I'm really new to cake decorating, and I was wondering if someone would answer a question for me. I've seen so many beautiful cakes on CC, and I love the ones with 3-D figures. However, I've noticed some decorators use gum paste, some fondant, and some both on the same cake. Is it just a personal preference? Is fondant better to use for certain figures? I'd appreciate any knowledge you could share.
I can offer some advise from what I know.
Gumpaste is preferred by a lot of people for flowers, but it does not have to be restricted to that. It dries very hard, and rather quickly.
Fondant dries hard also, but not as hard. It also dries slower than gumpaste, which can be helpful if you are just starting out.
A lot of people do a mixture of 50% of each to make it dry harder by a bit slower. I make a lot of figures, and I generally use fondant. I just forget that gumpaste needs to be made a day in advance, so that's why it ends up being all fondant in the end. LOL ...
But, I can tell you that a lot of times when I make all fondant figures (such as my Mario and Elmo), they end up cracking and sagging. I do believe that adding gumpaste or even gum tex should help with that problem. I am actually trying that out tonight on my daughter's cake for this weekend, so I can post my results later this week.
I'm sure many other people have their own preference, and can hopefully explain a little further. I hope this helped you some!
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Pipe-dreams. You have been really helpful. I think I'll start out using the fondant, then after some practice mix in a little gum paste. Good luck with your ratio experiments this week. I know the cake will turn out amazing. I love your cakes, especially the sleeping baby in the flower! Thanks again.
You can use either but because fondant dries slower your figures can sag. I like using fondant for 2d decorations that I add onat the last minute. It is also great for starting out because you have more "play" time. For 3d flowers gumpaste gives a more realistic look because you can roll the dough much thinner than you can fondant. To make 3d figures I personally think it's best to use a 50/50 mixture so you do have a little more play time or add tylose powder to the fondant (this is my preference). If you can't readily get tylose powder you can purchase gum-tex (Wilton makes it) and add it to the fondant instead. The gum-tex isn't white like tylose though (part of the reason I prefer the tylose).
Thank you for the wonderful tips, xstitcher! I'm going to look for the tylose powder. I can't wait to try it out!