Looks like a painted dowel rod with a molded fondant/gumpaste ball top on it.
It looks like they used a dowel for the rod and gumpaste for the rest. They probably also put a dowel in the side of the cake. Then they but the handle and rounds things on the bottom onto the dowel that was in the cake. (In my world I'm making since! LOL ) Hope this helps!
seems to be the same concept that i did for the handles of my ships wheel cake..dowel rod with gumpaste formed on the end..let dry, and voila!
What about a pretzel rod.
Looks like a dowel to me.
I've used a stick of black licorice before for a handle. I was able to pierce a bamboo skewer through the hole of the licorice and easily pierce a gumball at the pointed end. The skewer at the other end was just long enough to stick into the cake.