Violet Velvet & Fondant Flowers

This weekend I made a violet velvet cake for a friend of a friend’s bridal shower. What is a violet velvet cake, you ask? Well, it’s just like red velvet, only it’s purple.
Duh.
I wish I had a picture of the cake when it was cut, because it was this deep dark purple color alternating with stripes of cream cheese frosting. Alas. I DO have pictures of the outside to show you, though, full of violetty things, like flowers.


Close-up of the baby flowers along the bottom border:


And on top of the cake:

I thought it would be fun to do a little tutorial on how to make these flowers. It’s not rocket science but sometimes step-by-step photos make things a bit easier. Here we go!

Optimally, you will need:
*fondant (not pictured, because I forgot. Eh. Gumpaste also works)
*flower cutters
*veining tool (teal)
*bone tool (purple)
*foam
*teensy, tiny paint brush
*food coloring
*lots of time on your hands

Start by rolling your fondant out very thin, about 1/8 inch, and cut out your flowers. Don’t do all the fondant at once, because in the time it’ll take you to shape the flowers the fondant will be drying out, and the ones that you get to last might be too brittle. So do a handful at a time.

A word about fondant flowers: they’re definitely more delicate than gumpaste. But seriously, gumpaste tastes terrible, and it’s rock-hard. At least with fondant, if people want to eat it they can without losing a tooth or wanting to sandpaper their tongue. So for this cake, where I didn’t need the decorations to have any sort of long-term staying power, I went with fondant. But just be aware that they drying flowers will be more brittle and prone to breakage. Moving on!

Place the flower on the thin sheet of foam and press the veining tool in the center of the petal–this gives it a neat 3-D effect. The foam, quite honestly, is totally replaceable–you could use a soft cloth napkin of piece of felt. And I think the veining tool could be replaced by the thin edge of this handy orange peeler I have–seriously, the shape is very similar.

If you want to make curved flowers, move the flower to the thicker foam and press the bone tool in the middle, to create a cupped shape. Again, you can make substitutions: maybe a clean, soft sponge for the foam, and a pencil (eraser side) for the bone tool.

Now what you SHOULD do is transfer the curved flower to a curved flower mold to dry. But I don’t have one of those, so I’m going to make a substitution of my own: empty egg cartons! Works like a charm. You can even layer multiple flowers on top of each other so you can do much more than just 12 flowers at a time.

Once the flowers are dry (anywhere from several hours-overnight, depending on the moisture in the fondant, the thickness, the humidity level, etc) you can add some decorations. I took the world’s weensiest paintbrush (purchased from a craft store in the painting section) and dipped it in food coloring and painted some contrasting strokes inside the petals: purple on the white flowers, and white on the purple.

Did you know they make white food coloring? The world is an amazing place.

Finally, pipe a dot in the center of your flowers. Royal icing is a great idea here, I just used buttercream because it’s what I had on hand and I knew the cake would be eaten and the flowers disposed of in a short amount of time.

Voila! Do this about a million more times and you’ll have a nice collection of flowers! It is a bit time consuming, but it’s fairly mindless work, and I got all caught up on my Top Chef and Project Runway viewing when doing it. (Speaking of: how is it possible that Gretchen is going to the finals? Aaaaaahhhhh!)

The final step is to stick them on your cake. I usually like to pipe a few vines on before I stick my flowers down, just because they always look naked to me otherwise. Fondant tends to sweat when placed in the fridge–especially when placed on a soft, sticky, non-crusting frosting like cream cheese–so I wouldn’t chance putting a fully decorated cake in the fridge overnight. Too risky! I did almost everything the night before, and then just added the flowers in the morning before the party.

7 Responses to Violet Velvet & Fondant Flowers
  1. Beth says:

    Your flowers are absolutely adorable! She's so lucky to have a friend like you.
    I also wanted to let you know that I've nominated you for a blog award — check it out on my blog!

  2. Nichi says:

    Violet velvet cake!? I wish I could see the inside I bet its awesome. Love the flowers, very pretty.

  3. Jane says:

    Beautiful cake! I would love to see the inside of it. Was it more lavender inside, or full blown purple I'll bet the cake stole the show!

  4. Jodie says:

    Adorable! I love it.

  5. Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] says:

    Those flowers are gorgeous. I love the purple + white combination. I really wish I could see the inside though!

  6. Mica says:

    I really want to try making your violet velvet cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday (Amethyst is her birthstone). Did you start with a devils food cake? How much food colouring did you add? Is liquid or gel food colouring better?

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Mica,

      I used a recipe for red velvet cake, and substituted purple food coloring for the red coloring. The only tricky thing is to watch the amount of cocoa powder the recipe calls for–some call for quite a bit and will give the cake a light brown color, so when you add the purple coloring it gets quite dark. I recommend not using more than 1 or 2 tbsp for a 9″ cake, and if the recipe calls for more cocoa, substituting more flour instead. [Honestly, though, you could even just make a white or yellow cake and dye it purple. That would work fine! For this party the guest of honor loved the flavor of red velvet cake, so that's why I went this direction.]

      Definitely use gel coloring–it’s much stronger and will give you a better color without adding too much liquid and changing your cake formula. Michael’s sells Wilton gel colors, which are fine, but my favorite brand is Americolor. I don’t remember how much I added, but the good thing is you can add it at the end and keep adding until you get a color you like.

      Good luck, hope it turns out well!

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