The amounts given are for a 5 inch tall palm tree (height of the tree trunk).
- Non-stick modelling board with grooves (I used a CelCakes board)
- Dresden tool
- Foam pad
- Mini palette knife tool
- Wires: #26 x 8 (about 10 cm long pieces)
- Wooden skewer (bbq stick)
- Dusting brushes (medium round, medium flat)
- Flower paste (gum paste):
green - 25 g
brown - 26 g
- Sugarpaste (fondant): 1 g leftovers from covering the cake
- Edible glue
- Dusts: green, brown
- White vegetable fat (to grease the grooves of the board)
Grease the grooves of the non-stick modelling board with white vegetable fat.
Take 3 g of green flower paste and press it to the board as shown in the photo.
Roll out the paste to about 1-1.5 mm. The leaves shouldn't be thick, otherwise they will be very heavy.
Peel the paste off the board without stretching it.
Place the rolled out flower paste on the board so that the ridge is facing up. You will want the ridge to be reaching to about half length of the leaf.
Use a cutter or a template to cut out the shape of the leaf.
Apply a small amount of glue (or egg whites) on the wire (I used about 10 cm long #26 wires). Take the excess off with your fingers. Note that if you make the leaves thicker than 1-1.5 mm you will need thicker wires (lower #).
Insert the wire into the ridge. Hold the leaf from both sides with your fingers as if you were trying to hold the tip of the wire which is inside the ridge.
Move your fingers along the ridge with the moving inwards tip of the wire. Insert the wire to 1/3 of the length of the leaf (not all the way to the end of the ridge).
If the wire pokes through the flower paste, place the leaf on the board and pinch with your fingers to stick the paste together again.
Flatten the ridge gently to make it less visible and to secure the wire better.
Pinch the base of the leaf gently to secure the wire. Take any excess off if there’s need.
Place the leaf on a foam pad (ridge facing downwards) and use the edge of the rolling pin to thin the edges of the leaf and to frill them a little bit.
Use the fine side of the dresden tool to indent a centre line and marks running from the centre outwards as shown in the photo.
Next use the fine side of the dresden tool to frill the edges by pressing and moving the tool from the edge towards the centre line (the leaf is still on the foam pad). Don't press too hard - you don't want to cut the leaf.
Flip the leaf upside down (ridge facing upwards), place your thumb as shown in the photo and bend the wire gently.
Place the leaf on a leaf drying foam pad or on a regular foam pad in a slightly curved position as shown in the photo. They should hold the shape by now, but if they are floppy you can support them with pieces of paper towel. Make 5 more leaves the same way (+1 or 2 spare ones just in case you need them).
Leave the leaves to dry. Keep on checking them from time to time if they are firm. I left them to dry for about 1-2h but it might take longer for yours to dry depending on the humidity.
When the leaves dry out completely dust the edges with green dust. Move the brush from the edges inwards.
Prepare a piece of florist tape by stretching it and warming it a bit with your fingers (it will become sticky).
Bunch the leaves up so they are spaced out nicely.
Take the florist tape and start wrapping it tightly around the wires starting from the top. Go all the way down. Rip the excess of the florist tape off.
Put the palm leaves aside for a while (insert in a dummy).
Roll a 26 g ball of brown flower paste and form a tapering slightly towards one end sausage.
I made the tree trunk same length as the depth of my cake (5 inch). Make shallow lines using a mini pallete knife tool. Press gently and roll. Be careful not to cut in too deep - you don’t want the trunk to break in half.
Use a wooden skewer (bbq stick) to make a hole in the trunk. Apply a small amount of glue on the florist tape and push the wires in the previously created hole. Be careful not to squish the trunk and break the leaves (hold the bunch by the top part of the wire).
Use pliers to push the wire further in (you don’t want the wires to stick out). Put the palm tree away for a moment - place it f.ex. on crumpled paper towels.
If want the palm tree to go on the cake (instead of being attached to the side of the cake) you will need to insert a wooden skewer (bbq stick) from the bottom of the trunk. Apply some glue on the stick. It should go inside the trunk to at least about 2/3 of the length and stick out so that you can trim it to the depth of the cake later. If the stick reaches the bottom of the cake (board) it will support the tree - it won't sink into the cake and won't lean to the sides. If you are planning to put the palm tree in the cake, the tree trunk needs to be dry (very firm). Remember that the tree can't be very big compared to the size of the cake, otherwise it might rip through the cake.
Roll a 2-3 mm wide sausage of sugarpaste* (fondant; leftovers from covering the cake).
Stick it to the side of the cake where you want the palm tree to go. Flatten the sausage slightly. Apply a small amount of glue on the sausage and press the tree trunk to the flattened sausage. Hold it for a short while until you feel that it holds by itself. If you are worried that the tree trunk might fall off, support it by placing something heavy near the board and pushing some paper towels between the palm tree and that heavy item. Spread the leaves nicely. If they stick out of the board a little, don’t worry - since they are on wires you’ll be able to bend them slightly before placing in a box (or place the cake in the box so that the palm tree is in the corner).
*You can add some flower paste (gum paste) to the sugarpaste (fondant) to make the paste stronger.
Dust the palm trunk lines with brown dust. To keep the board clean cover it with a piece of paper towel as shown in the photo.
This is the view from the top :)
If you want to learn how to make the Pirate Ship and the Pirate Cake Topper, you'll find both tutorials in my Etsy Shop :) - https://www.etsy.com/shop/CrumbAvenue