Peony Almond Buttercream Cake

One of the cakes I was so honoured to make this past summer was Rachel’s Peony Almond Buttercream Cake.  Some of the cakes were filled with lemon-butter and some were filled with dark chocolate ganache.

For this post I’m primarily focusing on the making of the flowers.  I hope a few tips will be helpful to those who are working on cake flowers.  Tools. Tools. Tools.  I’m thankful to have a large assortment of tools for making cakes.  Mixers, bowls, spatulas, cutters, veiners, presses, etc., etc.  The investment in tools can be daunting.  So, my advice is to gather a little here, a little there — to do what you can, when you can, without stressing over what you don’t have.
It’s important to remember that collections of most anything take time.  For me, it’s taken many years to accumulate all the cake making, baking, and decorating equipment I have.

So, the peony cake…

While I enjoy piping techniques for cake decorations, my very favourite part of the cake decorating is the making of the gumpaste or fondant flowers.  This is where all my years growing flowers and working in the garden has paid off. ~smile~

I spend a good deal of time getting to know the bride’s preferences and “style” before I make cakes. It’s always so helpful to me if the bride (or groom!) has a Pinterest wedding plans page! In this way, I get to see the “bigger picture” of their favourite things and their wedding dreams.  This all gives me a better feel for how I’m going to decorate the cakes and just what style it will be — especially the type and specific colours of flowers they’ll be using in their decorations.

The week of the wedding, once the cakes were all baked, leveled, trimmed and wrapped
for the freezer for a few days, I got to work making the peonies.

These are tinted gumpaste peonies.  They are a tad bit time consuming, but to me, they’re very much worth the time and effort making each one requires.  It’s important to have a “landing” spot for drying the flowers. Styrofoam forms, egg cartons, crumpled waxed paper, foil or small prep bowls.  I’ve also found that a good supply of toothpicks (for shaping and separating petals) is a necessity –you  can see examples here:

 

 

They’re the last things placed on the cakes when I take them to the venue and stack them place.

After the cakes are stacked, and  buttercream frosting is touched up, the cake is ready for the final arrangement of the leaves and peonies.

 


   Here’s a close-up of the finished cake…
O, yes… this was after a major fiasco due to extreme heat!!  As you can see, the piped rose swirls are drooping a bit under the stress of the 95° heat. 

 

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