Gumpaste Flowers and Sugar Flowers

How To Make A Gumpaste/Sugar Sunflower

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Last Updated on 27th April 2023 by Vicki

Sunflower and bee themed birthday cake
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Hi all, this week I’ve been busy making this sunflower and bee themed cake for my mother in law’s birthday. I’m so excited to share with you how to make a gumpaste sunflower and bee cake decoration. Gumpaste sunflowers are also called sugar sunflowers. I’ve never actually made one before and I’m so pleased with how they turned out. I’m going to start with the sugar sunflower tutorial first. If you want to jump straight to the bee tutorial, then click here. As usual, a list of all the items used in both tutorials, can be found at the bottom of the page.

How To Make A Gumpaste/Sugar Sunflower

Below is a video of me making a sugar sunflower.

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I hope you liked the video tutorial! Keep reading for more information and my step by step written tutorial.

I made the sunflower petals out of Renshaw’s daffodil yellow flower and modelling paste and cut them out using an extra larger sunflower cutter by PME. I used vodka to stick the sunflower together, but you could also use an edible glue. Read on for the step by step written tutorial.

Cutting Out And Shaping The Petals

roled out yellow fondant with a sunflower cutter on top

Roll out the yellow paste, until it’s about 3ml thick. Make sure it isn’t stuck to your board before you press the sunflower cutter into it. Dust a little cornflour (cornstarch) onto the surface and your fingers if it is a bit too sticky.

Cutting out a sunflower from yellow flower paste

Remove the excess paste away from the outside of the cutter. This probably isn’t the conventional way of cutting out the sunflower, but I found it worked better and produced a much cleaner cut.

Top of a sunflower cutter

To ensure that the paste hasn’t stuck to the board, gently move the cutter in circles before you lift it.

Yellow fondant in a sunflower cutter

Now, use a sturdy brush to go around all the edges ensuring you have a clean cut and remove any extra bits of paste.

Gumpaste sunflower

Once you have cleaned the cut, press the plunger and drop your shape onto a flower foam pad.

Shaping a gumpaste sunflower with a ball tool

Start shaping the petals with a ball tool. Apply a gentle pressure as you pull the ball tool from the top of the petal towards the centre of the flower.

This next part allowed me to use my new petal veining tool and I absolutely loved the effect it gave! Place your flower on the corner of a foam mat and gently roll the tool back and forth over each petal. You will see veins appear and also curve the petal too. I put the flower at the edge of the mat so the ends of the veining tool is raised slightly, stopping it from cutting into the paste.

Gumpaste sunflower shape in a flower celformer

Once the petals are veined, place the shape in a flower former. Position the petals as you like, I pressed the edges down.

Shaping a gumpaste sunflower

Pinch the ends of each petal into a point and then leave for a few hours to set.

Second Layer

Shaping a gumpaste sunflower with fingers

When the first layer is dry, repeat all the process again to make a second layer and then place this layer on top of the first. I used a tiny amount of vodka in the middle to help it stick. You can arrange the petals to lay in between the first layer before creating the pointed ends. Leave the sunflower overnight to ensure it is fully dried.

Dusting a gumpaste sunflower

Once it’s dried you can add edible orange dust to the bottom part of the petals. Gently go around the petals with a dusting brush. You don’t need too much dust on your brush, it’s so easy to add too much! Less is definitely more!

Gumpaste sunflower

Once finished, it will look something like this. Starting to look pretty!

How To Make The Middle Of The Sunflower

This next part did have me thinking for a while and I tried out a few ways before I was happy with the result. I really didn’t want to use a mould, as that would be an extra tool that you needed to make the sunflower. I always try to make my toppers with as few a tools as possible, so more people are able to have a go at making them. Saying that, if you did want to use a mould, then that’s fine too. Anyway, after a little trial and error I got there. Read on to see how.

The middle is made out of brown modelling paste. I coloured mine brown but you could also use ready made brown if you wanted to.

Ball of brown modelling paste in a sieve

Place a small ball of brown modelling paste in a sieve.

Squashing a ball of modelling paste into a sieve with a rolling pin.

With the sieve touching the surface, press the brown paste down with the end of a small rolling pin.

Shaped piece of brown modelling paste on the end of a rolling pin

Your paste should now look something like the image above.

Shaping the middle part of the sunflower

Next, use a dresden tool or toothpick to texture the edges.

The middle part of a sugar sunflower

Keep texturing until you have gone all the way around the disc.

Making the middle part of a sugar sunflower

Flip the disc over. If you have a curved end on your rolling pin the disc will look something similar to the image above.

Sticking small tubes  of brown modelling paste onto a circle of paste

Cover the surface with glue and roll small tubes of brown modelling paste in your hand and then stick them onto your disc. Make sure they are long enough to go up around the side of your disc when it is turned around the right way.

Strands of brown modelling paste

Keep going until you have covered all around the outside. This may seem like it will take ages, but it took me less than 10 minutes!

Putting The Gumpaste Sunflower Together

Shaping the middle of a gumpaste sunflower

Flip the disc over and stick it in the middle of your sunflower. If it has trouble reaching the bottom use a small piece of brown modelling paste to help it stick. Shape the strands to how you would like them. I used my dresden tool to do this, but you could just use a toothpick.

Dusting a gumpaste sunflower

Once the middle is dry, you can gently dust it with a mixture of yellow and green edible dust. Be careful not to break the stands.

Back of a gumpaste sunflower

Lastly, for extra support, I cut out a disc of yellow modelling paste and stuck it to the bottom of the flower. This helps to give the flower strength, so the petals don’t break off.

So that’s how to make a gumpaste/sugar sunflower. I was really pleased with how they turned out. If you would like to see how I made the leaves, then read on!

Making The Sunflower Leaves

To make the leaves, I coloured my white flowerpaste green using PME Pea Green Food Colouring Paste. You could of course, use premade green modelling paste if you wanted to. I don’t have a sunflower leaf cutter, so I just cut mine out freehand. Here’s how I made them.

Green shaped leaf made out of modelling paste.

I rolled out some green modelling paste very thinly and then cut out a leaf shape with my knife.

After placing the leaf on a foam pad, I marked veins onto the leaf using a dresden tool.

I then ruffled the edges of the leaf with a ball tool. You can also use a bone tool to do this too. With one half of the ball on the leaf and the other on the foam pad, gently rub the edge of leaf to thin it and cause it to ruffle. I have a video of me ruffling a leaf in another post, which you can get to here.

After leaving the leaf to dry overnight I dusted it gently with some green dust. I find concentrating on the edges look effective.

Gumpaste/sugar flowers can be very delicate so you need to be careful when attaching them to your cake. I used a small piece of the same coloured modelling paste to help me position and stick the sunflowers onto the cake.

Before I carry on to the bee tutorial, you may also be interested in how to make sugar/gumpaste peonies. Click the image below to take a look at the tutorial.

Four pink sugar peonies on a cake.
How To Make A Sugar/Gumpaste Peony

How To Make A Bee Cake Decoration

Here’s a little tutorial showing how I made the bee cake decoration. I used the same yellow modelling paste as I did for the sunflowers, so the colours were the same on the cake. I also used Renshaw’s black modelling paste.

Black and yellow modelling paste

Take 20g of yellow modelling paste and form it into an oval shape with a point on one end. Take 10g of black modelling paste and mould it into a small oval. These will be the bee’s body and head.

Black and yellow shaped modelling paste

Press the ends that will fit together on your surface to flatten them.

Bee cake decoration

Stick the two pieces together as can be seen above. Next, using the pointed end of a dresden tool, mark some holes for the antennas.

Showing the holes in the black modelling paste

Your model should now look like the image above.

Bee cake decoration adding anntenas

Take two small pieces of black modelling paste and form them into tubes, tapered at one end. Make sure they fit inside the antenna holes before applying glue and fitting them.

Adding black stripes to a fondant bee

Cut two strips of black modelling paste about 5ml wide. Check that they will fit across the width of your bee’s body.

Bee cake decoration

Glue the stripes onto the bee’s body and trim with a knife.

Two white hearts made from modelling paste

To make the wings cut out two small hearts in white modelling paste. Leave them to dry hard.

White heart made from modelling paste with  a blob of modelling paste on top

To attach them to the bee, stick a small blob of modelling paste onto the back of each heart and then stick these onto the bee. Leave them to dry before attaching to the cake.

Bee Video Tutorial

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I attached the bee to the cake using toothpicks and used a blob of sticky modelling paste to secure.

I hope you liked these tutorials showing you how to make edible sunflowers and bee cake decorations. They really do make a lovely and bright spring or summer themed cake. I am happy to say that my mother in law was thrilled with it!

List Of Items Used In These Tutorials

A Cake On Life is an affiliate for The Cake Decorating Company and an Amazon Associate. I may earn a small commission if you purchase products via my links. This is at no extra cost to you, but allows me to keep writing these tutorials. I only suggest products that I like and use myself.

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Sunflower and bee themed birthday cake


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