So you’ve made some pretty gumpaste flowers, but now you’re not sure how to actually attach them to your cake. You can’t just stick them directly into the cake, that wouldn’t be food safe…so what do you do? Well that’s what we’re talking about today. How to attach gumpaste flowers to cakes.
I’ve been asked several times for tips on inserting gumpaste flowers into cakes, so I thought it was time to write a post about it.
Many times people just assume you can just stick things straight into a cake and it’ll be fine, but you don’t want to do that. I’m sure you want things to be food safe, so that’s what I’ll be explaining here. How to do this in a more food safe way.
There are special floral picks and things you can buy for this specific purpose, but I find them to be too short and too bulky, plus they can get expensive.
My method is pretty cheap and it’s worked well for me.
By the way, you’ll also want to check out the video towards the end of this post where I explain it all and show you the exact steps I take to insert flowers into my cakes.
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Supplies Needed to Attach Gumpaste Flowers to Cakes:
- Gumpaste Flowers (for that tutorial, go here: How to Make a Large Gumpaste Rose)
- Floral Tape
- Wire cutters
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Either regular straws or bubble tea straws
- Melted candy melts or melted chocolate
- A zip lock or piping bag
- A cake – either buttercream or fondant (for this tutorial, I’m just using a buttercream cake)
Ok, so let’s get started:
Attaching or Inserting Gumpaste Flowers to Cakes:
First you need to think about what types of gumpaste flowers you’ll be adding and what size the flowers and the cake are. Different types of flowers can be added to the cake in different ways.
If you’re using really tiny flowers, you can attach them with a bit of buttercream for buttercream cakes, or candy melts or royal icing onto fondant cakes.
If they’re medium sized, sometimes you can get away with using melted candy melts, but that really works on fondant, not on buttercream.
If you’ve made your gumpaste roses on toothpicks instead of wires, then that makes it easy and you can just insert your flowers directly into your cake.
Using the toothpicks is a particularly good method to use if you’re doing a cascade floral design and if the flowers you’re adding aren’t huge, heavy flowers.
For medium sized, or larger gumpaste flowers that are made using wires, that’s when it get’s a little trickier and that’s what I’m going to show you how to do today.
First, if you’ve got more than one flower to add, you’ll want to arrange the sugar flowers into bunches. Not huge bunches though because it’ll be too heavy.
Take a look at your cake and assess how you want your sugar flowers to look on your cake. Do you want to do a cascade effect? Do you want to just add one small bunch at the top corner?
Make a plan first before you start. For mine, I’m just going to do a large rose with some leaves and then add two medium sized roses with leaves to the side of it.
When you’ve got it all planned out, you’ll want to gather a few gumpaste flowers together and wrap the stems with floral tape. I like to tape several leaves together first and get them into bunches.
Make sure to pull the floral tape first before you start wrapping your wires. That activates the ‘sticky’.
Now just group several leaves together and wrap the wires with the floral tape.
Go all the way to the bottom. At that point, you may want to snip the ends off with some wire cutters to make them even.
You’ll also want to do this to your flowers as well because you don’t want the stems to be taller than your actual cake.
You can then attach the leaves to the large gumpaste rose. Bend your leaves out a bit and then just wrap your floral tape around the wires attaching them together.
Next just arrange the smaller yellow roses together and attach them with some wire. Make sure to bend the flowers out a bit, so they don’t crash together and shatter.
When you bunch your flowers together, try not to make the stem huge. This is because you’ll have to fit them into a large straw (which we’ll get to later) plus you don’t want them too heavy and weighing down your cake.
Once you’ve got your floral bunch, or multiple bunches made, you’ve still got a couple things left to do before inserting them into the cake.
You can’t just insert non-edibles into your cake. That’s just not food safe. So don’t do that.
Here’s what you do instead. Make sure your stem is a good length. If it’s really long, you’ll need to cut off a bit with some wire cutters. You don’t want to cut it too short though because it needs to be long enough to provide some stability especially if your flower is a little on the heavy side.
Now, I like to use bubble tea straws to insert gumpaste flowers into my cakes. Bubble tea straws are just those extra fat straws. They have much wider openings. You can use regular straws if your flower bunch stems aren’t that large. Today I’m going to use two large bubble tea straws though because my flower stems are a little on the large side.
I like to fit my straw over my flower bunch and make sure that they’re around the same length and that the wires aren’t longer than the straw. I’ll also cut my straw off a bit as well. I leave my straw just a bit longer than the wire stem.
Now, figure out where you want your gumpaste floral bunches. Just kind of play around with it and lightly mark your fondant, or buttercream.
Now go ahead and insert your straw where you want to add your flowers. You could go ahead and insert all your straws now, but I like to do mine one at a time. Sometimes I don’t gauge the distance correctly and when I get one floral bunch inserted, I need more room for the second.
Also hold your flower next to your cake and make sure the stem isn’t taller than the cake. (Normally I’d use a taller cake for this, but this is just one I made for a recipe post, so that’s what I’m using.)
Before inserting the flowers, go ahead and bend your flower stems how you want them. You can adjust them a bit once you get them inserted into the cake, but it’s helpful to go ahead and do some of that now.
Also this is where the needle nose pliers come into play. You’ll basically use these in place of your fingers. Your fingers just get in the way and these are super handy because you can grip your gumpaste flower easily and then use the pliers to insert them. You’re less likely to break them doing it this way.
This next step is optional, but I like to add a little bit of melted candy melts or melted chocolate inside the straw that I just inserted into the cake. I think it forms an extra barrier between the cake and the wires and it gives the gumpaste flower a little added stability when it sets up. So, it’s completely optional, but I think it really helps.
Be careful not to add in too much melted candy melts though. You don’t need much. If you do add too much, when you insert your flower stem, it’ll just squish out at you.
Ok now that you’ve added in the melted candy melts, grab the stem of your sugar flower arrangement with some needle nose pliers and hold it fairly close to the base of the flower.
Using pliers to insert gumpaste flowers makes it SO much easier.
Now just push your gumpaste flower into the cake as far as you can with your pliers. Be mindful if you’ve got other floral bunches that you plan to add though. You might want to leave it sticking up a bit until you get the other floral bunches inserted and then go back and adjust.
Once you get your first bunch inserted, just adjust it. Remember once you get the other bunches inserted, you can readjust the first one if needed.
If you’re adding more than one gumpaste floral bunch, just insert another straw where you want the next bunch to go.
Next go ahead and add in a bit of melted candy melts. Remember just to add a small amount.
Insert your second bunch of gumpaste flowers. Remember to use your needle nose pliers to help you. Then just adjust them to get the look you want.
I have some warnings for you though.
Like I talked about earlier, you don’t want to make an arrangement that’s super heavy. For one, it’ll pull on your cake and could rip it, and two, the stem could get too big to fit into the bubble tea straw.
The next thing to watch out for is making a ton of holes in your cake. That could really mess with the stability of the cake, so be mindful of that. Try to add several flowers together into bunches and insert them like that, so there aren’t tons of small holes all over your cake. Again, just make sure the bunches aren’t super heavy, especially if they’re going down the side of the cake.
Another idea is to use toothpicks. Depending on your design, if you’re making a cake with small cascading flowers, you could make some of those small flowers on toothpicks instead of using a wire as a base. Then you can just insert it directly into the cake.
Just whatever you do, don’t stick the wires directly into the cake.
A final note is to always, always, leave some kind of note or card that lists the non-edibles in the cake.
You don’t have to draw an intricate diagram laying out the exact spots, but just list out what that they need to remove the straws and wired gumpaste flowers before serving.
Just like wearing pants…that covers your butt.
Ok, what do you think? Are you feeling confident now? Just let me know if you have any questions, or if there’s anything you’d like me to expand on.
Here’s the video of how I like to insert them:
OTHER TUTORIALS YOU MIGHT LIKE:
How to Make a Large Gumpaste Rose
I work with flowers on the daily, but cake I know very little about! Thanks so much for sharing your skills! I’m making a cake for my niece’s birthday, I have the arrangement down just fine but no idea how to put it into practice, I’ve only ever worked with gum paste once and I wasn’t very good at it. Luckily my sister is so she will be the one making the flowers. Again thanks for sharing this with us!
Hi Kelsey, I’m so glad this helped and I’m glad you’ve got your sister there to help you! Good luck with the cake…I’m sure it will be beautiful!