These little cuties are the result of my one-day course at the excellent Cakes4Fun in Putney. Our patient teacher guided us through the sugarcraft techniques used to create lilies, ‘multi-petal daises’ (SO fiddly) and folded bows, among other things.
The trick with icing, of any sort, is to work quite quickly to avoid it cracking and ensure a smooth finish. It’s harder than it looks and very time-consuming, and I now understand why shops charge a small fortune for boutique cakes. But it’s also lots of fun, so if you have an afternoon to spare and an urge to put something pretty into the world, buy yourself a few tools and give it a go.
I’d recommend starting with the daisy-style flowers, which take a while to get the hang of but look very impressive once you’ve mastered the art. All you need is the stamp-cutters and a ball-topped plastic tool to flatten out the edges of the petals, making them more delicate. Any good sugarcraft shop will be able to help you get started, or just watch one of the many internet video guides. Or, even better, book yourself onto a short course. I found mine to be a surprisingly relaxing experience: the companionable concentration of the class and the wafting smell of warm sponge cake and buttercream combined to ensure a hugely enjoyable and rewarding day. Taking my creations home to be admired and enthusiastically consumed proved to be – please excuse the terrible pun – the icing on the cake.