Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tutorial: Fondant Pohutukawa Cupcake Toppers...

I received an email from a reader last week who has been asked to make some Pohutukawa themed cupcakes for her friend's wedding.  She found a picture of the toppers I made last year for Master J's Kiwi Party, and wondered could I do a little how-to?

The Pohutukawa flower was one of three "Kiwiana" themed cupcakes I made for my son's 2nd birthday.

You may be asking, what is a Pohutukawa flower?  Well, it's the flower of the Pohutukawa tree, a native of New Zealand and it does this very special thing where it flowers right on Christmas.  

They are a coastline-hugging tree so in addition to being New Zealand's Own Christmas Tree, they are associated with many a happy summer memory, especially for me!

So, before I get too homesick, here is the tutorial for Donna, and for the several others who have asked.  Sorry it's taken so long!

So, to make a Pohutukawa Flower cupcake topper, you will need:

* A small amount of red fondant (or red gumpaste, if you want the topper to dry really hard)
* A small amount of sage green fondant (or gumpaste)
* A circle scone/ cookie cutter or object to cut around (mine was 7cm wide)
* Sharp knife
* Icing sugar (confectioner's sugar) for dusting your work surface
* Rolling pin

Nice to have, but not necessary:
* Small offset spatula
* Gum tragacanth or sugarcel (you can add this to the fondant so it will dry a little harder.  Refer to the instructions on the pot for how much to add etc).

Roll out your red fondant/ gumpaste to around 2-3mm thick and cut out a circle.

Cut in half again and put the other half aside (you can make two flowers from one circle).

Begin to make cuts all the way around your circle with your sharp knife, as shown.  Make some cuts most of the way to the base of the flower, and some more shallow.

Using your spatula, flip the flower over.  Put a small amount of cool, boiled water on the flower one one side of it's base as shown.

Fold over.  Gently separate the petals a bit.

To make the stem, roll out your sage green fondant.

Cut in half.

Brush on some water to the base of the flower with your finger as shown.

Place the fondant on the base of the flower.

Cut around the flower and cut out a stem.  You could cut out one or two leaves at this point and attach them with a little water, if you like.

If you would like your flower to dry with the top row of petals curling up slightly, use a small piece of cardboard folded in half to hold up the petals whilst they dry.

Note:  If you use fondant with no extra hardening additives used (gum tragacanth, or sugarcel), your flower may not dry hard and may not retain the curve of the upper petals.

Once dry, you can spray with edible shellac or glaze with an edible glaze (like gum arabic) for shine.

Store in an airtight container with a few rice grains to absorb any moisture.  These will keep this way for up to a month, so they can be made well in advance.


  1. Hi I really love the pohutakawa design you created. I also am an expat, US living now permanently in NZ and also studying baking at Manukau IT. I have a Christmas cake design assignment and was wondering if it would be OK if I copied your pohutakawa idea for a Happy Kiwi Christmas cake idea. Of course, I would give you full credit and send you a pic afterwards. my email is, to respond. Thanks!

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