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How to Add First Layer of Peony Sugar Paste Flower Petals

Learn how to add the first layer of peony sugar petals to the flower center from cake designer Amy Noelle in this Howcast cake decorating tutorial, part 3 of a 6-part series.


In our process to make peonies, we've already made our center and I've covered it. We're ready to add our petals in order to make a peony bud.

The first thing I've done is rolled out my gum paste and cut it with a small five petal cutter. I want to make sure that all of my petal edges are thinner, so that technique of snapping around the edges I want to pinch and tuck and roll all of the edges to thin them out, and also distort the shape. A characteristic of peonies is that they have deeply lobed petals so we do want to make sure that these petals are no longer perfectly round. We want to distort their shape. The best way to do that and to ruffle them is to use a ball tool.

The ball tool I'm going hold like a pencil, and really, really press down into my petal. The more I press the deeper those ridges will be and the rufflier it will become. I really want to push. It's a back and forth motion, not an up and down motion that I'm applying as I go around my petals. I'm just tracing the edge. I want to make sure when I'm working with my ball tool that I'm using it half on and half off of my petal. I don't want to work inside the edge. I want to make sure that I work directly on the edge. I keep my ball tool almost off of my shape.

Once I have my petals nice and ruffly and all smoothed out, I'm ready to add it to my covered center. I'll take it and turn it upside down in my hands, and pierce the wire straight through the middle, sliding it all the way up to the base of my center. I'll apply a teeny, tiny little bit of glue just around the bottom here. I don't want to put too much glue at the top because later I want to paint them, and wherever the glue is the paint won't stick. So just a little bit of glue at the bottom.

Then I can start to fold up the petals. I want to make sure that they're, at least, as tall as the center, if not even a little bit taller because peonies tend to be fairly closed up so I'm going to keep them nice and tight in the beginning. If you notice I'm overlapping them. Each one is going on top of the next petal as I bring them up, and my fourth petal is going to go on top of my third. Now when I put my fifth petal on though, I do want to make sure that it goes on top of the fourth one, but then I want to tuck it underneath, so pull back that first petal to tuck the fifth one underneath. This way my pattern is continued all the way around.

I'm going to press to adhere it, and make sure that it has a nice round shape. This is the first layer of my bud.

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