Saturday, October 13, 2012

Gumpaste Orchids, or 1 2/3 Tulips

 I should probably get an award for all of the crazy things I have done without instructions, experience, or really anything more than a wing and a prayer.  It's not that I don't like recipes or refuse to follow instructions, I think I am just really picky.  For recipes, I really hate specific things like oregano, for instance.  So naturally I will not use it. 

You know in Pirates of the Caribbean where they say they aren't really rules so much as guidelines? Yep, story of my life.

So a few years ago we had a friend of the family getting married, she asked us to do her cake, and her wedding flowers were orchids.  Now, I don't know about you, but I can think of no conceivable way where you could make orchids out of icing.  We mulled it over, considered our options, and I piped up and said I would learn to make them in gumpaste.

Which actually meant I would learn gumpaste...anything...period.  I find I am surprisingly sure of myself when it comes to something I know nothing about.  But I would argue I knew a LOT about playdough as a kid, and I do have some underlying art talent down there somewhere.  So I figured I would give it a shot.  And sure enough, on my first flower ever, I opted to make my own method.

Now I will say a lot for the Wilton gumpaste sets.  They are really handy and MOST of the cutters are perfect.  But for the smaller set they sell, I HATED the orchid it made.  It was scrawny. No scrawny flowers for me, thank you.  Plus, for whatever reason, it really just didn't look like her flowers. Most likely because they WEREN'T SCRAWNY.

Here is a new math formula for you:

1 Full Tulip + 2/3 Second Tulip + Original Orchid Center + Stamen = PERFECTION.

That's right.  I used tulip cutters.  Genius, no?

This was before I got all anti-plastic junk in life, or the stamen would have been edible.  WHICH is kind of pointless...since no one eats gumpaste anyway.  But it is better for my peace of mind. I am using this as a craft of the day because the grant isn't over until Tuesday.

And so neither is my servitude.

Regardless, roll out your fondant thin and cut two tulips.  Or twolips, shall we say.  Roll them out a little thinner, both long ways and short ways, making nice wide petals.  Cut a petal off of one of them, and work it back in with your remaining gumpaste.

We don't waste that stuff here.

After you have rolled them thin, use the gum paste tool with the ball on the end or just use your fingers (my method) and smoosh and roll around the outside petals to give them a fluttery look.

Use the Wilton impression mats or make your own lines in the petals, these days I usually just use backs of knives to get whatever lines I want.

Honestly I am not spending another 10-20 bucks just to get some indentions.

Attach your two sets of petals together using water.  The instructions will tell you gumpaste glue, I will tell you- pointless.  They say dissolve gumpaste in water to create glue.  I say put water on gumpaste and it becomes its own glue.  What can I say? I like to save steps.

Let your petals dry using a RW barricade that keeps the edges curled up, or sit them in your mom's Fire King bowls because they are just the right shape.  With wax paper or RW Nonstick under them, mind you.  Seriously don't put the gumpaste right on the bowl.  Ever.

You will use the cutter that is supposed to be used for the orchid center.  I like to roll my centers out strictly long ways and rarely and barely sideways.  Keep it skinny, folks. Wrap the center around the stamen and set aside to dry.  You may find you need to create fancy Reynold's Wrap devices to hold it up or to get a fancy curl in the end of it, so be prepared.  You can go ahead and attach it to the flower if you have a way to keep it right where you want it.  I do like to save steps.

These guys will need to dry AT LEAST 24 hours.  Don't touch them.  Don't even think about touching them.  Until these guys are dry they are fragile as this grant writing process is long. After they are dry you can mix a little luster dust and add some color.  Now, you may be thinking that the color of mine are not true to real orchids.  And whereas there is some validity to that concern, it was just the right amount of color for this wedding cake.

Point proven.  We used light luster dust to brush on the insides of the flower petals as well to catch the light.

As with all things, no good deed goes unpunished.  I showed the world that I could do gumpaste flowers, and it hasn't let up on me yet.

Secretly, I positively enjoy doing them.

Don't get in to gumpaste expecting it to be perfect, it definitely can be a NIGHTMARE.  But if you adapt on the fly, use your own dishes with foil lining to help mold things, gum paste is completely amazing for making flowers that will hold up to humidity.

Find me an icing rose that will survive a warm humid outdoor wedding.  Because I am fairly certain gumpaste flowers would.

Get good at making foil cones too, because those cala lily formers add up. Pin It Now!

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