Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sunflower Grad Cake


Graduation season is here! Are you guys making a lot of grad cakes right  now? I had the opportunity last week to make a cake for my son's best friend. She is a very sweet girl, and I was happy to make it for her. I included the elements in the cake that she requested: the colors of red and black, a sunflower (her favorite flower), and paw prints to represent her desire to open her own small animal care business. And of course we had to include the grad cap and tassel to represent her school. (Instructions on how to make the cap and tassel can be found  in our Book Smarts DVD.)



I took some photos of the process I used while making the sunflower and thought you might like to see them, so here we go:




 I used yellow gumpaste (Wilton premade works very well) to cut out two of the sunflower shapes.




Putting the petal on my cel pad, I used my ball tool to thin the cornstarch dusted petals. I put most of the pressure on the middle of the petals, because sunflower  petals are a little bit wider in the middle than they are on the two ends. I avoided thinning too much where the petals join the center portion, because sunflowers (and daisies) are notorious for breaking in that vulnerable spot.




After the thinning was done, I used the veining tool to add some vertical lines to the inside of the petals.




The flower was  placed into a cupped former lined with foil. I pinched the tips of the petals to give them  some movement and make them more life-like. Petals were propped with paper toweling in a random pattern to give the petals a natural look.




I repeated the exact same process with the second layer, but I did not glue the two pieces together. The reason for this is because I wanted them to dry in the proper shape together, but I needed to be able to  separate the pieces later for dusting.




In order to speed up the process of drying, I placed them into my dehydrator. (I made two flowers; I always make extra for breakage.)



This is Bessy. She may be old, she may be ratty and held together with masking tape, but she is a faithful and loyal friend who always gets the job done. She is a Nesco food dehydrator that I got at Walmart years ago for about $35. I use her constantly for so many items. I could not live without her. If you invest in one, I recommend that you get one with a temperate regulator. Always use the coolest temperature setting so that your items do not melt.



After the flower was fully dry, it was time to dust. The best part!  Dusting the flower just makes it come to life, and is so much fun! My dusting process was as follows: The entire flower got a light dusting with buttercup yellow. The lower portion of the petals were dusted with a combo of sunflower and pumpkin. The centers of the petals were hit with some daffodil yellow. The tips also got a little bit of the sunflower color. Then the entire flower got a very very light dusting with yellow luster dust, just to brighten it up a bit.

Remember  that I said this type of flower is known for petal breakage? Yep, happens almost every time! ACK! Here you see a petal glued back on with just a little bit of melted white chocolate. The break was low enough on the petal that it will be covered by the center once applied.



I used a silicone push mold to make the center. Brown gumpaste was pushed into the mold, and popped right out. So easy it feels like cheating.



A little bit of dark brown petal dust was applied to the center. Then I brushed the center with just a little bit of  shortening to give it a little sheen and wake it up. We don't want a sleepy sunflower! :)



Now onto the cake for a minute:


I wanted extra height on the cake tiers, so that the sunflower and stem would be in the correct proportion. We did not need any more extra servings of cake, so I increased the height by using fomecore under the tiers. I used  pieces of  1/2 inch  fomecore taped together, and then covered that with Glad Press and Seal.



I used three pieces of fomecore for the lower tier, and 2 pieces for the upper tier. Then I proceeded to ice and stack  per my normal techniques. (You can learn my technique for smooth icing and stacking in our DVDs available here.)


The finished flower was then attached to the side of the cake with a little bit of melted chocolate. Ta da!! Isn't it pretty! I love how the yellow pops against the red and black.




And the finished cake. Nicole was thrilled with it, and I was very happy that she was happy.




We will be shooting our next DVD in a few weeks. The topic will be gumpaste and fondant flowers. Do you think we should include this sunflower in the DVD? Leave a comment here and tell me what you think, and you will be entered into a drawing to win a free flower DVD when it is released in the fall. Woo Hoo! Free stuff!



Happy caking everyone!
Sharon


113 comments:

Suzan Milburn said...

I think you should just get as many flowers in as you can. The sunflower turned out beautifully!! As always!

Candi said...

Yes! Please include it. I like to have what I can on DVD so I can review.

nannette said...

The Sunflower is so beautiful, the petal dust does make it come alive!
I vote for it to be included :)

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy your stuff!! Thanks for sharing.:-)

Anonymous said...

Sunflowers are awesome! I had the sunflower kitchen back in the 80's. All flowers are welcome!
Cat

Scott said...

The sunflower should definitely be included in your next DVD! It's iconic, the perfect summer flower (imho). Thanks for sharing this great tutorial Sharon :)

Sandy Austill said...

Yes, I definitely think it should be included in the DVD. It's a beautiful flower. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

Cristina Cordero said...

I will love to have the sunflower on the DVD. I learn better by watching you!

Thank you

Johnna H said...

I agree it should be included. It looks very pretty.

Diane said...

The sunflower is beautiful.Please include it on the video.

Sandy T said...

I agree, please include it! I have learned so much from you Sharon so anytime I can get more tips from you, the better!!

Cakes by Bert said...

This is my favorite flower!!! Please include in your DVD. Thank you for posting instructions!

Julie Husser said...

Thanks for the tutorial! Looking forward to this and all the others on the new DVD!

tiffany rabalais said...

yes plaese include it. and as many more as you could ;) !

Julie said...

The sunflower is so beautiful! It has so much visual impact with just one flower! I say include it on the DVD -the more flowers, the better :)

Anonymous said...

Definitely include the sunflower. It's lovely! (Not to mention being the namesake of my new bakery :)

Tina Valenti said...

I definately think you should include this beautiful flower! As always, you are amazing!!!

Brenda said...

Love your technique for making the sunflower and the graduation cake is beautiful. Simple yet so elegant, a perfect combination. Definitely include it in the flower DVD. Sunflowers are a perfect spring and summer flower for cakes.

Joy jarriel said...

Definitely !! I always need help with sunflowers!!! Thank you!

tanyascakes said...

This sunflower should definitely be included! I can't wait to see a sugar flower DVD from you, Sharon! Beautiful work!!!

Wanessa said...

Sunflowers are so beautiful and used on so many occasions I think it would be wonderful to include it in the DVD!!!

elaine p. said...

Please include the sunflower in your next DVD! It is so beautiful and realistic. You know I love your DVDs and feel that they are an essential part of my cake decorating equiptment.

Heidi said...

Yes, include the sunflower. Great tutorial. Can't wait for the next video.

Janel said...

I definitely think you should include it! Saves me the trouble of searching for when I want to use it!!! :)

Love this tutorial! Thank you so much!!

DebbyGMomof3 said...

I can't believe I never thought about using foamcore to add height to my cakes. Woohoo! Beautiful flower too -- I have a sunflower silicone mold that just doesn't do it for me. This is so much prettier.

Morsels By Mark said...

Defintiely include this flower, and I think it should be called "Fantabuolous Florals"

Tiffany Brunson said...

Well I have just got to have a daffodil!! My all time fav. And the whole cup thing and petals just eludes me. LOVE THE DVDS!! Keep them coming.

Rosey said...

Definitley a must in your DVD!! Your sunflower looks so realistic and not like these phoney looking ones I see on the YouTube tutorials. Throw in Gerbera daisies too in the flower DVD and I would be forever greatful!

Diana Viera said...

Sharon ~ I think one more flower wouldn't hurt. After all, your sunflower did come out adorable! Every flower has it's own personality so it wouldn't hurt for people to see the way you work with the petals. Love your work! ~ Diana

in2ljc said...

I'd live to see the sunflower in the video. I'm also interested in seeing peonies. I'm looking forward to the new video.

A said...

Can't wait for the new DVD! I don't think you should include the sunflower because you demonstrate it here in enough detail so that we can replicate it. I'd rather see flowers that you haven't shown us how to do. PS: Making my first book cake this weekend-DVD was AMAZING!!! Thanks, Sharon.

Julie Stottmann said...

Sharon this is beautiful! I have been having a SugarEd dvd marathon today watching all of the dvd's that I bought at the Kentucky cake show this past weekend. You just amaze me! The sunflower is beautiful and you should definitely include it on the next dvd (can't wait!!)

Avi said...

Yes please include the sunflower tutorial!

thub. said...

YES, YES, YES!! Include the sunflower!!! Can't wait for the new dvd!!

ljchris said...

Thanks Sharon for the tute!

I don't think you should include it. You did a great job right here, so bring on some new ones.

Love your blog.

Mercedez said...

Dehydrator!! Were I live the humidity is very, very high. Thanks for the idea.

cakedujour said...

I love your sunflower. I don't know what other flowers you are including but it would be great if there were different flowers that require different techniques. Long petals like the sunflower and daisy, cupped flowers like daffodil (my favorite) and iris and lilly, shorter petals like mums and roses. Maybe you could demonstrate one and discuss similarities between that one and the others. Just an idea. You do such a great job on your DVDs I'm sure you have a fabulous plan of action. I am SO excited for this DVD to come out!

Ramona said...

Absolutely include this flower! I love that you make flowers that are realistic and large! They really pop on the cake! Personally I think that anything you include will help learn techniques that can be applied to other projects. Keep up the amazing work! Hugs, Ramona

Nikole C. in Alabama :-) said...

I would LOVE for the sunflower to be included in the DVD! You make things seem so easy to do! Thank you for doing what you do!!

kimkake said...

Yes, Please include the sunflower - so pretty! Can't wait for another one of your DVD's!!!!

K said...

Your tutorial was short, sweet, and simple. Gotta love it! Cute sunflower...could definitely be the 'let's start with something simple' lead in!

Tammy Lantz said...

I think you should include it.
Glad yuou are doing the fondant and gumpaste flowers. I would love to see a buttercream flowers Dvd too.

JenniferH said...

I would say "No" simply because you covered it really well in your tutorial. I have a honeysuckle cutters that I ordered by mistake but have no idea on how to make.I love making sugar flowers! I would love to learn those, and roses, ferns and hibiscus and any other that you could think of. I love your quality of work and really appreciate that you are quick to respond to my emails whenever I have a question. Thanks!!

bon said...

yes, please do include the tutorial on your sunflower, it was amazing!

Julie F. said...

You must include it! I HAVE to know how to make this flower come to life like you did!

bon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Yes, put the sunflower in the dvd, you do have a way with making things come alive!

Barbara said...

Yes, put the sunflower in the dvd, you do have a way of making things come to life!

Shelley G said...

That sunflower rocks, as does all of your work, Sharon. You should include it for all those who have missed this informative post.

Karen Cerami said...

Oh please include this flower.It was just fantastic but I would like to see it done in video. Love tha you are back to posting again.

ShirleyB said...

The cake is perfect...of course! Love the tools you used to make the beautiful sunflower, and yes, it should be included on the DVD.

Melissa said...

Yes! I can't wait for the new dvd to come out!!!

Kris said...

This has got me excited for more flowers!!!

lregulski said...

The sunflower is beautiful, add it, I love your videos, can't wait for the flowers!!

Anonymous said...

The sunflower needs to be in the video. Why? Because it is beautiful and can be used in many ways to decorate a cake or a large sugar cookie.

Jane said...

you are so generous in publishing your ideas for everyone to see! yes please...kindly include the sunflower in the DVD :-)

Anonymous said...

Sssoooooooooooooooo cool, i love it, i been looking for the way of making this flower, without putting petal one by one, this is so cool thanks thanks thanks sharon, i got all your dvd, and let me tell you, if i can also buy you too i will jajajajja. and yes, i think this beautiful sun flower should be in the new dvd.

Cables4fun said...

Yes, Yes, Yes, PLEASE include this flower in your DVD. I love Gerber Dasies, and this was very helpful for me!!!

Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us!

Bonnie said...

Surprise us.

T. Myers said...

Yes Sharon. This cake is beautiful as usual :-) wow, a flowers dvd, YES! I can't wait. I absolutely love your techniques/dvds. You are such an amazing teacher, thank you :-) YES, including this Sunflower would be a great idea.

Thanks again for ahring :-)

AnnaC said...

First of all, thanks for sharing the tutorial, Sharon. Yes, including the sunflower tutorial would be nice as visual learning always helps. It is great to hear you will be doing a flowers DVD. That is sooo coool!

Debbie said...

Looks like you have your answers, judging from all of the comments I've read. The result is a resounding YES! Count me in as well. Thanks for the great tutorial!

Anna Mae said...

It definitely needs to be included! It's so beautiful!!

Anna Mae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie Reid said...

Yes!!! I love the sunflower! And can you throw in the poinsettia too! And the sweet pea and a rose! And a....... My list could go on forever!! Love all your flowers!!

Anonymous said...

I think you should include it. It looks beautiful :)

Roselyn Robles

anna said...

Yes include it! I am thankful for the picture tutorials, but video is always better. I would like to watch how you dust your flowers. Can't wait!

Stacy F. said...

I am SO excited! Another DVD for my SugarEd library! As my twins say, "Can't wait! Can't wait! Can't wait!"

CookieD'oh said...

Yes! The sunflower should be included!

Jan said...

Yes! Would love to see it, can't wait..

Lauren said...

I think if it means another flower does not get included than don't since we have the reference here. But if it is just a bonus than yes please! :-)

Allison said...

You should defianetly, Add the sunflower, in the dvd, this is one of the best sunflowers I have ever seen, your work is amazing.

Penny said...

Can't wait for this DVD on flowers! Absolutely include the lovely summer sunflower! It's Great!

Michelle F said...

Looking forward to any and all DVD's you do Sharon, a true cake artist. Thanks for sharing.

lluvia said...

wow new DVD? that is so cool! thanks Sharon I vote yes for the sunflower

Connie said...

Thanks, yes please include it! I love all of your cakes.

Elaine said...

I agree with Suzan, include as many flowers as you can... I love your DVD,s... You do such a great job! Thanks for sharing your talents!!!!!

Annette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annette said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial!! Sunflowers are my favorite flowers of all (close second are Gerbera's) Love all of your DVD's <3 "YES" please include the Sunflower in your DVD :-)

Martha G. said...

First let me say I think you definitely should include the sun flower in the DVD, and I would also like to tell you, I love your blog! I always get a smile from it as well as lots of great info! So thank you for sharing your personality and knowledge with us.

Norma said...

I also vote for the sunflower to be included. It's too beautiful to leave out. Thanks for sharing your many talents with the rest of us.

Tami said...

Beautiful work!! However, I do not think that the sunflower should be included...it is fabulous & fairly simple. Great tutorial!! I am looking forward to seeing more of your work!! Thank you, Sharon!! :)

Stacey Hunt said...

Oh! I can't wait for the flowers dvd!! Love the sunflower and magnolia!! How about anemonies and hydrangeas?

Jovanna said...

YES! Please add the sunflower! And thank you for always being SO detailed with your explanations. They have helped me more than you know!

Kandi said...

Thanks for the tutorial! Please include the sunflower in your next DVD.

A said...

Love this cake and yes, PLEASE include the sunflower in your new DVD!!

angelabarton said...

LOVE the tutorials...Can't wait to see what kind of flowers you include on your flower DVD, great choice of subject for your next DVD! See you in Charlotte soon!

Anonymous said...

Please include the flower in the new dvd. Can't wait!
Rita - Greer,SC

JudeCreations said...

I like your detailed explanation. U should definately include this in the DVD

Jerilynn said...

Yes please include it. I have always wanted to learn the art of cake decorating & I have been purchasing different tools so I can teach myself. My husband finally said that I can sign up to take the Wilton Cake Decorating Classes {first class in July..so excited :0)} & so many people on the Wilton Discussion Forums recommend your DVD's. Now I see why..LOL..my husband is going to kill me because I want to purchase them all right along with all the tools that you used to make them...LOL...

nanawj said...

Yes please add the subflower. There is nothing more beautiful than sunflowersand red roses.

Betsy Richter said...

You definitely should put the sunflowers in the next video. Please keep the ideas, pictures, inspirations, and DVDs coming. My friend loves sumflowers and ladybugs. I can picture this same cake with ladybugs instead of paw prints.

DebR. said...

Absolutely, Positively....the sunflower is a MUST! It's our state flower and I've wanted to use them on cakes in the past. Well, I did, but they were real. And you can't use them easily on cakes so I usually just lay them around the cake. I'd love to make a Sharon Sunflower!!!

Chari said...

I think the sunflower would be a great flower to include in the new DVD because it is a popular flower. I seem to do a lot of them on late summer and fall cakes. I can't wait for the DVD to be completed. It is definately one I would like to have.

BrendaM said...

Oh yes include the sun flower. And yes they do break very easily especially if you "snap the wire" when cutting it. I love makeing gum paste flowers and the dusting and steaming just make them look more life like.
Can't wait till the next DVD is released.... :)

kesha said...

Yes, please include this in the video!!

Miss Tori said...

Please do include the sunflower and as many other flowers as possible. I'm very new to the decorating world, but I have heard nothing but awesomeness about you and your videos! Looking forward to purchasing some of your videos to help teach me what I need to know.

Kristy W said...

use the sunflower...your work is amazing

Tziona Keturah said...

I think that you should include the sunflower! It came out beautifully!

Rosalinda said...

OMG, I can't wait for your next DVD!!!!!! and I do love sunflowers but I would prefer that you include lots of details on how to make a rose...I love roses!
Thank you Sharon, you rock!!!

Rosie :)

Delores Morris said...

The sunflower should be included in the DVD. It's beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon. I just tried to place an order for the Buttercream DVD but I got a message from PayPal stating "PayPal does not allow your country of residence to ship to the country you wish to". I live in Puerto Rico and we are a territory of the US and have US Postal Service. I called PayPal and they said that the setting that is not permitting the order to go through to Puerto Rico can be changed by you to allow the order. Please help!!! I'd like to take advantage of the 20% discount that expires on Monday. Thank you!!!

Leslie Grant said...

The Sunflower is beautiful and your demonstration is fab as usual! As you have shown enough detail here, I think you could leave the Sunflower out of the book. I would love to see trendy flowers that aren't commonly shown in books/DVDs like Gerbera Daisy, Ranunculus, Hydrangea, and Phalaenopsis Orchids.

Denise V. Moses said...

Yes, yes, yes, include as many flowers as possible. Love your dvds. Denise,

Michelle said...

I think you should include the sunflower on your next DVD. Sometimes it is easier to hear and see rather than just read and see how to do it. Thank you for all of your tutorials...they're great!!

arebasart said...

Yes Sharon, please include the Sunflower in the video, and I hope that you also include the tulip and peony (I love these). Thank you for sharing your amazing work! I can't wait for the flower DVD for sure to be added to my library as soon as it comes out!!!

Carla Reich said...

Hi Sharon,

I'd love the sunflower in the DVD but your instructions here are also perfectly thorough. The one flower I can never find a tutorial for is the Dahlia (hint, hint!).

Thanks for all your great lessons in sugarcraft; I own all your DVDs and love them. They have given me a great deal of confidence as a decorator that I wouldn't have had without you.

Chatara said...

Yes!!Please!!Please include as many flowers as you can on your DVD.I simply LOVE your tutorials..Thanks a million for sharing all your GREATNESS!!

gingerhse said...

Thanks for the sunflower tutorials, one of my favorite flowers. I'm selfish - - include another flower on the DVD so we can have more.

Amy K. Cakes said...

Your tutorials are VERY helpful! The more flower examples the better. Ordered the fondant DVD this morning and can't wait to watch it.
Thank you!

Raphaelle Bakes said...

Hi Sharon,

Thanks for sharing..

Can you use the dehydrator for figurine topper??

how about if i need make the flower with the wire.. can i put in the dehydrator too?

thanks once again..

blessings,

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