! Joke! As if! Pffffft!
On a serious note, I just kept adding water and icing sugar until I thought I had the right stretch! Next time I will definitely keep note of how much I am adding so we can all benefit from it hey?! :-p
11. Draw on your desired henna pattern directly onto the cake tiers. You don’t have to do this part if you feel you are confident on piping freehand! My cousin who is a make-up artist can do freehand as well as one of my husbands’ cousin. You must see their work it is just stunning! I have no idea how they can do it so fast! My hubby’s cousin does half an arm within a matter of minutes, it’s just crazy talent!
I used Sugar Art Pen in “liquorice” to draw on my designs. I didn’t use one design, I actually gathered inspiration from a selection of designs that I found on Google Images!
And of course, I MUST give credit to where it is due!
My customer gave me a design to work with and it didn’t have any watermark on it so I just couldn’t figure out who the original cake maker was. But last night whilst I was on Instagram, one of my favourite cake makers based up north in Liverpool called Sprinklez Liverpool… (Check her work out right now! Do. It. Now. It is a must! You cannot leave this page until you have seen her work. Your jaw will drop just like mine does every time some new material is uploaded. It’s not just her amazing cake artistry, but her photography is mind-blowing!) As I was saying, she shared a page called Say it with Cakes. I was admiring her beautiful work when I saw the paisley henna cake picture that my customer gave to me! Woohooo! Success!
So here it is, the original cake that inspired my own paisley cake!
12. Okay, Pipe the royal icing on very slowly and once it has hardened, go over it using Rainbow Dust’s Click & Twist Pen in ‘Metallic Light Gold’.
13. Place some buttercream on your covered cake board where you have decided to place your cake tiers.
13. Place the ribbon on around the cake using either piping gel, water, or edible glue. And then use some double sided sticky tape which you can buy from most stationary shops for cheap. I bought mine instore from Hobbycraft for 50p for 50 metres!
14. Add on any finishing touches that you would like to add such as lettering, any extra flowers around the board etc… and VOILA! Finished!!
Now sit back, and admire your work. Or if you’re anything like me, keep looking for flaws to attempt to fix/hide/cover!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial as much as I did making it for you. I know there are probably many more things that I have missed out on which you would like to know about so please do ask! This is my first tutorial so go easy on me 😉