Jun 4, 2010

Instructions for the Fondant Gerber Daisies

Last post I gave you the recipe for the strawberry butter cream that I created for the cupcakes that I made for a graduation party. I'm back today, as promised, with the detailed instructions for the fondant Gerber daisies that I made as toppers to dress them up. For the daisies, I used my favorite home made MMF recipe and I used piped melted chocolate bark for the centers. Not exactly botanically correct (gerber daisies have wider flatter centers) but they did turn out pretty cute, don't you think?

These were very easy to make and would be a great flower for beginners to try. The key is having the right tools. Now, if you've read any of my previous posts, you know that I'm a big fan of using cutters, tools, and materials that I already have, or items that I have re-purposed for fondant/sugar work. However, in this case, I broke out my Wilton Gum Paste Flower cutting set which includes almost everything you need to get started making a variety of flowers. (a fondant ball tool is also handy, but not necessary) It includes a detailed instruction booklet that gives you step by step instructions for using each individual cutter, most of which serve double duty for making multiple types of flowers. At just under $20 (on amazon.com), it's a deal, and of course, I've used the cutters in many other situations besides just making flowers. (you're only limited by your imagination)

So the very first thing that I did was make a mold that would hold the assembled daisies while they dried. This gave them shape and also kept them safe until the cupcakes were ready to be decorated. I used regular sized muffin tins and formed some heavy duty aluminum foil over them, creating deep, rounded pockets in order to get a nice shape. Then I dusted the forms with cornstarch so that the fondant wouldn't stick. I was making 36 and only had 2 tins, so I just made one form, dusted it, then removed it and with it being heavy duty foil, it held it's shape beautifully.

Next, I rolled out the fondant to about 1/8" thick. Then I used the largest daisy cutter to cut out only enough sections for two flowers at a time. I used two cut pieces for each daisy. Of course, real Gerber daisies have more petals, but because I was making so many, I decided just to go with two rows, or layers, of petals. It's also important to point out that the thicker your fondant is, the bigger the daisy petals will be in the end result. Just like cutting out sugar cookies, you want to occasionally dip the cutter in cornstarch to keep it from sticking. Once I used the cutter, I had to use a fondant tool to gently coax and push out the cut piece.

Next I placed a piece on a thin styrofoam mat (included in the kit) and used my fondant ball tool to roll each petal thinner. Starting in the middle and working outward, roll each petal individually. Notice that I cover both the (unused) rolled fondant and the cut pieces with plastic wrap while I work with the petals. This keeps the fondant from drying out between steps. (hint: you can click on any of the pics throughout to get a closer look)

I rolled out the first petal, using a bit more pressure as I reached the outside, making it thinner on the tips. Then I moved to the opposite side to roll out the next one. This helps to keep the petals symmetrical and keep the flower even all the way around. If your petals stick to the mat, just dust it with some cornstarch. Also, instead of trying to turn the flower each time, give the mat a turn instead when working your way around.

While I was able to roll the ends of the petals pretty thin, I left the middle just a bit thicker. This gave the flower more stability when I adhered another piece to it. Also, it made it more stable when it dried overall. This is extremely important if you are airbrushing or dusting with petal dust later. I continued to work around the flower in the same manner, alternating opposite petals until all were rolled out. Don't be afraid to go back over some of the petals if you need to make a petal match the length of the others.

In this next step I give each petal a little more definition. I used a wooden point tool (also included in the kit) and holding it almost parallel to the petal, dragged it across making a straight line impression. Again, I started from the middle and worked my way outward. Be sure to use a light touch, especially if your petals are thin, else they may tear. (ok, I ain't gonna lie, it will happen, but practice makes perfect LOL)

In the process (what you can't see) is that I rolled out one piece, then the other, then I defined them with the stick. Now in this pic, you can see that I used a drop (literally, probably LESS than a drop) of water, to act as the "glue" for holding the two pieces together. Careful, because if you get too much water it will dissolve the fondant and eat a hole through it. I use a soft flat brush for this, dip it in the water, then dab on a paper towel being sure to remove any excess. Then just lightly touch the center of the flower.

Next I dry off my brush and use it to move the next piece over to the top of the first piece. I keep it away from the wet dot in the center until I get it positioned just right, then lay it down on top. Make sure the you "stagger" the petals so that all will show.

Slide the now completed flower off of the mat or surface onto your hand and gently place in the dusted form. You can see by the pic how thin and soft the fondant is. I let them dry for about two days before doing anything else. You want to keep them in a cool, dry place, uncovered. I have a fan over my dining room table so it serves as the perfect place for the drying process. Once they are completely dry they will be harder, but still fragile, handle with care.

The next step was to airbrush them with food coloring (which is a whole other tutorial that I'll do soon, I promise!) I carefully removed each one from the form and with a completely dry brush, gently brushed any remnants of cornstarch from the bottoms and from the petals. I then placed them on paper towels and actually picked one up at a time airbrushing only the outer edge of the petals. I just thought they needed a bit more color interest and more definition. While I waited on a set to dry, I used a pastry brush to dust off the rest of the cornstarch left in the form. Then I returned them to their "form" home for the next step.

The next step was to add the centers. Now, I had made fondant centers for them (that were more botanically correct), but they ended up being too big and covered up too much of the petals (stuff happens) so I decided just to pipe in some melted chocolate bark instead. Which ended up being a great move, because everyone seemed to love them. After that I waited until the last minute, just after frosting the cupcakes, before topping with each daisy. You don't want to do it too soon because the longer they sit on there, the softer the icing will make the fondant. (this is another reason for the thicker centers) So do this right before packing up and heading out the door. Also, it's important to point out that you'll want to keep them as cool as possible. Some of the extras that we had sitting in the cupcake carrier got really soft and the thin petals drooped because of the moisture inside. Here they are finished in the cupcake carrier/holders ready to go!


patti said...

very cool, Thanks for the directions!!!!

Danielle said...

that is just so beautiful! and looks like such fun! I can't wait to see the airbrush tutorial :). I love how you made the pedals so delicate looking. Way to go chickie! :)