I have to make a big bow for the top of a cake. I have seen both fondant and gumpaste used in tutorials. Is one really better than the other or is it just a personal preference?
Fondant is created to be a covering over cakes and to be soft enough to cut with a knife. Gumpaste is made to dry strong and hard specifically for bows and ribbons that cascade. Fondant can't be rolled terribly thin without adding CMC or Gum Tragicanth to it to make it workable, gumpaste can be put through the rollers of a pasta machine and can be rolled as thin as a piece of paper - making a more realistic bow. Fondant takes forever to dry hard and in humid weather acts as a sponge, soaking up water in the air and becoming soft again. Gumpaste won't soften.
For bows I would personally use gumpaste, because it hardens pretty fast and hard. Fondant is much softer and your bow might end up sagging and like the PP said, it does take forever to dry. Fondant works better for flat objects, cut outs, trim, and covering cakes, where I find gumpaste is better for 3d objects, figures, bows, flowers, etc... Hope that helps!
Approx how long would gumpaste take to dry? If I make a bow, would it be hard the next day?
I've found that gumpaste (depending on how thin you roll it) starts drying in mere minutes. I've produced many bows and stand-up toppers just hours before delivery. (not necessarily recommended, but it works in a pinch). Of course the more time you have, the harder it dries. I sometimes put it in the oven with just the light on to hurry things up as well.
I use gum paste for items that more than likely will not be eaten. It's edible but has a 'necco wafer' kind of taste. I love to make flowers with it because they dry so much lighter than fondant. And you can get it really thin without it tearing like fondant sometimes does.
Thank you so much for the info!
Oh...BTW...I wanted to tell you that the gum paste I use is the Wilton's pre-made gum paste in case you were interested. I've never made my own because I have such success with this.
I tried my hand at making gumpaste last night from the easy gumpaste recipe on this site. I was really concerned when I pretty much glued my hands to the counter I was working on but after a lot of kneading and extra sugar it came together. I'm going to play with it tonight to see how I like it. I'm glad I found this site!