Marzipan Fruits and Vegetables
Follow the instructions on these pages to create fruits and vegetables to cover your garden cake.
Tools and Materials
The tools used to create the garden vegetables include a utility knife, a toothpick, a skewer, and a dusting brush. Texture and veining are added with tools similar to those used by ceramists.
This shade of orange is made by combining orange, tulip-red, and a touch of nut-brown paste food colors. The tapered root is rolled out by hand from a pea-size ball of marzipan to the desired length.
A utility knife is used to etch small grooves along the surface in imitation of the irregularities found in homegrown varieties. The fern-leafed carrot top is cut from a rolled-out sphere of green marzipan, then inserted into a toothpick hole (the moisture of the marzipan should hold top in).
Watermelon rind is distinctive for its alternating streaks of glossy dark and pale greens, which are achieved by working ropes of pale green into a dark green ball. The trick is to combine the two colors without muddying them, so use a light touch. To create the coiling watermelon vines, slender ropes of leaf-green marzipan are wrapped around a skewer that has been dusted with cornstarch to prevent sticking.
Follow the same procedure to create the green marbleized watermelon rind. Using a paring knife, cut green watermelon in half. Using your fingertips, create bowl-like shapes from each half.
Make pink marzipan with a touch of rose pink and tulip red. Shape into a ball. Place the ball into one of the green "bowls" and top with remaining "bowl."
Roll to adhere and shape into oval watermelons. Using a paring knife, cut the watermelon in a zigzag fashion so that it will appear as if it has been split. Using tweezers, place black sesame seeds on the pink marzipan to simulate watermelon seeds.
Radishes are made from marzipan colored with Christmas red, deep pink, and just a bit of violet. They are pinched and pulled while turning to achieve the desired shape, with a pointed root end, then topped with a single leaf.
The green is a mixture of leaf green with a touch of yellow and nut brown. A hint of brown marzipan is worked in to create the artichoke's marbled appearance. The stem and globe are rolled and shaped by hand; the leaves are cut with scissors.
Rhubarb starts from marzipan mixed with tulip red and a dab of violet. Roll into strings; flatten with your fingertips. Shape stalks by pressing strips around a skewer brushed with cornstarch. Adhere a leaf or two to the top of each stalk (if marzipan isn't moist enough, apply a tiny bit of water with a paintbrush).
For the cauliflower, color marzipan with white, mixed with a touch of yellow and nut brown. Roll into tiny balls for florets; press them into the top of a pea-size ball of the same color. For leaves, roll and press small balls of marzipan colored with leaf green, white, and nut brown into a circle; add veins with leaf veiner. Place four leaves around ball. Bend leaves.
The yellow and red tomatoes use two batches of marzipan; one colored with tulip red, orange, and yellow, the other with yellow and orange. With a toothpick, mark grooves along top of each tomato. Make leaves from leaf-green marzipan, using a plastic petal cutter. Thin tips with a plastic ball tool; adhere tops using a fluted/plain arrow tool. Pinch petals so they won't lie flat.
Make cabbages from marbled green leaves. Mix two batches of marzipan: a blend of green, yellow, and white; and just white. Roll batches into strings; press strings together to make one fat string. Fold it in half; roll out again. Repeat until you get desired marbled effect, flatten into leaf, and add veins with leaf veiner. Use the same process for radicchio, with a batch of white marzipan and one colored with Christmas red and violet.