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Here in Toronto, we’re in winter’s blustery grip and I have to say I’m pretty happy about it.

I love winter. Not as much as I love fall, but still, I love winter.

I’m a very good Canadian girl that way.

I do realize, however, that there are many of you out there who hate winter. While I do not understand your hatred of winter, it makes me sad that you’re in pain.

So I am bringing you flowers.

When it come to cake decoration, I have to say I just don’t go for it. I’ll take a simple buttercream over a blanket of fondant any day. And while I can admire the often mind-boggling achievements of cake decorators, I’ll be honest, nothing makes my heart go pitter patter more than a moist cake, simply frosted.

Having said that, I understand that sometimes life calls for a little pizazz. Case-in-point: last fall I was asked to bake cupcakes for a baby shower. The person throwing the party didn’t want to go for the “blue or pink thing”, but she did want pretty cupcakes.

While I am most often described as “the girl with two left hands” when it comes to cake decorating, one thing I do know is that if you can master at least one decorating trick, you’ve got it made.

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My trick is “flowers”.

A few years ago, I followed a very basic recipe on the Wilton site for Royal Icing. Using a piping bag and a pastry tip (all available at your local cake supply store), I have mastered the all-purpose “flower”.

I think the first time I tried to make flowers, this was the flower I was aiming for. And somehow it evolved into my all-purpose “flower”. You can use Royal Icing in lots of different colours and it still looks like … a flower. And when you put it on a cupcake or on cakes or on a pie or on a cookie, it looks … nice.

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Believe me when I say that if I can manage the dexterity it takes to put the icing in the bag, hold the tip up and pipe out some petals, then anyone can. And you don’t just have to make flowers. You can make all sorts of fun shapes!

So for all you folks “suffering” through winter, remember that the flowers are not far off.

Ciao!

The recipe for Wilton’s Royal Icing is here. This is a very versatile icing that you can use to make all sorts of decorations. It’s also great for gingerbread houses.

Wilton has a great section on decorating basics.

These are the instructions for a basic Swirl Drop Flower.

When I decide to make decorative flowers, I make up a batch of Royal Icing and make hundreds of flowers. Once dry, they last for months. I pipe them onto small pieces of waxed paper (I cut large sheets of waxed paper down) and then pipe one flower onto each piece of waxed paper. I store them in airtight containers.