Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Simplicity of a Frangipani - How to Make Sugar Paste Frangipanis

You may not know that I was a keen cake decorator in a previous crafting life. I decorated cakes for many special occasions including Weddings, Christenings and birthdays and each and every cake was a labour of love. Two of my specialties were hand moulding flowers from sugar paste and piping the very delicate and intricate extension work.

Despite this, I'm not decorating my birthday cake because of the time factor. So I've enlisted the services of a cake decorator. We sat down together and nutted out what I'd like and now it's all in her hands. But whilst I was looking through hundreds of internet images to find what I liked, I couldn't help but notice how cake decorating styles have changed over the past 30 years. Gone are the frilly, lacy cakes that I specialised in and in are the bright funky cakes. After seeing so many wonderful cake creations, I started to get the bug again. I even visited a local cake decorating supplier and picked up some modelling paste and fondant. I have plans......
One of the treats I've decided to have for my dinner is cupcakes and as I'm going to make and decorate my own, I want to mould some edible flowers. And the simplest flower I know is the frangipani.

So let's have a look at how easy this flower is to make.

I've dusted a non stick mat with cornflour and rolled out the modelling paste quite thinly - a bit thicker than I would like but it's more than 25 years since I last made one so you'll have to forgive me.

Normally you'd use a cutter with a more elongated petal but as I parted with my frangipani cutter a long time ago, I'm making do with a leaf cutter which I've turned upside down. You can just make out the serrated edges in the photo above. I've cut out enough petals for two flowers. (Note to self: only cut out enough petals for one flower at a time so the moulding paste doesn't dry out before you get to it!)

Lay down one petal and using a paintbrush, paint the right hand edge of the petal with water and lay another petal on top. You'll need 5 petals in all and it should look like a fan.

The last petal also needs to be brushed with water. Pick up the fan and carefully roll the right hand petal around the back of the left hand petal so that it sits behind it. Each petal is now in front of the one on its left and behind the one on its right.

I've pinched the base off my frangipani because it will be sitting on a cupcake. Place the flower in a small shallow lid so that the petals are supported whilst they dry.

Now it's just a matter of colouring the frangipani and I like to do this by brushing on the colouring dust with an old stubby paint brush. The porous surface of the flower grabs the colour easily.

I wont be winning any cake decorating awards with these frangipanis but they will certainly look great on top of the cup cakes.

I'm fiddling around with another idea at the moment which combines a paper crafting technique with cake decorating - an edible mixed media project! Sounds interesting? Well, I'll share it with you some time next month.

'Til next time.....

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