This past week I was taking a class on gumpaste flowers and various techniques for working with fondant. It was a fairly good class but sometimes I find it claustrophobic to have to be creative in such a structured and prescribed way. So when it was time to work on our final project my creativity burst forth!
Inspired by Indian henna patterns and my love for peonies I new that I had to incorporate both elements into my final design. I decided to concentrate the little blossoms at the top and phase them out near the bottom and do the opposite with the henna patterns. I wanted it to be heavily patterned on the bottom tier and getting lighter going up the tiers.
This technique is called brush embroidery. Basically I took royal icing and pipe heavy outlines on the fondant. You could draw a design on the fondant first or just wing it like I did. Then I use a wet, soft-bristle brush and drag the edges of the design in toward the center. This creates the effect or being embroidered with thread. After that I embellished the design with dots and more piping. To top it off I painted the whole embroidered area with a gold and copper luster mixture. Talk about time consuming...but I thrive on details like this!
Then the peony...fifty hand-shaped petals in all! I love the radiating color and the sheer size of this flower. I added gold/copper luster to a handful of leaves the sit behind the peony, just to incorporate the gold on the top tier.
I hope to have the opportunity to reproduce this style and design again. I think it has a unique and elegant effect. I absolutely loved working on this cake!