Back home at last and definitely time to catch up on my blogging! I have been traveling a lot and so have taken a break from cake making. Nevertheless, I had time to practice my flower making skills while relaxing in the country. My father challenged me to make him some sugar Godetias, which he is particularly fond of. With no tutorials, cutters or veiners for this particular flower, only the real thing as a model, I accepted the challenge.
I wish I had a better picture of the original, but by the time I thought to do so, a downpour had rendered most of the Godetias in the garden unsalvageable. So this rather pathetic little bloom served as my model. I took one of the blossoms and dissected it into all it's separate parts and then set about finding a petal cutter that would most closely resemble that of the Godetia. I did think of cutting the petals free hand, but wanted to guarantee a uniform size. In the end I used a GEM cutter for the cymbidium orchid throat, from which I trimmed the sides straight and cut off the tip. Then I made a little notch in the top of the petal. I wired each petal with a 28 gauge wire, softened the edges with a ball tool and used the silk veining tool on both sides of the petal. I then left them to dry on paper towel petal formers.
Once I had made enough petals for 6 blossoms, I made several buds by rolling a small ball of sugarpaste into a narrow cone and threading it on to 26 gauge wire. With the narrow end of the Dresden tool I made three longitudinal scores around the bud. The leaves were made freehand by rolling a small ball of sugarpaste on to a 28 gauge wire , then shaping it into a small cone before rolling it flat. I then softened the edges with a balling tool and gently shaped each leaf by pinching it in at the base, making a gentle fold and then gently bending the wire to a slightly curved shape. Once dry I dusted the buds and the leaves with a mixture of lime. white and ivy green dusting powder. The leaves were slightly darker than the buds and I made sure to leave the central vein undusted. The real Godetia has leaves and flowers all down it's stem, but I decided to make only one group of flowers at the top, with only a few leaves and buds on each stem.
To make the pistil I used a 22 gauge wire and bent a small loop at the top with pliers. Then I made 4 tiny, tiny teardrop shaped balls which I flattened with my fingers before using CMC glue to stick on the wire around the loop. Once all 4 were firmly attached I pinched the tip of each ball and curved each one outwards. For the stamens I used 30 gauge wire cut into short lengths. I used a miniscule amount of sugar paste and twiddled it on to the wire. the aim was to make a very narrow, pointed stamen. Once I was satisfied with the shape of the stamen, I very gently curved the tip of the stamen. Four stamens were needed for each blossom.
Once the pistils and stamens were dry, I wired 4 stamens around each pistil and arranged the stamens so that they were all curving outwards. I then dusted the stamens with a mixture of lemon and primrose dusting powder and set them aside.
Since Godetias come in a large variety of pinks, reds and even white, Dad wanted me to make the two stems I was making in different shades. So I decided on salmon pink and bright fuchsia. Unfortunately I didn't have the exact shades in dusting powders, but I got fairly close with the salmon by using pink, rose pink and a pinch of primrose. Each petal was dusted before I wired them together. I left the edges almost white, and made the middle of the petal deeper in colour for a more realistic effect.
For the fuchsia petals I mixed plum with vermillion and rose pink. For the base of each petal I added white and brushed on a very pale layer on both sided. Then I started from the top of each petal with the stronger colour and worked my way down towards the base, leaving a clear demarkation of colour.
Once all the petals were dusted I wired 4 petals around each stamen-pistil group, overlapping each petal slightly with the previous one. To make the sepal I took some pale green sugarpaste, rolled it out fairly thin and cut a very fat teardrop shape freehand. I then softened the tip of the teardrop with a balling tool and used the silk veiner to vein the outside of the sepal. After moistening the base of the teardrop I wrapped it around the base of the flower, pinching it in firmly right beneath the petals and then twiddling the rest down the stem. I didn't quite get the shape I wanted, but according to Dad it looked real enough. Then I used the thin end of the Dresden tool to score the base longitudinally. I shaped the tip by pinching the tip and gently curving the very tip outwards. Once it had had some time to dry, I dusted it the same colour as the buds.
At last it was time to wire everything together. First I wired a bud just below each flower. Next I wired three flowers together, bending the stems to make an "umbrella" of flowers. Starting at the point where all three flower stems met, I attached the leaves in pairs with each subsequent pair at right angles to the previous pair. Next I dusted the leaf and bud stems to blend in with the leaves and stems. Finally, to seal the colours I steamed both stems of flowers and sprayed the petals with glaze to give them a bit of a shine.
Dad was immensely pleased with his Godetias and planned to use them on his birthday cake. I only wish I could have been there to make the whole cake for him!