It's almost summer, and everyone is feeling it, including all of us in the cake decorating world! Accentuate your spring and summer sweets with these gorgeous sugar dogwood flowers, and go the extra mile by making them organic and vegan with the included vegan sugar paste recipe. No one will know the difference!
Photos via Lauren Volo
How to sculpt sugar dogwood flowers
What you will need:
- brown floral wire
- pink and green sugar paste (recipe follows)
Roll green sugar paste into a pea shaped ball.
Bend brown floral wire into a small hook.
Dip end of the wire into water. Place ball of sugar paste on to the hooked end. Pinch end of sugar ball to taper the end.
Cut a dogwood flower out of thinly rolled pink sugar paste. Place on the palm of your hand and thin out edges with a ball tool.
Dip end of wire in water and poke through the middle of the flower until the center is flush with the flower.
Place flower in Styrofoam upside down, letting it dry for at least 48 hours.
Brush edges of flower and center with darker pink and green hues to create depth. I like to use natural fruit and vegetable powders, but petal dusts work just as well.
Accent on a dessert or give to your sweetie! Sugar flowers are very delicate, so handle with care. For storing keep in an air tight container in a cool environment.
Vegan sugar paste recipe
- 1 pound organic powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon and ½ teaspoon gum tragacanth (obtained from the sap of middle eastern root)
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup cold water
- 1 ½ teaspoon agar agar
- 1 tablespoon palm shortening
- 3 tablespoons glucose
Combine sugar and gum tragacanth in a large mixer bowl.
Soften agar agar in the cold water in a heatproof glass container.
Allow this to stand for 5-15 minutes. Melt palm shortening and cool a bit. To dissolve agar agar, place glass container with agar agar water mixture in hot water. Stir slightly until mixture becomes clear. It starts out looking like frosted glass and gradually melts to clear. This takes about 1 ½ minutes. Be careful not to overheat. Remove container from water; stir in agar agar and palm shortening.
Combine powdered sugar and gum tragacanth in a large mixing bowl. Add liquid mixture. Mix to combine. At first the mixture will be very soft, beat on medium speed about 5 minutes. The mixture will stiffen up. A plastic scraper helps remove the sticky mixture. The mixture will look like a big marshmallow. If you have used the full amount of water, the mixture will be soft, and likewise the mixture will be firmer with the minimum water added.
Place on a greased surface and knead until the sugar paste comes together. Store in an airtight container.
Do you have any tricks for catering to clients with food allergies?
About the author
Emily Lael Aumiller, founder and owner of Lael Cakes, discovered her love for the delicacy of pastry sculpture while pursuing a traditional fine art degree. Upon graduating from New England Culinary Institute, Emily moved to New York City, where she apprenticed with Sylvia Weinstock and Eric Bedoucha of Financier Patisserie. Upon opening Lael Cakes and struggling with food allergies, Emily mastered recipes that cater to gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan clients who are in need of a high-end custom cake.