Sugar leaves can be a wonderful accent to a cake, either in combination with flowers or on their own. Sculpting leaves on wires will give you the flexibility to create movement, whether attaching them to flower stems or grouping the leaves together with floral tape. As with flowers, any size or shape leaf cutter can be used with this technique.
- Cornstarch in a muslin bag for dusting
- Silicone rolling pin
- Sugarpaste or fondant, or gumpaste if you prefer
- Leaf cutter
- Damp tea towel wrapped in plastic wrap
- Foam pad
- Medium ball tool
- Silicone vein mold
- 24-gauge green wire, trimmed to 6-inch lengths
- 1:1 mixture of water and corn syrup
- Fruit carton
- Green floral tape
- Powder dye
- On a cornstarch-dusted nonstick surface, roll out the sugar paste, rotating evenly, to a thickness of 1/16 inch. Using the leaf cutter, cut out multiple leaves from the rolled-out sugar paste.
- Place the sugar paste leaves onto the plastic wrapped tea towel and cover while you work.
- Working with one at a time, place a leaf on a cornstarch-dusted foam pad, and use a medium ball tool to thin out the leaf.
- Place the thinned-out leaf on a cornstarch-dusted silicone vein mold and press gently to make an impression. Gently remove from the mold.
- Dip the end of a green wire into the water–corn syrup mixture.
- Place the wet end of the wire on the end of a sugar paste leaf. Pinch the underside of the leaf to adhere the sugar paste to the wire.
- Place the leaves on the fruit carton to shape and dry. Let dry for 48 hours to 1 week before handling or assembling.
- Once the leaves are dry, assemble multiple leaves by staggering them in bunches and wrapping them with green floral tape.
- To finish the leaves, dry-dust with a paintbrush and powder dye, creating shadows and highlights on the ruffles and veins.
(Excerpted from Pure Artistry: Extraordinary Vegan and Gluten Free Cakes © 2016 by Emily Lael Aumiller of Lael Cakes. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.)
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