After spending a day making wired petals for peonies, I thought that there had to be a way to make the process go faster. I came up with this quick method that let me make 17 petals in 20 minutes on my first try, which is a lot faster than I had been doing them.
Now I’ll be the first to say that I can’t be the first person to think of this because it seems so obvious, but I’ve never seen anyone do it this way before. I felt very clever when I thought of it, then I felt dumb for not thinking of it sooner.
On my Kitchenaid pasta roller I take it down to a 5.
Roll a long strip of gumpaste out, then trim off the edges with a pizza cutter so that the long edges are straight.
Put the wires down along the damp edge, spacing them about as far apart as the size of the petals that you’re going to be cutting.
(You can also do this by folding the gumpaste over like a book or by putting wires along both edges, then putting two pieces on each other so that the entire width of the paste is used. This would be to make a lot of smaller petals on both sides of the gumpaste strip, or to cut larger petals that need the full width of the strip.)
Take a small rolling pin and press the two edges together around the wires, but only roll very gently over the wires themselves so that you don't shift them around.
Before cutting the petals out, run a small spatula under the gumpaste to make sure it isn’t sticking to the rolling surface.
Shape the petals as you usually do. You can roll them out thinner using a rolling pin, or use a two-sided petal press to make sure that the two pieces of gumpaste are really adhered to each other, then cup them as usual with the ball tool, etc. The pressure of the ball tool will help to make sure that the gumpaste is stuck to itself.
If you do find that the gumpaste is separating, you're not pressing hard enough at the beginning when you press down on the sections with the rolling pin, or you're using too much water to stick the sheets together.
Once you try this you can adjust the thickness of the gumpaste to be thicker or thinner, however you find it best to work with.
I included this method in my peony tutorial that's for sale on etsy.com . It definitely speeds up the process.
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA