Gumpaste Toppers For Seven Wedding Cakes!

Yes, the mother of the bride decided to use a stand with 7 shelves, each holding a cake. I made 6 toppers covered with the fall colored gumpaste flowers they requested (roses, dahlias, carnations, and lily of the valley) plus red currants and leaves. The top topper was two "wedding owls", as per the invitation. That one I made out of Rice Krispie treats covered with fondant.

Live and learn moment: this was my first wedding cake. I have known the parents for decades (the father is the director of the building where I work) and the mother does wedding cakes regularly. Her daughter asked her to make the wedding dress AND wedding cake so needless to say, the mother ran out of time! She still went ahead and baked the cakes, filled and coated them, and had them stored in the freezer at the venue. What I expected was to have 7 properly prepped cakes but what I got were soaking wet cakes that looked like a 5 year old threw on some buttercream! They were totally unlevel and, well, a total mess. She had left me a bag of icing but that too had been frozen and I didn't have the equipment to rewhip it to properly recoat the cakes. If I had been warned, I would have brought in a big batch of buttercream from home and my leveler to have nice even cakes.

So, I spent 2 hours (until the bridal party showed up) trying my best to fix a complete mess. The toppers covered the top and the fall leaves I had made did the border (she didn't even pipe a border, which I had expected!) Still, so frustrating to spend that much time making 96 gumpaste flowers, 144 red berries plus a wack load of leaves only to be faced with a mess to place them on! Lesson learned....never trust someone else (even though they are experienced wedding cake makers and this was for their only daughter) to do an adequate job!

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Comments (5)


Forgot I had a question!  How would you have gone about placing the flowers?  They were all different shapes/sizes (roses, dahlias, sunflowers, lily of the valley, red currants, carnations).  I know the biggest flower should be at the top, but I just winged where to place the rest.  It didn't completely cover the styrofoam dome/plastic separator plate but since these were covered in ivory fondant (same color as buttercream on the cakes), I felt this didn't detract.  Ok, I ran out of time to make filler  ;)  So any suggestions on arranging gumpaste flowers into this type of bouquet?


Thank you.  Rookie move....never assume! But really, wouldn't you expect the mother of the bride who has considerable experience making (and selling) wedding cakes to provide well butter creamed and LEVEL cakes?  I wasn't kidding when I said it looked like a 5 year old slapped on some icing.  I was so demoralized when I got there, having spent so many hours on those toppers only to be faced with such a sloppy (and wet) mess.  Terrible.  Lesson learned!  To boot, she had told me the top cake (kept for the anniversary) would be a 6" so I made the owls on a 6" separator plate.  Ends up the cake was 8" so there was lots of empty space on top.  Sigh.  ALSO, the cakes weren't even on the same color/size cake boards.  Some had large gold ones, others small gold ones, and one had a silver cake board.  GEEZ!

On the up side, I learned much over this process.  Lily of the Valley are right up there with tiger lilies and cymbidium orchids as my favorite flowers to make!  So easy yet so striking.  Love that combo  ;)  

In the end, each 4.5" styrofoam dome took 20 pieces, plus leaves:  4 roses (2 large, 2 medium), 3 sunflowers (1 large, 2 small), 3 dahlias,  4 carnations, 2 lily of the valley, and 4 bunches of 6 "red currants".  I know the arrangements would have benefited from some filler flowers, but really the spaces weren't very noticeable.  I almost painted the domes green but am SO glad I left them ivory!


I should mention how I actually made these, in case someone else wants to tackle a similar project!  I don't recommend taking on 7 toppers at once though  ;)

The flowers were all on toothpicks.  I did originally have them wired but they fell out of the roses and dahlias so I gave up on them after that, except for the berries and the lily of the valley.  I used melted white candy melts on both ends of the toothpicks, to go into the flowers then into the styrofoam.  The 6 flower arrangements were made on 4.5" styrofoam dome stuck to 6" separator plate using royal icing.  I covered this with ivory fondant and left the color as is.  I was going to color the domes green but am glad I left them ivory!  Before sticking the flowers in I used my small modelling stick (dark blue in the Wilton set) to make a hole.  Then I dipped the toothpick into the melted chocolate and stuck the flowers in.  Rock solid!  Some of the toothpicks did poke through on the sunflowers and carnations but I took small pliers and pushed them back in.  It didn't show at all on the carnations.  For the sunflowers I used a brown edible marker to cover the toothpick holes.  Getting leaves in all those big flowers are almost impossible so I think I could have gone about this better.  I didn't have time to maker fillers.

The owl arch was 18 gauge wire which I bent into shape.  I drilled two holes into a 6" plastic separator plate and attached the wire.  It was long so I tied the ends together under the plate.  I then covered the wire with fondant and tiny flowers.  The roses I winged but the others I made using a silicone mould.  The owls were molded Rice Krispie treats which I covered with white chocolate then fondant.  All the rest was gumpaste.  The tails I made using both halves of a "wing" mould.  The final arrangement was 4-4.5" tall.  I had checked wedding toppers at Bulk Barn and they were all in that height range.


Sorry, one last thing.  I used the FMM "easiest carnation" cutters (largest) and liked how my flowers turned out.  Note that you need to ruffle lots to get rid of the obvious rippled edges produced by the cutters.  My left index finger is still sore from all the rolling/frilling I needed to do to produce 24 large carnations!  I used the Wilton cutters for the roses but forgot to curl the edges back a bit.  Happy with the dahlias, lily of the valley, and berries (I used online videos) but not so happy with the sunflowers.  Any tips for producing more realistic versions?  I've seen versions where each individual petal is wired then stuck into a large core.  That can't be the only way, right?