How to Make a Gumpaste Peony Without a Peony Cutter

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I knew I wanted to make a ruffle cake topped with a big gumpaste peony for the A is for Addalyn party.

Only problem?  I don't own a gumpaste peony cutter.  I had planned on picking one up at ABC Cake Decorating, my local (awesome!) cake supply store.  But they didn't have one, and I, of course, had left things to the last minute, and didn't have time to order a cutter online.  Oops.  It was time to improvise.

Heart shaped cookie cutters to the rescue!  I even had some with scalloped edges, which, though not necessary, worked very nicely for making a peony.  

I used two sizes of scalloped heart cookie cutters (all I had).  I made five layers of petals total--two out of the larger heart cutters, three out of the smaller.  Each layer of the flower was made by simply cutting out three gum paste hearts, using a gum paste ball tool to ruffle and thin the edges a bit, and arranging them in a circle, with the point of the heart in the center.  The furled up ball of petals for the center was supported by just a round lump of gum paste in the middle.

I used three sizes of cupcake papers (large, regular, mini) to support the petals as they dried, so they'd fit nicely together to create a single peony.  I'd never tried using muffin, cupcake, and mini cupcake wrappers for this purpose before, but it worked brilliantly.  The fluted edges allowed me to stretch the paper out and make some slightly larger, some smaller. and easily create the perfect support shape.

Once the petals had dried completely, I added a little bit of color and dimension by brushing on dry luster dust.  Such a simple process, but it makes gum paste flowers look so much more interesting and realistic.

All that was left to do was to stack the layers of petals so they nested together and created a single peony flower.  I used a small bit of vodka as a glue to attach each layer of petals to the one that came before.

even though I waited until the last minute, the great thing about gumpaste cake decorations is that they can be made weeks, even months ahead of time.  

So you can get it done, and not worry about that element of the party at all in those last few hectic days before an event.

The day of the party, just plop it on top of the cake.  It would make even a completely plain cake from the grocery store look like something romantic and spectacular.

Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido