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Gum Paste Rose with Individual Petals

Gum Paste Rose with Individual Rose Petals

I really enjoy decorating cakes with realistic edible flower decorations. The gum paste helps to make the flower dry hard and to get lots of detailed veining. See below for my detailed, step-by-step instructions for how to make a Gum paste Rose with individual petals.

Making edible glue
Edible glue with gum paste

Take a small amount of gum paste (i.e., the size of a pea) and break it into very small pieces.  Place the pieces into a container with approximately one tablespoon of water and dissolve the gum paste.  I typically do this about an hour before I begin decorating to allow enough time for most of the gum paste to dissolve.  This mixture can then be used to attach fondant and gum paste pieces together.  To use it, simply brush a small amount of the mixture onto the fondant/gum paste decoration and push it against another piece of fondant/gum paste.  Make sure to use a paintbrush that is isolated to food and not one that has previously been used for painting. 

Making the fondant/gum paste mixture

To ensure the rose holds its shape (i.e., has sufficient petal definition), make a 50-50 fondant and gum paste combination. Gum paste dries quickly and hard, so it’s really great for decorating with intricate details. Fondant, on the other hand, dries out more slowly and it’s easier to color than gum paste. This combination will give you more time to work with the petals before they start to harden (due to the fondant), but the rose will harden completely after drying (due to the gum paste).

Use equal amounts of fondant and gum paste.  The amount will vary based on how many roses you plan to make.  I would advise making more than you think you’ll need so that all of your roses can be the same color.  It’s difficult to match the color if you need to make a second mixture.  To color the mixture, you can either use pre-colored fondant (I would highly suggest this if making red roses) or you can add gel icing food coloring to the mixture.  Knead the fondant, gum paste, and coloring together until there are no more streaks.  If the mixture gets sticky while kneading, add a little powdered sugar to the mixture and continue kneading to combine. 

The fondant/gum paste mixture should be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept in a Ziploc bag until you’re ready to use it.  This will keep it from drying out. 

Other Ways to Make Edible Roses
Making the Rose Bud

Pull off a small piece of gum paste (about the size of a marble – although this will vary slightly if you change the size of the rose petals) and roll into a teardrop shape (i.e., wider at the bottom and pointed at the top).  The length of the rose bud should be approximately ¾ of the height of the smaller petal.

To attach the rose to the cake, you can use flexible floral wire or a piece of dried spaghetti.  Bend a small part of the floral wire over so there is a tight loop at one end and then dip the curved end into edible glue.  You could also just dip the tip of the spaghetti into the edible glue.  Then, push the end with the glue into the base (i.e., the wider end) of the rose bud.  The wire/spaghetti also gives you something to hold onto as the rose is being made. 

Repeat this process for the number of roses being made.   

Hang rose buds with floral wire over the rungs of an elevated cooling rack while they are drying so it doesn’t get deformed while drying.  If using spaghetti, you can push the end of the spaghetti into a piece of Styrofoam. 

Allow the rose buds to sit for 1-2 days to ensure the fondant-gum paste mixture has dried completely.  If you are really in a time crunch, you can make the rose immediately after making the rose bud, but I would highly suggest waiting.  If the mixture hasn’t completely dried, it tends to fall off the end of the wire when making the flower. 

Making the Rose

Dust the counter/rolling surface with a small amount of cornstarch and knead the gum paste mixture to make sure it’s pliable before rolling it out. This keeps it from cracking if the gum paste mixture has been sitting for a little while. Begin with a small amount so that it can be rolled very thin. Use a rolling pin to roll out the gum paste to 1/16” thick (i.e., pretty much as thin as you can roll it) and use the smaller petal cutter to cut out 12 small petals and the large cutter to cut out 11-12 petals. 

Gum paste petals in a gum paste storage board

I like to store my petals in this gum paste storage board so they don’t dry out while I’m working.  If you don’t have a board like this, you can just cover the petals with a piece of plastic wrap.

Row 1

Place one small petal, on the foam flower pad and use a large ball tool to gently press along the edge of each petal to make them ruffled.  Use the ball tool to press an indentation into the pointed end of the petal.  Take the edible glue and brush it on the entire petal.  Then, place the wide end of the bud into the indentation at the pointed end of the flower and tightly wrap the petal around the bud.  Hang the flower to dry while working on the next row. 

Row 2

Take out 3 small petals.  This next part is optional, although I think it makes the rose look more realistic (especially as the rose gets larger and more of each petal is visible).  Place the petals one at a time into the bottom of a silicone rose petal veiner (pointed petal tip toward pointed end/bottom of rose), cover the petal with the top part of the silicone veiner, and use a rolling pin to gently roll over the entire mold.  Remove the petal and repeat with all petals for the row. 

Use the ball tool to press along the edge of each petal to make them ruffled and to make an indentation in the pointed tip of each petal.  Cover the bottom half of each petal with edible glue. 

Next, place the first petal onto the “Row 1 Rose” to cover the petal seam.  Remember to place the pointed end/the end with indentation onto the bottom of the rose (i.e., the end with the wire).  Only attach the left side of the petal and leave the right side loose.  Take the second petal and place it between the right side of the previous petal and the rose.  Partially roll the rose onto the petal so the left side is attached and the right side is still loose.  Take the third petal and repeat the process (i.e., place between the 2nd petal and the rose). 

Tightly roll the bottom of the petals so they completely touch the first row.  The top of the petals will be opened slightly.  Use your fingertips to gently pull on the edges of the petals to give them some “life.”  Feel free to look at a picture of real rose for inspiration while making the gum paste rose. 

Row 3

Grab 3 small petals, use the petal veiner to imprint the petal design onto each petal (if desired), and use the ball tool to ruffle the petal edges.  This time, press slightly harder with the ball tool to make the ruffles more pronounced. 

Then, flip the petal over and make an indentation with the ball tool in the pointed end of the petal.  Only cover the indentation with glue this time.  This will allow the bottom of the petal to adhere to the rose, but the top will be able to pull away slightly and begin to open. 

Gum paste rose

Place the first petal over a petal seam on the “Row 2 Rose” and use the same process as Row 2 to add all of the petals.  Use your fingers to shape the top edge of petals for a more naturalistic flower. 

Row 4

Grab 5 small petals and repeat everything from Row 3 and then leave the petals out for approximately 5 minutes to firm up slightly.  The petals should still be pliable, but they will hold their shape more when attaching them to the rose. 

This is the row that I stopped at for the pictures of red roses.  If you would like to make a larger rose, continue with the remaining rows.  See the pictures below of the blue roses for an example of a rose with all 6 rows.

Row 5

Grab 5 large petals and follow all of the same steps as row 4. 

Row 6

Grab 6-7 large petals.  If you want a tighter rose, use 6.  If you want the rose to be more open, use 7.  Follow the same steps as row 4.  Invert the rose and gently push down on the base of the petals to securely adhere them together. 

Allow the rose to dry overnight (or until completely dry) before placing on a cake.  Below is a picture of my wedding cake. I covered the cake in navy blue roses of various sizes. I also used silver luster dust to make some of the roses shimmery.

Wedding cake with edible gum paste roses

This is a picture of the top of the cake. I’m sorry it’s a little blurry. It was taken in my car. If you look closely, you can see the petal veining on the roses. They looked pretty realistic in person.

Wedding cake topper with edible gum paste roses

I would say that this method is probably better for the intermediate decorator since it’s a little more challenging, time consuming, and requires more tools. However, the end result is absolutely worth it. You have a ton of control over rose size, petal orientation, vein definition, how open you want the rose, etc. Cakes with realistic flowers are a labor of love, but they definitely impress!

Want More Ways to Make Edible Flowers?

Have you tried to make any edible flowers in the past? I’d love to hear how it went and if you have any additional tips/tricks that you find helpful!

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