80th Vase Cake w/Gumpaste Rose Tutorial

One of my best friends called and asked me to design a cake for her mother-in-law’s 80th birthday celebration. Because she’s very sensitive to my work load and didn’t want to overtax me, she insisted it did not have to be “a masterpiece”- just something floral and pretty. But, being one of my best friends and all, I REALLY like her, and I wanted to make it pretty nice.

It was to be a small gathering, and she was decorating the tables with simple vases of yellow, pink and orange flowers. The party ware had a lot of yellow-green and orange in it as well (hence the color of the cake).

My first thought was to make a watering can with flowers coming out of the top, but in the end, I was too chicken to put a spout on it…thinking it wouldn’t stay up and just droop down off of the cake. Since “vases” was sort of the theme, I resorted to a vase….that sort of looks like a watering can…only without the spout or the handle…hmmmm…

Sometimes, the beginning stages of putting a cake together can really throw me for a loop (which can involve laughing, crying, or breaking some very small, inexpensive object depending on the day). It doesn’t always look the way I envisioned it at first. Luckily, I’ve found that once I add all of the decorations I’ve spent all week making, it usually transforms it completely… from a very sad little sculpture, to something much more gratifying…USUALLY. In this case, the flowers were my saving grace. They really gave it the “pretty” it needed, and brought my blood pressure down significantly.

Every designated “cake day”- that being the day I actually put the whole thing together- one of the first things my husband says when he comes home from work (after, of course, he has been ambushed by our four very “energetic” children and forced to throw them up in the air, one by one, and subsequently bounced onto the couch, each with very specific Nazi-like details as to how this should be done) is, “Where is it?”. (As if it’s ever in a different place than the cooler I always store my finished products in.) But, that’s his way of supporting me and letting me know HE’LL decide what he thinks, and won’t just take my word for it when I start rambling on about how I’ve done better.

After seeing this one, he declared, “Oh, this is up there with your best.” (Who knew he had a soft spot for flowers? :) ) Of course, that comment induced an automatic smile…and kiss…and put my blood pressure firmly back where it belonged. My BFF and her family loved it too, so I count this one as a success.

I’m including a “picture” rose tutorial below. Hopefully, you’ll be able to follow it…feel free to ask questions in the comment box if you can’t. Just a note- at this point, I use Satin Ice gumpaste for most of my decorations, but I am contemplating exploring the wonderful world of modeling chocolate sometime soon.

Also, please keep in mind with ALL of my tutorials that this is just how I do it. There are a bazillion ways to make any decoration in the cake world, and a bazillion cake artists out there who I can’t hold a candle to. I’m just sharing MY (very unschooled) way of creating these things…don’t hold it against me if you come across a much easier, better, overall more efficient way of doing any of these things I share with you. I often find, after I’ve spent several long hours diligently working away at something, that there is a much easier way that takes about 1/100th of the time I just spent. Ughhh…those are definitely dark chocolate and red wine days. :)

You can also buy small styrafoam balls for the middle if you’d rather, but I like to keep them all edible.

Roll it out pretty thin.

Using a petal cutter slightly bigger than your 5 petal cutter petals, cut out one petal.

Thin out the edges with the ball tool (or between your fingers if you don’t have the tool.)

Wrap it around your center like so.

Cut out 2 or 3 layers with your 5 petal cutter.  Cover the ones not being used with plastic.

 Thin the edges of each petal.

Then use a toothpick to help roll the edges back.

 Gently flip it over and brush the sides of each petal with edible glue or water.  (You can make edible glue by dissolving a little fondant or gumpaste in a little warm water.)

Place your center in the middle of the layer.  Lightly attach each petal, one at a time, to the center.  Follow the same steps for each layer you cut out.  I have two layers attached here.

 Set aside and cut out 12-15 petals or more with your single petal cutter, depending on how big you want your rose to be.

Thin the edges.

 Lay each petal on a spoon and gently roll the edges back over the sides of the spoon.

 Let them sit for 15 minutes and them apply the glue in the same fashion as before.  Attach each petal to the rose in a circular fashion, letting each slightly overlap the previous.

Place them each in a small bowl (or use a mini ball pan) to dry overnight.

I sometimes like to make about 5-7 more petals to let dry in the spoons overnight as well.  Then I attach them the next day to give it a more “open” rose look.

Once I’ve attached them, I turn the rose upside down to dry again overnight.