How to Make a Gum Paste Stargazer Lily

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Working with gum paste is a central skill to cake decoration and other edible art forms. Mixing gum paste from scratch, like making fondant and icing, is a skill that takes years to master and minutes to mess up. Make it easier on yourself by using a pre-made gum paste from a reputable baking supply store. Don't forget to check the expiration date before you open the package. While shopping, pick up colored gum paste powder and icing coloring. You'll need it to decorate your stargazer lilies to make them look more realistic.

Lightly dust all surfaces and tools with cornstarch to prevent sticking. Reapply cornstarch as needed throughout the process.

Roll the gum paste out on a foam sheet until it is about 1/16 inch thick.

Cut 12 ovals 2 inches long and 1 1/2 inch wide. Lay three petals of each size on the foam mat. Place a 6-inch length of wire on the middle of the petal, where the center vein would be. Sandwich the wire with a second petal of the same size. Trim the edges of each petal so one point is slightly narrower than the other.

Roll the petals to 1/16 inch thickness. Trim the petals so three are approximately 3 inches long and 1 1/2 inch wide, and three of the petals are 3 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Use a ball shaper to thin the edges of the petals. Hold the ball shaper at a 45-degree angle and rock it slowly outward from center to edge; as the gum paste thins it will naturally ruffle. Place each petal into a veiner to add texture. Or use a paring knife to etch small vein lines into the gum paste.

Gently lay the petals over a rolling pin, bowl, bottle or petal shaper so they dry curved.

Make the stamens by rolling gum paste into a long thin snake, no more than 1/8 inch thick. Cut five or six 1/8-inch lengths of the gum paste. Cut the same number of pieces of wire, 4 inches long. Place a small amount of frosting or gum paste adhesive on the top of the wire. Gently taper the ends of each piece of gum paste, rolling it so that they are each 1/3 inch long and ovular with rounded ends. Use the knife to draw a straight line down the center of each piece. Stick the gum paste pieces on the ends of the wire so that they form a "T."

Make the pistils by cutting a length of wire 5 inches long. Roll a ball of gum paste 1/4 inch in diameter. Place the ball on the tip of the wire. Use the paring knife to draw lines on the gum paste from the center to the edge, trisecting the ball.

Dry all components overnight. Insert the stamens and pistils into a foam block so that they dry upright.

Color the pieces with gum paste powder and an artist's brush. Apply a streak of pink to the center of each petal, over the vein. Blend the pink outward until it fades to white. Add a thin, bright green triangle to the center of each petal. Ensure the green triangle covers one quarter to one third of the length of the petal. Dust each stamen with a brown or golden tone. Color the pistil white, purple, brown or green.

Use a toothpick to add spots using icing coloring. Break the tip of the toothpick to make jagged, uneven spots.

Bundle the stamen around the pistil. Tape or wire-wrap the bundle. Add the three wider, center petals to the bundle, evenly spaced. Apply another layer of tape. Add the narrower petals in the spaces between the center petals. Tape diagonally down the wire stems. Cut the stems to the desired length.

Trim a straw to the length of the stem from the base of the petals to the tip of the wire. Fill a straw with frosting or gum paste. Insert the stem of the flower into the straw. Wipe off any frosting that spills out. Leave it to dry overnight or until stiff, then insert into a cake or pastry.