Decorating a simple wedding cake
Once you have covered your cakes in sugarpaste and stacked them then you are ready to get going.
It is best to start by making the sugar rose as it needs a little time to dry in between each layer of petals and preferably overnight for the whole flower to harden.
Begin by colouring up a large piece of gumpaste using gel or paste colours. Make sure you colour up plenty of icing – you can always keep any leftovers but you will find it almost impossible to mix up more to exactly the same colour if you run out!
Make a small cone of gumpaste for the centre of your rose and leave it to dry for an hour. This is what you will be attaching your petals to. Roll out a piece of gumpaste until it is about 1mm thick – remember to keep the remainder of the gumpaste wrapped up in clingfilm to prevent it from drying out. Using a small circle cutter (approximately 2.5cm in diameter) cut out 2 circles. Place the circles between 2 layers of polythene or plastic (such as one of those plastic hole-punched document folders) and gently smooth the top edge of the circles with your finger to thin the edges. (Image 1).
Brush a little edible glue or boiled water around the base of the cone you made earlier and wrap the first circle around it, with the edge you have thinned at the top. Then do the same with the other circle, attaching it to the opposite side of the cone.
Cut out some more circles and continue to attach them in the same way. It is best to leave the petals to harden for half an hour or so between each layer. Once you attach the third layer, begin to gently pinch the centre edge of each petal to give it that slightly drooping look.
Once you reach the fourth layer of petals you will need to switch to a slightly larger circle cutter. Continue adding petals until you have reached the size rose that you want. Then leave it to harden overnight.
Next, take the ribbon you are going to use and fix it around each cake with a small dab of royal icing or edible glue. Make sure the ribbon join is at the back of the cakes. (Image 2)
Mix up a batch of royal icing. If you are new to royal icing, you can get packets from the supermarket or cake supply shop that you just have to add water to. Otherwise, you can mix up a traditional batch using egg white or dried egg albumen and icing sugar. You need to mix it until it is a stiff peak consistency – you can test by placing a small amount in a piping bag and pipe some semi-circles along the edge of your work surface.
Mark out the top of your cake so you know where to start and stop with the piping. Cut a circle the same size as your cake then fold it in half, quarters and finally eighths. Place the circle on the top cake and make a very small mark with a skewer or sterilised pin at each of the folds. (Image 3)
Fit your piping back with a size 2 or 3 round nozzle and fill with royal icing. Begin at the first mark and put your nozzle on the cake to begin. Apply pressure to the piping bag , lift the nozzle and let the royal icing slightly droop. Then bring the nozzle back up to the next mark, finishing with the nozzle on the cake. Continue all the way round. You need to practice keeping an even pressure. Once you have done this, pipe some dots under the joins and randomly on the sides of the bottom cake.
Finally, attach the rose to the top cake with a little royal icing.