Peony Sugar Flower

 

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.

peony 1

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.

Handmade Peony Topper
Handmade Peony Topper

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?

 

Chocolate Ganache and turning your cake upside down!

Squires Magazine 2

 

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.

Ganache Crumbcoating:
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!

Squires Magazine 1

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?

Nel
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