This cake features Gerbera Daisies and assorted leaves in a variety of fall colors. I get so many emails asking how to use the JEM Multi-Petal Daisy Cutter set, I thought I should feature a cake showing how to use the cutters. Of course, you could add drapes or swags but I felt the vibrant colors and large flowers were all the cake needed. Simply change the colors of the flowers and leaves to summer colors and you have a great celebration cake for a birthday, anniversary, small wedding or engagement party.
Begin by covering an 11x8x4 Cut Corner cake (baked in a Fat Daddio's Cake Pan) and a 5 inch round cake with Satin Ice Fondant that is colored a very pale Moss Green Paste Color by Wilton. Cover your board with a slightly darker Moss Green fondant and roll over it with a Holly Products Watermark Taffeta Rolling Pin. Stack your completed cakes on the board.
Gerbera Daisies come in a very wide variety of colors and configurations. Here is a link to a webpage showing a nice variety of Gerbera's-GO! The directions that come with the JEM set of Multi-Petal Daisy Cutters suggest using gumpaste. I tried both gumpaste and Mexican Paste and found that Mexican Paste was easier to use and the flowers dried much faster and held their shape. Roll your colored Mexican Paste very thin. I used a setting of 5 on my Atlas Pasta machine. I have a color chart below for each flower. You will need one large daisy, four medium daisies and 4 smaller daisies to complete this cake. Make a few extra in case of breakage.
Lay the rolled paste on a Celboard that has been lightly dusted with cornstarch inside a Wilton Dusting Pouch. Very lightly dust the top of the paste as well as the inside of the cutter. Sometimes it helps to allow the paste to dry 1-2 minutes before cutting. It really all depends on the humidity level in your room and how dry the paste is. Be sure to tap out any excess cornstarch in the cutter before you cut the paste. Lay the cutter on the paste and press very firmly around the edges then move the cutter in a circular motion around the board to get a clean cut. Lift the cutter up and using a small plastic rolling pin, rub over the cutter to be sure all the cuts are clean and any excess pieces have flaked away. I then used a pin to pick out any small pieces between the petals to insure a clean looking flower. If you tap the cutter on its side, the flower should easily fall out. If it does not, use a fine pin to gently tease out one petal, them gradually pull the flower out of the cutter. If the paste is thin enough and slightly dry, it will usually fall out of the cutter.
Lay the petal on the corner of a CelPad and using a Bone Tool or a Ball Tool, slightly elongate and soften the tips of the petals. Do not make them frilly. Form a foil cup inside the large Wilton Forming Cup and pierce a whole in the center to help the flower dry. Lay the first set of petals in the foil cup.
Cut a second set of petals one size smaller than the first. Soften the ends with the bone tool. Brush the center of the first petal with a little water and add the second set of petals on top. Be sure the petals from both layers are alternating. Repeat the process with a third set of petals slightly smaller than the second set. Set this aside while you prepare the center.
Cut a forth set of petals and only soften the tips of the petals. Set aside under plastic while you mold the center. Using a Sunflower Center Mold, mold a bit of colored gumpaste in one of the smaller centers. Gerbera centers are all different so there is no "correct" center to use. Slightly dampen the center of the fourth set of petals and place the molded center on it. Brush a little water around the edge of the molded center. Slide a small spatula under the petals and flip it over on to your fingers. Bring the petals over the edge of the molded center so that they cling to the side of the center and point upwards. Now glue this entire center into the center of the flower you have in the forming cup.
Using a tweezers and some very tine pieces of foam, gently lift several petals from different layers and push a small piece of foam under the petal to slightly raise it. Allow the flower to dry with the foam in place to achieve a more lifelike appearance in the finished flower. Gently lift the flower, still in the foil, and place at the edge of a sheet pan so the flower bends in the center. This will allow you to place them on the sides of the cake when finished. When dry, the flowers are ready to finish with petal dust. Once the flower has dried you can very gently pull out the foam with your tweezers.
Below are some suggestions for coloring your paste and the corresponding dust I used. I mixed some of the food coloring to achieve the desired colors and I also dusted the flowers with one color and sometimes dusted the tips or center with a darker color.
Food Colors Dust Colors
The leaves were cut from various shades of copper, moss green, golden yellow and burgundy. I used the following cutters and veiners together.
After cutting the leaves, be sure to thin the edges with a ball tool on the edge of a Celpad. Cup the leaves inward by dragging the ball tool from the outside of the leaf to the center. Lay the cut leaves on crumpled foil so they dry with a lifelike appearance. When dry, dust with assorted fall colored petal dusts used on the flowers. I added the petal dust colors of JuneBerry and Sunflower to brighten the leaf colors. If you take the time to steam the leaves, the dust will not fall on to the cake as you are arranging your flowers.
Using a Sunflower Fantasy Oak Leaf cutter, cut one or two (nice to have an extra in case of breakage) large oak leaves out of brown gumpaste. Cut additional smaller holes into the edges with the small teardrop cutters that come with the set. Thin the edges of the leaf and cup towards the center with your bone tool. Lay the leaf on crumpled foil to dry. When dry, dust the center with Golden Corn Petal dust, then over brush with Mushroom Petal dust. Use Bronze Shimmer Dust for the edges to add a little interest.
The border around each tier was made using a 50/50 mixture of gumpaste and fondant. Roll out a thin strip that is at least 2 inches wide. Using the FMM Straight Frills Set 1-4, cut the top and bottom of the strip to form a series of arched circles. Then using a slightly dusted Multi-Petal daisy cutter, lightly emboss the daisy design on to each circle. Brush over the entire ribbon with Gold Pearl Dust.
Color some gumpaste with a mixture of Burgundy Paste and Fuchsia Food coloring to get a dark color. Form 6mm pearls using a First Impression Bead Mold and instructions found here-GO. Be sure to freeze the mold for 5-10 minutes before trying to release the pearl stand. Lay the stand on a paper towel and dust with Bronze Shimmer Dust. Do not completely cover the beads as you want the vibrant burgundy to show through.
Brush the edge of the cake with water and lay the daisy embossed ribbon around the edge. Be sure the bottom edge is folder over to lay flat on the cake. Once the ribbon is firmly attached, brush the bottom crease with a little water and lay the pearl beading around the cake.
Using Royal Icing colored Moss Green, attach the flowers and leaves around the cake. For the top, I made one very large Gerbera daisy. I attached the large Fantasy Oak leaf first by pushing it into a small ball of gumpaste. I glued that to the top of the cake with water then added the daisy. Lastly, I added various leaves behind the daisy and around the back of the Oak Leaf to hide the base and add color to the top.
Trim the board with a dark brown ribbon to bring out the colors from the top Oak Leaf and to anchor the colors of the cake.