Sunday, 23 March 2014

Sugar Roses

Is there anything that you are so afraid of doing, that you daren't even start, just in case, you are no good at it, and, if you were no good at it, that could be the end of everything that you are trying to achieve. Well, for me that is the sugar rose. The rose has always been my favourite flower and I see so many beautiful sugar roses, that I want to be able to emulate, but, I can't even begin to try for fear of failing.

I don't know whether you saw her, but a little while back Peggy Porschen was on Paul Hollywood's Pies and Puds (a TV programme) and Peggy gave Paul a quick demonstration of how to make hand moulded fondant roses. Whilst they were chatting, Peggy mentioned, that when looking for new staff, one of the things she does, is get them to make these roses. The prospective staff make ten and Peggy looks to see if there is an improvement between the first and the last.

This little snippet was just the motivation I needed to have a go. I felt, I didn't need to make ten perfect roses, I just need rose number ten to be an improvement on rose number one. The next time I had a spare hour, I resolved to make 10 hand moulded roses, As it happened I ran out of time after the first six. I say six, I made quite a lot more than 6, but, most were scrunched up and started again. The first six I made, that survived, are these peachy coloured ones that you can see above and below. I have to say that I felt a little disheartened, they weren't really looking the way I wanted them too and I couldn't see much improvement. In fact the first one that I made was probably the best.

Rather than throwing a strop and chucking the lot out of the window, I decided to do a little research and do you know what? I discovered, that if you look closely and critically at the hand moulded fondant roses that others have made, they are not always that perfect, but somehow when combined with other decorations on a cake, they manage to look beautiful.

Some roses, do manage to always be beautiful and perfect and I started a new Pinterest board for different types of perfect sugar roses for when I need reference or inspiration.

These red roses are my second attempt at the hand moulded roses that I tried a couple of weeks after the peachy ones, I decided to make them smaller in size and just make a bud style of rose, that is, a centre and three petals. This lovely red colour is Beau sugar paste's "Vintage Rose", this is quite a soft paste, so I added a little CMC powder to help firm the paste up a bit.

I'm happier with these, I'm going to try them on some cakes and see how they look.

I think every cake decorator has their own style of hand moulded rose, it becomes a very personal thing and it is possible to recognise some cake makers from their distinctive roses.

Once you start to get the hang of it, the making of these little roses starts to become quite addictive. I had another go with these ivory ones.  I thought I would try them with a darker centre for a little variety.

When I have made another few hundred, I may have some roses to be truly proud of, hopefully, these are good enough for now.

just using a different brand of sugar paste /  fondant gives these roses a different look. These ivory coloured ones are made with Squires Kitchen sugar paste. This already has a little gum tragacanth in it, so I didn't add anything else. This sugar paste was softer than that for the red roses that I made above, so they have a softer frillier look to them.

Making the Roses

The only equipment you need for these is your hands and an A4 plastic wallet (the sort you normally use for filing things in ring binders). Start by cutting down the side and bottom of the plastic wallet, so that it is just joined down one of the longer sides.

Next, make three little balls of sugar paste and a sausage shape

Place them inside your plastic wallet and squash them flat. Then use your thumb along one edge to make it thinner

Roll up the flattened sausage shape to make the centre of the rose bud

Next, add the petals, overlapping them.

Some things I particularly noticed from my research:

- The spiral in the centre is the keystone to a good looking rose
- Keep the petals in close to the centre
- Don't let the petals rise too far above the centre

Roll the base of the rose between your fingers to achieve the bud shape and remove the excess sugar paste.

Use your fingers to gently tease back the tops of the petals and then place them on a foam mat to harden until ready to use

 That's all for today
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