Decorating a cake or cupcake with cherry blossoms is easy - I'll show you how. First gather what you need:
- STIFF icing (see below for icing recipe)
- STIFF icing in brown for stamens, MEDIUM icing in brown for branches (see step #7 below)
- STIFF icing in green for leaves
- Pink gel coloring (gel doesn't water down the icing like liquid food coloring)
- Brown gel coloring
- Green gel coloring
- Tip #101,#102,#103 or #104 for pink icing (the larger the number the bigger the petals will be)
- Tip #1 through # 10 for branch (the larger the number the larger the hole and thus your branch diameter will be)
- Tip # 233 for stamens OR tip #1 through #4 if unavailable
- Tip 67 for leaves
- Three decorating bags
- Three couplers to use with tips
- Flower nail
- Wax paper squares about 1 1/2"-2" square (make plenty! = number of blossoms)
- Flower scissors
This buttercream icing recipe for decorations is also good enough to eat! It makes about 3 cups.
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco or Hi-Ratio shortening is best)
- 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons water or milk
- 1 teaspoon CLEAR vanilla or almond flavoring (necessary to be clear to make colors true)
- 1lb (about 4 cups) SIFTED confectioners' sugar (sift to prevent lumps that will clog your tip)
- 1 tablespoon meringue powder (necessary to keep it stiff and hold form; get it at Joann's or Michael's, cake decorating areas of stores)
In a mixing bowl, cream butter wth flavoring and water or milk until it's combined. Add confectioners' sugar sifted with meringue powder 1/4 at a time so it doesn't all fly around on you. Mix on slow speed in a stand mixer until thoroughly combined. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl occasionally. Continue mixing at medium speed till mixed thoroughly. Take toothpick and add small amounts of pink to HALF the icing till you get color you want. Take another half of the icing that's left and add toothpick samples of green to make green leaves. Take remaining 1/4 of icing and make brown (you'll need a LOT of coloring to saturate the brown icing - be warned!) Also after you have made the blossoms with stamens already on, add a teaspoon or so of water or milk or corn syrup to make MEDIUM consistency for branches - it will be easier to let it flow. See step # 7 below.
Step 1 Insert couplers & tips.
Insert coupler and tip (#101 or 102,103 or 104) in one of 3 bags for pink petals, then a #67 tip and coupler in a bag for the green leaves, and a #233 for the stamens in brown (or #1-#4 if you dont have #233 -try it out on a plate first to ee if you like the size and dimensions).
Step 2 Fill decorating bags with icing.
Fill your decorating bag halfway wth pink icing, then the others with green and brown icings. Cover remaining bowls of icing wth damp paper towels to keep from crusting.
Step 3 Glue flower nail to wax paper.
Take your flower nail and adding a dab of icing to it "Glue" the wax paper square to it.
Step 4 Make petals.
Make petals - resting the WIDE end of the open tip on the center of the nail, make an upside down U by twisting the nail in your left hand counterclockwise and simultaneously turning the tip clockwise to form the petal. It's easier than it sounds, so don't worry. Make 5 or 7 more petals this way. I've made both 5 and 7 and they both look good, but keep it an odd number; petals on flowers in Nature always are odd numbered.
Step 5 Press tip #233 to make stamens.
Using tip #233 which is a round tip with round separated holes in it , press it into the center of the blossom gently to make stamens. If you cannot find or do not have #233, use either #1 through #3 round tips and make a few separate brown stamens or dots in center of blossom.
Step 6 Remove wax paper.
Remove wax paper from nail and set aside to dry. Continue making petals on your next wax paper squares until you have more than enough considering breakage etc. Let them harden and dry separately.
Step 7 Add branches.
If you are making a cake and plan to design the branches etc, wait till the cake icing has hardened and cooled in the fridge - much easier to remove any "mistakes" then. Here is where you add a teaspoon of water, milk or corn syrup to make the stiff brown icing thinner to make it easier to let it flow. Make your branches by flowng the icing in arcs free form, it looks much prettier than making gnarly branches.
Step 8 Add leaves.
Add leaves in appropriate places on the branches using the leaf tip and green icing.
Step 9 Affix flowers.
Affix the flowers by putting down a dab of pink icing (or brown if that's all you have left) on the appropriate place and using the nail scissors take the flower off the wax paper and affix it gently to the dab of icing. If you don't have nail scissors, use your hands, but they will break more easily then so make plenty! Continue with the rest of the blossoms. Add a few of the blossoms aside from the branches "in mid air" as if they are falling from the branch. That's it! You now have a cherry blossom cake!
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