Thursday, 10 November 2011

Flower School - A Celebration Cake Tutorial

Level                                                                                                    Beginner/Intermediate

The Lorraine Pascale inspired floral cake I made for Pure Enough was for a 1st Birthday, but this design could easily be adapted to make a wonderfully creative Christmas table decoration or even a dramatic alternative to a traditional wedding cake ... especially if a multitude of cupcakes and sweetie treats are on offer! Here's my first Campbell's Flower School tutorial:

You will need ...


.70 floristry wires
2 x 10" wet posy pads
Approx 45 x 14cm pre-cut cinnamon sticks
2 x large headed roses (I used Sweet Avalanche)
1 x stem of single Lisianthus
1 x stem of Stallion Chrysanthemum
bun moss (picked up from the pavement)
an assortment of different sized cones (collected on dog walks)
a variety of dried natural material such as birch balls, dried beech nuts etc


A glue gun and 2/3 glue sticks
A lazy Susan
Scissors and a knife

Here's how I did it ...

Make sure you have everything you need, especially that really large cup of tea and some groovy music.

Take two 10" posy pads and glue the base part of each one together.  I prefer to use a low-melt glue gun, I was taught to use low-melt glue at College because, although still very hot, it doesn't give you the terrible burns the high-melt glue can. After years of working in retail floristry, where they tend to use the hotter stuff, I have the scars to prove it!

Glue each cinnamon stick along the back, but not all the way to the top, leave about 2 cms at the top of the stick without glue - I'll show you why later!

Use the workbench top to make sure all the cinnamon sticks are straight and in alignment.  I wanted the sticks to look like the chocolate cigars in Lorraine Pascale's celebration cake so I made sure that the 'joins' in the sticks were visible at the front of the design. This also adds to a lovely texture and extra dimension to the design.

Continue around the whole of the cake, trying to keep the cinnamon sticks as upright as possible. I 'offered up' each one out to check the fit was as good as it could be, before applying the glue. Because the cinnamon sticks aren't dead straight, you will find some fit next to each other better than others. Save a really straight one to fill the last gap.

Next pin a ribbon around the cake. I chose a wide lacy neutral ribbon with a complimentary gold heart detail ribbon for a soft, vintage feel

I didn't realise that the glue would show over the top of the design - but hey, a day without learning etc....  And you won't make the same mistake!

Carefully soak the oasis, trying not to wet the cinnamon sticks

Cut a wire in half and bend it in half again and make three hair pins

Tape the hair pins onto your candle so that it is really secure when you place it into your foam.

Have all your flower materials ready to work with.

Secure your candle into the centre of the design and then create a strong placement of focal flowers.  Try to use opposite textures next to each other, which creates natural visual interest in the design - for instance, I've used the rough texture of the cone next to the velvety softness of the roses.

Build up the design making sure that the materials you use are of different sizes and placed in the foam at different heights, again this adds interest and makes sure that your completed work isn't all on 'one visual plane'. Working on a 'lazy Susan' helps as you can turn your design without having to keep picking it up and risk damaging it.

Fill in the tricky spots with something like sisal or more moss if you have it.  In order for the completed design to look well-made, its really important to make sure you hide all the floral foam.  I'm a bit of a stickler for the way a design is finished ... ask any of my past students!

To secure your cones into the foam, wrap a floristry wire around the cone tightly and twist the two ends into shape.  This is the easiest way to secure a cone.  There are other methods such as a 'double leg mount' and a gluing method, which I will show you soon on my wreath making tutorial.

Keep working into the design until it looks like a 'forest floor'

The completed design ... with candle

Or without ...

I hope you enjoy making this floral cake, please let me know how you get on, I'd love to have some feedback or see your photographs.  Alternatively, if you get stuck,  leave me a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.  Enjoy!

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