Monday, September 26, 2011

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Lisa wanted a cascade of pink roses on her wedding cake. For a 5 tier, 200 portion cake I would need A LOT of flowers-10 dozen to be exact. Lisa wanted a cascade, not a trickle.

I always make more flowers than I think I’ll need to allow for some breakage and just to be sure I have plenty of flowers to complete the look. I like to use roses at every stage of bloom, from just opening buds to fully blossomed flowers.

What does it take to produce a look like this? Well, first of all, lots of time. It took a total of about 18 hours over several weeks to complete all the flowers and leaves. To make 120 roses I had to cut and shape about 1000 individual rose petals and several hundred leaves. Each petal and leaf was then shaded to give it some depth. Here’s a step-by-step illustration of the process:pinkroses1

First I make a cone base for each flower. I like to use a toothpick, rather than wire, to hold the cone because toothpicks are food-safe and can be stuck directly into the cake. Once all the cones are made they must dry completely before I begin adding the petals. I set them aside for a day before going on to the next step.


Once the cones are dry I gather my supplies and set up an assembly line.


The first step is to cut 120 petals to wrap the center cones. The petals here are much brighter pink than I want for the final roses for two reasons; 1-I like to make the center of the flower a deeper color than the outer petals and 2-pink always fades when it dries so I make the pink a shade or two darker than I want it to be in the end.

While I’m working with the petals I cover them with plastic wrap and a damp towel to keep them from drying out.

Each petal is frilled to give it a more natural shape, then it’s attached to the cone with a little water.


Only 118 more to go….pinkroses10 Once again they are set aside to dry before the next step.


I decided to leave about 30 roses at the “bud” stage. The “buds” have one center petal and one more layer of two petals

The next stage is to add a layer of three petals for a partially opened rose. For fully opened roses I add another layer with 5 petals. I made one very large rose by adding a final layer of 7 petals. The largest rose would sit on the top of the cake.

Once all the roses are dry they’re ready for a touch of color. pinkroses12

I use a bit of pink petal dust in the center of the rose and along the edges of the petals. It’s an extra step that gives a little more life to the flowers.


Of course the final step is to arrange the flowers on the cake. This has to be done on-site--hence the less-than-ideal lighting in the photos. It’s definitely gratifying when the florist tells me that it looks like I plucked the flowers out of the centerpieces and put them on the cake!!

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