In V4, I8 of Cake Central Magazine, we celebrated the journey of wine, from earth to bottle. There were so many exquisite cakes featured in the issue, including Kristen Erich’s steampunk wedding inspired cake. Kristen created this fondant grape tutorial that shows how she created the rich, plum-colored grapes that accent her cake, shown below:
Adhesive of your choice (gumpaste melted in water used here)
Floral wire, green, 18-gauge
Floral wire, green, 26-gauge
Gel paste (Americolor Regal Purple is used here)
Green floral tape
Petal dust (eggplant, red and fuchsia colors used here)
Small ball of white fondant, gumpaste, or 50/50 mix of both (I use 50/50)
1. Color your fondant using the purple gel paste until desired base color is achieved. Cut your 26 gauge wire into small sections. Bend one end of each section of wire into a small hook.
2. Roll the purple fondant into small balls. The size depends on the scale you need for your specific design or the specific type of grape you want to make. Dip the hooked tip of your 26 gauge wire into your gum glue adhesive. Shake off any excess liquid. Insert the wire into the ball of fondant. Repeat until you have as many as you will need and let them dry overnight.
3. Now it is time to dust your grapes! I like to start with a dusting of the eggplant color. Next add a small bit of red just in one or two spots. Not too much— a tiny bit will do. Go back with the fuchsia and dust to highlight. The red and fuchsia colors should not cover the entire grape but be used more sparingly only to add depth.
4. Your grapes are beautifully colored! Time to wire the cluster together! Using your 18 gauge wire hold one grape so that the wires are flush and your grape is at the very tip. Wrap the floral tape securely around the two. Now begin to add more grapes.
5. The top of your second grape will rest at the bottom of the first grape. The third grape will be side by side with the second grape. You will find that each grape fits into its ideal space and you will begin to add them all around the 18 gauge wire. Fit them in so no space show in between. Grapes grow naturally packed closely together. Add as many grapes as you need to achieve your desired cluster size.
6. When arranging your clusters onto your cake you may find you have gaps. No worries! Just use any leftover grapes to fill the gaps or roll new balls and add them as needed.