Modern Sugar Flowers, a CakeMade Class Review
Amy Noelle’s sugar flower class is aimed at the amateur or inexperienced sugar artist, as are many other classes available on line. The hook here is she has picked a selection of flowers that hit the current trends. This shortens the curve between learning make (general) flowers and learning how to make what you need for a specific design.
She starts with the succulent. Certainly a new and exciting item and also a good choice if you have limited experience working with sugar flowers. Ms. Noelle explains the tools needed, basics of gum paste and handling. For the seasoned pro, there may not be much to learn here — the techniques are simplified to appeal to a wider base of decorators then something like Nicolas Lodge’s (quite intimidating) class on Craftsy.
Also of note here is that Ms. Noelle does not, in fact, overload her students with the need for excessive tools. I really appreciate this sentiment as gum paste tools and cutters are expensive and the standard rule of thought in the industry does seem to be “buy all this stuff or you’ll never be able to make this.”
Juliet Roses are a very popular choice right now, even more so than the standard cultured rose. This is not my preferred method for making them, but it is certainly easy to understand and replicate with limited experience. A great gateway technique for learning more complex roses. I like that Ms. Noelle, again, emphasizes making due without buying excessive cutters and tools. In this case, she shows the student how to cut the petals they need using a craft knife.
This same philosophy is applied to the peony. With minimal tools and cutters, the student is instructed to create a nice, simple flower. Ms. Noelle also gives a full description of how long it takes things to dry and preparing ahead. It’s helpful to have a teacher start a class with this, as a beginner is unlikely to be able to assess this without experience. Also included in the gum paste section are filler flora: Leaves and berries. If a student takes the class with the intent of doing a specific cake, this rounds out all the elements necessary to complete a sugar flower arrangement.
The final items are filler, a necessary add-on if you mean to do a real arrangement. Rose leaves and berries are the theme of this segment, both make for excellent accent foliage. At the end of all of these lessons, the student has an array suitable for arranging on a cake, which she explains in earnest.
Now for the bonus techniques! While often sugar flower classes (including those reviewed here in the past) cover only the construction of gum paste flowers, Ms. Noelle offers three different cake designs for the flowers to be displayed on. The emphasis here is on buttercream. I enjoyed in particular the part on using icing combs, something I have very little experience with. She also offers a mini cake (very popular these days) and a piped twig basket.
To encapsulate, there is a lot of great information here! But depending on your skill level, the class may not be worth the purchase for the experienced, professional decorator. If you are looking for a more advanced class I recommend you check out Nicholas Lodge's Mastering Sugar Flowers class.
CakeMade Class: Modern Sugar Flowers
Skill Level: Beginner
"Must Have" Tools for CakeMade Class
- Ball Tool
- Cel Stick
- Exacto knife
- flower cutters
- leaf cutters
- petal dust
- Rolling pin
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Anna is a classically trained sculptor and illustrator who started her career in cake decorating with Ron Ben Israel in 2000. Since then she has worked for a number of well known cake studios in the New York area doing complex sugar work and design. Her specialties include freehand painting,...