(Extra time has been allotted due to the number of flowers needed.)
Make roses. Cut 20-gauge wires for roses: 25 pieces 6 in. long, 165 pieces 4 in. long.
Tint ready-to-use gum paste Christmas red/red-red combination. Use large rose cutter and instructions from gum paste flower cutter set to make roses as follows: Make 25 roses with two rows of petals on 6 in. wires. Make 145 roses with two rows of petals on 4 in. wires. Make 28 roses with three rows of petals on 4 in. wires. Reserve excess gum paste. Let all dry 24 to 48 hours on flower drying rack. Brush with red Color Dust. Wrap wires with florist tape. Keep out of direct light to prevent fading.
Make tendrils. Knead a small amount of shortening into gum paste to soften reserved red gum paste. Roll a small amount of gum paste into 1/8 in. logs. Cut into 60 tendrils, each 6 in. to 8 in. long. Roll ends between fingers to taper. Curve slightly and let dry 24 hours on cornstarch-dusted boards. Brush with red Color Dust.
2 DAYS IN ADVANCE
Prepare stand. Assemble 18 in. plate stand with feet from towering tiers set. Use pastry brush to brush plate with piping gel and cover with 36 oz. red fondant.
Bake and cool 6 in., 8 in., 10 in. and 14 in. round cakes.
6 in. and 10 in. cakes are 4 in. high (two layers, 2 in. high); 8 in. cake is 8 in. high (four layers, 2 in. high); 14 in. cake is 5 in. high (two layers, 2 1/2 in. high). Use cake corer to mark center of 14 in. cake circle; cut out center. Set all cakes on matching cake circles. Prepare buttercream following recipe directions; tint a portion Christmas red/red-red combination (for red). Reserve for decorating. Prepare and cover cakes with rolled fondant. Prepare for combined stacked construction for all cakes and towering tiers construction for 14 in. cake only, adding dowel rods to all cakes.
Assemble cakes. Position 14 in. cake on prepared stand using 41/4 in. center post. Stack 10 in. cake. Add two 8 in. cakes and 6 in. cake.
Decorate stacked 8 in. cake. On top 8 in. cake, use toothpick to mark a v-shape on front, with a 5 1/2 in. wide edge at top, angling to a point at seam between cakes. Use tip 3 and reserved red icing to outline v-shape. Use tip 2 to cover area outside of opening and cover bottom 8 in. cake completely with cornelli lace. Use tip 3 to pipe bead bottom borders on 6 in. and 8 in. cakes.
Cover seam between 8 in. cakes. Press red fondant in jewelry fondant & gum paste mold to make 12 mesh border strips. Use piping gel to attach strips end to end, making two rows side by side for wide bottom layer and one row around seam for top layer. Use piping gel dots to attach strips around cake overlaying center seam. Press red fondant in jewelry mold to make one brooch; attach. Brush brooch with red Sparkle Gel.
Decorate 6 in. cake. Group the 25 roses on 6 in. wires into rounded bouquet; wrap florist tape around wires to secure. Cut plastic dowel rod to 4 in. long. Push a small amount of fondant into top and insert rod into cake center. Insert bouquet and rearrange roses to cover top. Insert 10 tendrils.
Position remaining roses around bottom cake.Trim exposed wires. Use gum glue adhesive to attach roses beginning at the bottom and working up the sides. Attach larger roses on bottom row; continue adding remaining roses toward top. Insert remaining tendrils.
?The smallest tier is often saved for the first anniversary. The number of servings given does not include the smallest tier.
Individual hand-shaped petals are the secret to the incredible realism of Gum Paste Roses. Gum paste can be rolled very thin, yet hold its shape. As a result, your flowers will have texture and form that rivals nature.
The random lacy design of this free-form technique depends on the continuous curving lines that do not overlap or touch. Can be used in a small design area or on an entire cake surface. Good for wedding, anniversary and other formal event cakes, but lends itself to more casual themes, as well.