if you're anything like me, your cakes don't look exactly like those on tv. ok, nothing like those. when zhara turned two and asked for a spongebob cake i wanted to try a 3D thing, with figurines made out of fondant and all that glee, but what resulted was a flat sheet cake, covered in fondant, made into spongebob's face, with only his nose sticking up. i'm not saying candied rose petals would help us out of that lurch, but: those of you whose daughters are into the whole princess scene, you're golden. you can just smear pink frosting on a yellow cake, scatter a few of these, and done. high tea fancy.
you won't believe how easy it is. i always imagined making candied roses or violets is some painstaking horror trial. all you need is patience. the smaller the flower, the more patience you need. large petals are a breeze, but i wouldn't want them on a cupcake. smaller petals are required for such treats.
anyhoo, the process is the same no matter what type of flower you're setting out to crystallize. all you need is an egg white, some caster sugar, a pinch of food coloring and a small paint brush. you want to color the caster sugar to match as closely as possible the color of the flowers. you could use white sugar, but the finished petal will not look quite as pretty. beat the egg white a few times with a fork. you don't want foam. you just want the albumen to relax a bit. older eggs work better than very fresh ones. then you brush each petal with a very thin layer or egg white, and you dredge through the sugar, taking care to shake off any excess. lay the petals to dry on waxed paper. turn them a few times in the first three hours to ensure even drying on both sides. leave to dry for a couple days. keep air-tight forever. or until princess cakes are needed.