Making Gumpaste Sugar Orchids

I’ve been practicing lately. Sugar flowers that is. The last time I even attempted gumpaste sugar flowers was nearly four years ago in Baking and Pastry Arts school at SAIT.

The perfect opportunity came up for me to get back into it again. And it was also an opportunity to test out the new camera!

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

Gumpaste is an edible cake decorating medium, similar to fondant. It is mostly made out of icing sugar, binding agents (such as corn syrup or egg whites), and vegetable gums (hence the word “Gum.”) To difference between gumpaste and fondant is that gumpaste can be rolled incredibly thin, and I mean really  thin. Think see-through-paper-thin. It also tends to dry hard and brittle, which can be very visually appealing, yet so fragile.

It takes a certain mindset to get into the groove of making sugar flowers. I compare it to the same attention-to-detail mindset one would need when cross stitching. It was also a great chance to get together with the girls, as each one of us worked on different parts of the flower. I think I’ll have to adjust the colour of them to be a bit more purply, but I’m pretty happy with the overall feel of them.

What I really love about making gumpaste flowers is the process of taking very basic materials and turning them into something that can be so pretty.

It’s like re-creating nature.

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

What do you think? Does it look like the real thing?

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Gumpaste Shoe How-To: Tips and Template

(Update July 17/2013: Sugar Delites now sells a high heel shoe kit, which includes a heel mold, cutter, drying form/ramp, etc. Click here and scroll down for an excellent gumpaste shoe tutorial by Iris Rezoagli on the Sugar Delites Newsletter, using this kit.

I also suggest the Pink Cake Box gumpaste shoe video tutorial. More gumpaste shoe tutorials are available at Cake Fu.

Below are tips to create a shoe without the kit.)

I recently got a great email question regarding how to make the Manolo Sedarby D’orsay gumpaste shoe:

  • To make the template, I found a real shoe at home that had the same shape used it to make the template. I exaggerated the shape to look curvier. Here are photos of the actual shoe templates made (click for full size):

Gumpaste Shoe Template

Gumpaste Shoe Template

  • To make the form that the shoe sits on, I hand-sculpted a form out of modeling clay and covered it in saran wrap. This way, I got a nice exaggerated curve.  I was particular about the curve of the form… if you look closely, you can see how it gradually curves out at the bottom. You can use anything for a form, but this is just what I had on hand. (Update Oct 17/2011: I’ve made a better shoe form out of foam core. See my new gumpaste shoe form here.)

  • To make the stitching, the Wilton Gumpaste tool kit has a great stitching tool.
  • To shape the top of the shoe, I used a ball of saran wrap lightly pressed into the shape that I needed. Similar to the shape of that wad of tissue you sometimes get in a pair of new shoes.
  • For the the brooch, I used circle cutters to make a flat wheel shape out of grey coloured gumpaste. I bent the wheel shape a bit to make an oval, brushed on some clear piping gel and stuck small silver beads on. It was hard to get the beads to look even, and had to use tweezers in some spots.
  • For the silver colour, I airbrushed it using edible silver food colouring. You can get the same effect by painting in thin layers using a mixture of edible silver lustre powder and alcohol.
  • The heel is done using the method shown in the video. See the 4:45 mark for details.