Gerbera Daisy Cake
Pink gerbera daisies are the inspiration for this lively cake. The flowers are piped in royal icing; a single plump icing daisy serves as the topper. The royal-icing daisies can be made up to three weeks in advance. Since they are very fragile, be sure to store them in a secure place where they are not likely to be jostled, and attach them to the cake only after it has been moved to the reception site.
- 2 recipes Royal Icing Recipe
- One 1-ounce container each food color paste: egg yellow, ivory, creamy peach, pink, and orange
- 8 ounces white sanding sugar
- Cornstarch for rolling
- 15 pounds rolled fondant
- One each 4-inch, 8-inch, 12-inch, and 16-inch square tiers, corners trimmed by about 3 inches, each set on corresponding-size foam board, trimmed, split and filled to a 4-inch height
- One 20-by-1/2-inch-thick square cake board, painted white
- Eighteen 4 1/8-inch-long 1/4-inch wooden dowels
- Fondant amounts (approximate): For the 4-inch tier, 2 pounds; 8-inch tier, 2 1/2 pounds; 12-inch tier, 4 pounds; 16-inch tier, 6 1/2 pounds
Pipe petals: Divide 1 1/2 recipes royal icing among four containers; reserve remaining untinted 1/2 recipe. Tint each container a different color for the petals. Line flower formers with waxed paper, and tape to secure. Fit a 12-inch pastry bag with a coupler and Ateco #10 round tip; fill halfway with one of the tinted icings. Onto three largest formers, pipe 1-inch-long petals; pipe as many as will fit. Switch to an Ateco #8 round tip; pipe 3/4 inch- long petals on three medium-size formers. Switch to an Ateco #6 round tip; pipe 1/2-inch-long petals on three smallest formers. Set aside to dry, about 1 hour. Carefully remove petals from waxed paper, and place on sheet pan. Repeat with remaining three containers of tinted icings. You will need to make enough petals for 40 to 50 daisies; each daisy should have about 14 petals.
Assemble daisies: Remove petals from sheet pans, keeping them separated according to color and size. Line sheet pans with waxed paper, and tape to secure. Fit a 12-inch pastry bag with a coupler and #8 round tip; fill halfway with a different color from the petals for the centers. Pipe a small button (about 1/4 to 1/3 inch in diameter) onto waxed paper; quickly attach petals to the outer edges. Immediately sprinkle sanding sugar over the center, and let dry. (If sanding sugar doesn't stick, brush the center with thinned egg white, and sprinkle again.) Repeat with remaining petals; leave on lined sheet pans until ready to use.
Cover tiers: On a clean work surface lightly dusted with cornstarch, roll enough fondant to cover respective tiers (work with one tier at a time) into a large disk about 1/8-inch thick. Working quickly, lift fondant, center it over tier, and gently lay it on cake. Starting from the center, smooth it onto cake with your hands. Neatly trim excess from bottom edges using a pizza wheel. (Excess may be reused if it is free of crumbs, filling, or icing.) Covered tiers do not need to be refrigerated unless filling must be chilled.
Stack tiers: Smear 2 tablespoons reserved royal icing on cake board; center and place 16-inch tier on top. Insert eight dowels in a square 4 inches from the edge. Smear 1 tablespoon icing on tier; center and place 12-inch tier on top. Insert six dowels in a circle 4 inches from edge. Smear 1 tablespoon icing on tier; center and place 8-inch tier on top. Insert remaining four dowels in a 1 1/2-inch square. Smear 1 tablespoon icing on tier; center and place smallest tier on top.
Pipe borders: Fit a 12-inch pastry bag with Ateco #4 round tip. Fill halfway with remaining untinted royal icing; pipe dots around bottom edges of tiers.
Decorate cake: At reception site, fit a 12-inch pastry bag with a #6 tip, and fill halfway with one of the palest icings. Using an offset spatula or artist's palette knife, carefully remove daisies from the waxed paper. Pipe a small amount of royal icing onto the back of each; attach to cake. Select one daisy large enough to almost cover the entire top tier, and attach.