Sugar Flowers are something to be obsessed with, for any cake decorator at one point of time. Once you have gone through that level of being comfortable with basic cakes and decorating them with every technique you have learnt till date, one should definitely move on to sugar flowers. Sugar flowers aren’t any flower made using fondant which drops off . Sugar flowers is an attempt to make that exact real life like flowers. If possible totally close to every botanical aspect of a flower.
Me as a person have not been obsessed with any natural flower and have no clue about admiring a flower for a long time trying to be fascinated about the beauty of nature or so. But I wanted to make sugar flowers. Being a hard core self learner, I wanted to dive into the world of sugar flowers, through self learning again. After about a long search on what recipe I can try at home, I narrowed to Nicholas Lodge’s recipe which uses egg whites, still I wanted to give it a shot as I’m yet to buy one Alan Dunn’s books to look out for his recipe 😛
First I wanted to try a rose. It came out well still had some mistakes but was good for first timer and was amazed at how the petals and the whole flower could dry rock hard. I knocked it down the next day and I heard that noise and the petals never broke !
Petals on a real rose dont open up so quickly and all the petals are on the same height. Also the center bud is not a good thing to be seen :P. And yes those are the mistakes on my first rose. But I was happy about the gradient of colours and the ruffling that I could do. Then I wanted to make one more flower, and I chose ranunculus .
I was happy how it turned out but yes I didnt have any dusts to give it that extra zing. And I thought ranunculus need not have ruffled edges. Natural ranunculus, yes has a bit of ruffle edged petals. Happy with the second flower too :P. Did I try a 3rd one ? Yes I did. Simple yet I watched a whole lot of videos to make it ! Hydrangea.
Happy with it also and no dusting. So is not close to any real flower! Did I do more of my own flowers ?. No! That day when I was planning to make the 4th flower of my own I happened to come across one of my favourite Cake Decorator in India, Ashwini Joshi, posting about her upcoming sugar flowers workshop. I decided then no more making my own. I should do the whole thing all together. Why I decided to get it done with a proper tutor when I really never did that with baking, frosting and fondant till date. Others had really cool videos that one can readily watch and get done with some focus and persistent practice. Sugar Flowers on the other hand, had minute tips and tricks which isn’t available in one place to be picked up. There are quite a few world class decorators and each of them have their own style of making each flower. Techniques vary and you get to go around the web finding which way is right, you are not sure if you are going on the right way. And the key tricks are not shared for free.
One way is to buy online classes and sit and try your own. God knows how long that whole process is going to take. Or attend one of best sugar flowers workshop and you will be loaded with tonnes and tonnes of knowledge.
I really haven’t written my life experiences in Fondbites yet. But this I wanted to record it down for the sake that it never evaporates from my memory and that it would be useful for so many others looking out on sugar flowers.
We took a flight and my friend who accompanied me was generous enough in arranging on road transport in the new city and we went directly to the hotel Aditya Saravor Premier where the workshop was conducted. It was very easy to locate and clear instructions on which hall the workshop is conducted was put up near the reception. A warm welcome and pleasing atmosphere and when we opened the door to the workshop, is another pleasing experience meeting the ever charming Ashwini. If not for this, I would not have met such a lovely person on earth. Things were extremely organized. Feel at home, still at heaven kind of feeling. Seats were arranged for each student, we were 8 of us and name tags were placed for each on our respective tables, not to get confused on which place to choose to sit. But sweet of ashwini, she offered to change places if we liked. We all sat down in the places allocated to us. All things needed were neatly placed in our table and she started briefing up about herself and oh so modest person, not have seen any one else yet! She is the Indian Ambassador of ICE ( International Cake Exploration Society) and she gave a brief up of it. Cannot be more proud of having learnt from her.
From the moment the workshop started after the introduction, it was complete jam packed information pool. Every minute a new knowledge is fed into. Learn, Learn and Learn. Amazing hospitality, good food, complete understanding of the entire sugar flowers world. A door opened up in my life. Felt that amazing breeze of the garden opened up for me. We made ranunculus the right way, Tulips, Roses, Orchids, Lily. Of course some leaves and cutie filler flowers. We air brushed, steamed, petal dusted and what not.
It was one complete end to end learning and I strongly believe all her workshops would have been this quality. The whole thing happened with unbelievably nominal fee, which surprised me all together. Another thing which I was very surprised was, she had assistants to help all the students with anything we wanted. Made us buds, coloured our gumpaste if we are running out of time, cutting out wires, florist tapes, getting us the right coloured dusts…and it goes on and on!
I once was researching about going to malaysia to learn sugar flowers and I would never feel any less that I learnt it in India. To add to my astonishment, she brought real flowers to class for us to analyze the botany and create close to real flowers. Ok, again to add to all my surprise, we have been using her high quality 100% food grade petal dusts which are the costliest that we could find, in a totally liberal manner. And she is least bothered about how much of the hunter green petal dust did we empty :P, in trying to create the life like rose leaf !
Then came into picture an amazing photography session, feedback forms, buying the tools we needed. And here I got to mention, if we bought the tools during the class, we get it at the price she buys. Can you believe it!
I flew back with the amazingly beautiful sugar flowers I made in the class, all the tools needed to start off as soon as I land, loads and loads of knowledge. I got to write in detail every technical things I have learnt, not in the post :P, but in my diary to never forget all the power packed stuffs I have learnt and to keep going back to it when ever I need to refresh.
Ok, I know I keep telling this again and again. Here comes ANOTHER THING which I was surprised about. When I spoke to Ashwini, I told her I got to learn flowers just to teach others and is it ok with her, if I learnt and came back to chennai and hosted classes. She was completely Ok with it! and can you believe it again ?
I’m all very excited and thrilled to start my new journey on sugar flowers. And from today I decided to make 2 flowers a day. Watch real flowers very close and try and make stunning life like sugar flowers and give all that learning and knowledge back to my workshops I would host in chennai and do justice to the teacher I have learnt them from and to all the students who would learn the sugar flowers from me.
Bang on Chennai! Lets rock flowers!
* Here are some of the flowers I came back from the class and tried at home!!
And here I dedicate all my future successful sugar flowers to my awesome teacher!! :), Thanks a bunch Ashwini for organizing such an amazing class and everything you did for teaching us so well!