Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gum Paste Flowers for Beginners

One of the fabulous perks of working with lots of guys is that when I bake things, I have a whole group of taste testers to experiment with feed.

Gum Paste Flowers

Excuse the bright colours, I made these cupcakes for a summer BBQ at a co-worker's house. The cupcakes were just a plain vanilla (made ultra-delicious with some Caribbean vanilla) but some butter cream icing and a few gum paste flowers as decoration make them much more exciting. 

Gum Paste Ingredients
Unlike last time, I slightly modified the directions on the back of the Wilton Gum-Tex container.

Start by dissolving 1 Tbsp Gum-Tex in 4 Tbsp of warm water. I did this in a heat-proof glass bowl on the stove. I kept the element on very low and proceeded to dissolve the 1 Tbsp of corn syrup and some of the icing sugar. 

Keep stirring as you continue to dissolve icing sugar into the dough. The dough should become thicker and less sticky as you proceed, and the warm element makes it easy to work with. Around three cups of icing sugar were dissolved into the mixture, but be careful it doesn't get too hot. 

I added some food colouring at this point - yellow seemed bright and sunny for flowers. Seal in an air-tight plastic bag for at least six hours or overnight. This allows the Gum-Tex to achieve maximum stretch. I did try working it without letting it rest, but it was nearly impossible to roll and shape. 

Once the dough has sufficiently rested, knead a small section with more icing sugar until it is no longer sticky to the touch. Roll the small piece with a rolling pin, but make sure all surfaces are well dusted with icing sugar.  

I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to form the petals. I purchased a kit for shaping gum paste, including the funky tool you see in the pictures. Flatten the edges of the petals with the tool (I bet a small spoon would work?) 

Glue the petals together at the small point of the heart for form the flowers. I use a mixture of corn syrup and water as adhesive, but proper gum paste glue can be made using this recipe. Drop the glued-together petals into a cup dusted with icing sugar (I used a mini-muffin pan) to shape the flowers. Adjust the petals with your fingers until you are happy with the look, and then allow to dry overnight. 

What do you think? Too much work for a few silly decorations? 

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