Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

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asked August 20th 2021

Fixing Sugar flower bouquet to side of 4 tiered wedding cake

Hi - me again desperately in need of some help and advice.

The wedding cake I'm making needs to be delivered next Friday morning at the very latest (the wedding is at 1pm on that day). It's four-tiered and is intended to have a cascade of flowers in a sort of back-to-front S shape from top to bottom.

I have already had a lot of help in getting my edible lace right from madeitwithlove for which I am very grateful.

This problem is about attaching my sugar flower bouquets to the cake and my concerns that I have made a huge mistake in wiring them together - having (too late!) looked at some tutorials on fixing a cascade to a cake, they all do it by adding the flowers seperately, not as ready made bouquets.

I can't see how to attach photos to this post so I'll do my best to try and describe what I have done and what I am trying to achieve.

Each bouquet is about 10-12 inches long and weighs around 8 oz. The 'handle' for attaching them to the cake is at the mid point of each bouquet. The design has these 'handles' inserted into the cake in the angle between two tiers, one between the top and second tier down on one side and the other between the bottom and second tier up on the other side - to give a sort of cascade effect on each side. there will be a large single flower where the two crescents meet in the centre of the cake, and another on the top tier of the cake.

However, I am now worried that my design is flawed. Using a dummy 4 tier cake, I've realised that to get the 'handle' to fit into the angle where the tiers meet means there would have to be quite a lot of it left visible and I would have to make it longer than it is at the moment to reach into the angle. This can be hidden as I have a couple of small flowers and sprays of filler flowers left, but I am worried that weight of each bouquet would be too much to make this a secure fix. Any thoughts on this please?

I'm not sure attaching the bouquet into the side of one of the tiers would work because the centre of each crescent would be too low or too high, but again, I would welcome any thoughts on this, or on any other suggestions.

If at all possible I want to avoid having to undo the bouquets which would risking breaking flowers which I have no spares to replace and not enough time to make more, and to be honest,I am starting to panic.

I would really appreciate any thoughts on how to solve this, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't mean taking the bouquets apart.

Many thanks for all your help
Sharon

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Well, what a great day we had. Both me and the cake survived I'm very happy to say.

I followed all the advice I had from yorself and from Paul's videos. It was a BIG cake so the tutorial on stacking cakes was very useful. Adding lustre to the edible lace mat worked very well, as did using shortening to attach the lace to the cake.

It took me over an hour to attach the flowers to the cake as I wanted (I'm not a fast worker) and there were quite a few unwanted holes by the time I finshed (I'm not a 'get it right first time' worker either but I managed to hide these with spare flowers and lace) but seperating the bouquets into sprays and individual flowers was a great idea. It gave me a lot of peace of mind during the day that they weren't going to fall off so I could relax and enjoy the day more. (In fact to my initial horror, when it came time to cut the cake in the evening they moved it, table and all, to the other end of a 100ft room and not only did it stay in one piece, but not a single flower fell off!)

Here's a link to pinterest again with pictures of the finished cake.

Thank you once again for all your help and advice. This is a brilliant website and forum. I'm looking forward now to a few days off, with not a cake in sight! πŸ™‚

Regards, Sharon

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Hi Sharon

My apologies for this late reply. I've been searching for tutorials that might help in some way with your dilemma. I too have found the same as you.

I have searched in the Cakeflix advanced flower tutorials and although there are arrangements that cascade, they are mostly single flower cascades or adhered with chocolate or royal icing. There are several statement arrangements as with the lily flower tutorials which may be worth visiting.

I know you don't want to undo the bouquet, however, it may be easier to separate the flowers at strategic points, rather than taking a risk with trying to mount a complete heavy garland that will be tricky to hold fast and safe.

My suggestion is to measure the height of your stacked cake, create a drawing of the tiers or use a downloadable temple of stacked cakes. Then lay the bouquet garland on the drawing and arrange it in the desired form. If you feel happy with how it looks, snip off at the points which will give the shape. See some templates here:

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=free+downlaodable+template+for+4+tier+cake

Next, you'd need to extend each length by wiring it to some heavyweight gauge-covered florist wire. This can be formed into a strong angled arm that can be inserted into a straw already arranged in the cake. The process would need to be carried through to each stage of the arrangement. Gaps can be filled in with either filler flowers or more leaves. These don't necessarily have to be wired in depending on the size of the gaps.

I've just done another search and found something which sounds like what I've been trying to describe above. Wish I had found it earlier, it would have made my answer so much shorter. Peek here:

Hope some of this helps. I'll keep searching for solutions, you still have time. πŸ™‚

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Hello again madeitwithlove. Thank you once again for your help.

I have a paper template I made myself, so it may not be precisely to scale, but it is close. I also have a set of cake dummies the same size as the actual cake which I've been using as a 3D template. I used it get the bouquets the right size together with a cardboard template of the shape I wanted to achieve on which I laid the flowers as you suggested, before they were wired up into the bouquets.

I don't think I could seperate all the flowers individually as in the video - I fear there would be breakages which I won't have time to replce, but it should be feasible to separet out each arm of the crescent from the centre posy. Hopefully then each part would not be too heavy for the cake.

The bottom arm of each bouquet and the each centre posy could be inserted more or less where orignally planned.

I'd have to give more thought to how to attach the top arms. maybe by turning them upside down so the can attach from the top using the existing wire, or maybe by trying to wind in another wire of suitable strength at the thin end of each arm, and attaching it using that. It means the thicker heavier end would be at the botton, but maybe I can also insert that into the cake to help secure it.

Thank you, you've given me something to think about, to attach each bouquet in parts possibly to achieve the same look, or to go back to the design and see how it would look if the top arms were attached uside down (ie thin end at the bottom).

I hope I am making sense, I know it is difficult to imagine without pictures and I really appreciate your help.

While I was waiting hoping for a reply, I did have an idea of adding s strong wire into the top, thin end of each bouquet, and using that to provide it with additional support. Before I start to take the bouquets apart, do you think that might be a feasible idea, or do you think that each bouquet, at 8oz, is just too heavy to attach as it is?

One further point. it's actually my son who is getting married, so I will be a guest at the wedding. The ceremony will take place in the room that will later be used for the wedding breakfast. The cake cannot be assembled until after the ceremony, so that is also putting me off adding the flowers individually once all 4 tiers are in place. Separating the bouquets into just 3 pieces would make the final assembly quicker (I think) than adding all flowers individually.

Thank you again,
Sharon

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Hi Sharon,

So that you’re not hanging around for my reply, I will read through your answer after I’ve finished making tonight’s dinner. I’ll post back later with thoughts on your ideas. We’ll get there πŸ™‚

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Thank you madeitwithlove. I was just trying to think what I could do in case no one replied. I'm not acting on anything yet, and any other thoughts you may have would be very much appreciated.

Enjoy your meal - I'm just about to make ours too. πŸ™‚
Thanks again,
Sharon

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Hi Sharon

Is it possible to steer me to something similar to your design online? I realise you can’t post pictures on here but if there is anything online which looks similar, it would help. At the moment, I worry how each section can be safely secured to the cake. πŸ™‚

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I can't find anything very like it - perhaps there's a good reason for that. Perhaps if I put a sketch of the design, and some photo's of the bouquets up on Pinterest I could link to them? I'll try and get something up first thing tomorrow morning.

Till then, many thanks,
Sharon

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Hi madeitwithlove.

Here's a link to a Pinterest album I've created. Hopefully it works. I apologise now for my abysmal drawing/sketching skills but I hope they are good enough for you to see how I'm thinking the seperate parts could be attached to the cake.

I've added a photo of one of the bouquets (they are both the same) and a sketch of my original idea for placing them on the cake.

The second sketch is an amended design showing two options, following your advice to split the bouquets into sections. In both options the bottom arms (sprays) and central posies are fixed in roughly the same positions as the original design.

In option 1 the top 'arm' (spray) is fixed also in roughly the same place and orientation as the original design, attached at both the top and bottom by adding an extra wire to the thin end of the spray.

In option 2 the spray is attached upside down - ie with the thin end at the bottom. This might lose the cascade effect wanted, but might be more secure.

Thank you,
Sharon

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Good Morning Sharon

I’m afraid the link hasn’t, copied. There is a blank where it should be.

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That's odd. On my screen it's actually showing the pictures.

Here's the link again - perhaps you can copy and paster the text in inverted commas into your browser?
"https://www.pinterest.co.uk/sharonrmurray/cake-sketch/ "

If that doesn't work can you find me by going to Pinterest, searching for sharonrmurray and clicking on the album cake sketch?

Fingers crossed this works. I'm sorry it's causing so many problems.
Regards,
Sharon

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I can see it now on my computer but not on my phone. How strange that is!

Gosh, what beautiful flowers and so, it is no wonder you don't want to detract from the original design. I wouldn't turn the design facing down, it wouldn't look right. I think your idea:

"I did have an idea of adding s strong wire into the top, thin end of each bouquet, and using that to provide it with additional support," would work.

Is there any chance you could add support anywhere else? eg on the two roses on either side of the centre rose of each crescent. I have never made anything as elaborate, I'm guessing this is made on a florist form. If it is, perhaps there are other methods of adding support to the form at the thickest part of the bottom of each crescent. It would be more secure if the weight there can also be supported a little more. Royal icing can also be used as glue in other inconspicuous places. I definitely wouldn't like to lose the original flow.

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Thank you for your kind words re the flowers. I think you are right about the flow - turning one spray upside down would probably be ok, but it would change the look of the cake quite a lot I think.

The bouquets weren't made on a 'form' if by that you mean a pre-shaped form, but I guess the crescent shape is a typical florist's form. My mum was a florist in the 1950s and she taught me how to make bouquets. She also taught me how to make and decorate cakes. πŸ™‚

1: The central posy is actually made up of the centre open rose and the two pink peony type flowers at the back (which you can't see very well), plus a few filler flowers. The two less open roses in the centre of each bouquet are actually part of the spray, so the attaching 'handle' for each spray is directly behind each rose.

2: Given that, do you still think I should add more wires for extra support on each spray? Or would the main handle of each spray, being right behind the heaviest flowers be OK as their main support, with extra wires at each thin end for additional support (ie two attaching points, one at each end)?

3: It may be possible to take the centre posy apart completely and attach them as individual flowers (these bigger flowers are on longer, stronger wires away from the main body of the bouquet so they are easier to get to). I'm starting to think that would be a better idea than keeping them as one posy, as it would give me more scope for placing them to best advantage to hide the fact the bouquet is in separate parts.

I have to say madeitwithlove, being able to discuss this with you has greatly eased the panic I felt yesterday. My whole week next week is already blocked out for layering, and icing 6 cakes (4 tiers plus 2 cutting cakes) each made up of 3 layers. Now that I can see a way forward I feel a whole lot better, even if I have to work into the evenings on a couple of days to get it done. This cake has been a huge learning curve for me - coping with taller tiers, learning how to make and handle edible lace, and now attaching these bouquets to run down the side of the cake instead of just sitting on the top as I have done before. You have helped me with every one of these new-to-me stages and for that, I simply cannot thank you enough.

Many thanks and kindest regards,
Sharon

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PS - I don't know why those paragraphs above have numbers on them,

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Back again πŸ™‚

I hope you don't mind but I have edited each paragraph of your last answer numerically so it's easier to discuss each part without getting too lost πŸ™‚

Para1: Gives a better insight into the construction of the back of the bouquet.

As the attaching 'handle' for each spray is directly behind each rose, this leads me to believe there is sufficient support.

Para 2: Adding more wires for extra support on each spray can't hurt if it still keeps the back neat without adding bulk and more weight. A way of supporting the heaviest flower may be sufficient.

Para 3: Yes, that too is something to consider. Since you have the sprays in front of you, your own judgment will be clearer than mine. Also, you know the most weighty part of the construction which needs adjusting.

I will be most interested to know what you decide on. This has been an interesting and humbling learning curve for me too! Thank you for trusting my suggestions, as simple as they are. πŸ€—πŸ˜˜

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Simple they may have been - the best ideas usually are - but I don't know what I would have done without them, particularly as regards thinking about just seperating the bouquets into sections, and thinking about where best that could be done. I'd still be panicking and getting myself into a deeper mess probably.

Yes - I'll decide about the posy centres once I can see better what I am doing with the sprays. I'll definitely add at least one extra wire to the sprays - possibly two - each spray is 4-5 inches so again, I can make a judgement once they are separated and I can get an idea of their weight, and also the weight of the posies.

I will definitely let you know what I end up doing, and (fingers crossed) how well it worked out on the day. Thnk you once again for your invaluable help.

Kind regards,
Sharon

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You are most welcome Sharon. I will be thinking of you and wishing you the very best. Congratulations also, on your son’s up and coming nuptials.

Fingers tightly crossed fingers crossed πŸ€žπŸ€žπŸ€žπŸ™‚

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Good Morning Sharon

WoW!! Congratulations for having such a successful day. I am soooo pleased for you. You definitely deserve a good rest now after taking on all these challenges head on.

I will look at the pictures on Pinterest once I have access to my computer. Strangely, my phone doesn’t show the link, there is just a blank space as before.

A very big well done. It’s not easy to keep a level head when all the work falls on one person ...... but YOU DID IT πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ’–πŸ’•πŸ’–

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Finally, I am able to access my computer. Oh Wow, WoW, WoW Sharon!!! You truly did a magnificent job of your son's wedding cake. Many, many congratulations on all counts and thank you for taking the time to post the finished masterpiece. Have a good rest now, feet up, and a few glasses of your favourite tipple! XX

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Thank you for your kind words madeitwithlove. We are still celebrating the occasion with little gatherings each day. Today was lunch in a pub where I spent the afternoon drinking Pimms. So you see I am still taking your advice! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚