Fondant Cake Toppers

Decorating By Mimibu Updated 9 May 2014 , 1:53pm by howsweet

Mimibu Posted 8 May 2014 , 1:37pm
post #1 of 13

My biggest fear when I first went into the business of cake decorating was making fondant toppers.  For one reason, I really suck at sculpting.  However, in this business you have to go in the direction the client takes you.  Most of my recent orders have involved (you guessed it) fondant figurines!   Facing this fear has forced me to spend untold amount of hours on the internet trying to learn as much as I can about the the topper I'm making for that project.    I see images of fondant figurines on the web and they always look clean and smooth while I sit there longing to be able to get that kind result.  Although, I believe I have improved--at least by my standards--I still face one challenge.   Whenever I roll the fondant into the shape I want and set it to dry (with lots of tylose) it ALWAYS settles!  I end up with a distorted shape even though I place it in a receptacle with a similar shape.  Then when I try to reshape it I get elephant skins or cracks.  I've used different fondants from very expensive to homemade, they all do the same thing.   How do I keep my original shape while the fondant is drying.  

12 replies
howsweet Posted 8 May 2014 , 2:28pm
post #2 of 13

A2 t tylose to one pound fondant, right? Do you live by the beach?

Mimibu Posted 8 May 2014 , 3:17pm
post #3 of 13

I think I used more than 2 t to about one cup! LOL  I live in NYC where the weather is different almost everyday.  Yesterday was dry, today is rainy.   But this happens regardless of the weather.  

howsweet Posted 8 May 2014 , 4:53pm
post #4 of 13

I'd need to see an example of what you're talking about to properly help. Things do have to be supported in certain ways. Some things are best not done all at once.  For example, if I'm making a person, I wait at least several hours before putting the head on.

 

Some fondants might be too soft to start out with and not be good candidates for this, not sure.

FlourPots Posted 8 May 2014 , 4:53pm
post #5 of 13

I used MMF+tylose exclusively until recently when I switched to straight Wilton for figures & accessory pieces (Thanks to Lesley Wright from The Royal Bakery)...NO tylose needed!

I only got to enjoy it for a few projects though, and now I can't find it anywhere, just the new stuff, which I've already read is too soft...
(I bought a box to experiment with)
The old version was absolutely perfect for modeling.


Anyway...
Whether I used Wilton or MMF+tylose, I always had some distortion, I just periodically went back to the piece and (carefully) re-shaped it....at a certain point it was firm enough to hold its shape....that always took place the same day I modeled it.
When I made a sitting bear, I had to lengthen his upper torso numerous times, his other (smaller) parts were fine and didn't need any help...
The larger the piece, the more attention it needs...that's been my experience with the 2 fondants I mentioned.


As far as cracking and elephant skin...
Don't use Satin Ice to model...I tried it once when it became available at Hobby Lobby but never, ever again.

For MMF+ tylose, try warming your fondant slightly before you begin...I actually bought a small microwave and rolling cart just for this purpose...
(I was thinking of giving it away, but I may be going back to MMF again!)
After warming, roll your fondant firmly into a ball, no matter the size, it could be tiny, like for an ear...

(Which you would roll with one finger in your palm)
Everything I make starts from a smooth, crack-free ball shape, even if I intend to then use a rolling pin to roll it flat for a template...

 

 

 

howsweet Posted 8 May 2014 , 5:05pm
post #6 of 13

Well, I've used satin ice with tylose exclusively for about 4 years and it works perfectly for me. Maybe you got a bad batch or didn't adjust your technique to a different medium. If you were used to working in straight fondant, that's a very different kind of thing.

 

That's good advice about starting from a ball.

FlourPots Posted 8 May 2014 , 5:41pm
post #7 of 13

I experimented with it...warming, not warming, tylose , no tylose, coloring etc.

The entire quantity was for me to play with and see if I liked it and could work with it...I couldn't.

Everything I did eventually led to dry elephant skin...
You don't ever get that? If so, do you have a remedy?

 

I had always read about that issue but wasn't sure if I actually knew what people were talking about...no one ever posted a picture...did it actually look like an elephant's skin??


Once I experimented, I was like ohhhhh now I know what they all meant.

howsweet Posted 8 May 2014 , 5:51pm
post #8 of 13

I think they are usually referring to covering cakes with Satin Ice. I assume when this happens they aren't working fast enough.

 

All I can think of is to knead it well first and make sure you store it properly. I find working in this medium a dream. I originally used true gum paste which I find to be much more difficult because it dries out really fast. Speaking of fast. I do work fast. Making fondant figures isn't fun for me - I just want to get them done.

FlourPots Posted 8 May 2014 , 6:02pm
post #9 of 13

LOL...I work like a turtle so it's great that I don't have customers...I'd be screwed!

 

Agree about gumpaste!

Mimibu Posted 9 May 2014 , 10:43am
post #10 of 13

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 
 

I'd need to see an example of what you're talking about to properly help. Things do have to be supported in certain ways. Some things are best not done all at once.  For example, if I'm making a person, I wait at least several hours before putting the head on.

 

Some fondants might be too soft to start out with and not be good candidates for this, not sure.

Thank you so much for replying.  I am currently making a horse, which has an inner fondant "muscular" structure all supported by toothpicks.  The body is filled in with fondant then attached to the legs on 4 skewers, which will go into the cake.  The problem is that I started with an egg shape for the belly and ended up with a distorted oval. I will make an egg shape and send before and after pictures.  

Mimibu Posted 9 May 2014 , 10:48am
post #11 of 13

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlourPots 
 

I used MMF+tylose exclusively until recently when I switched to straight Wilton for figures & accessory pieces (Thanks to Lesley Wright from The Royal Bakery)...NO tylose needed!

I only got to enjoy it for a few projects though, and now I can't find it anywhere, just the new stuff, which I've already read is too soft...
(I bought a box to experiment with)
The old version was absolutely perfect for modeling.


Anyway...
Whether I used Wilton or MMF+tylose, I always had some distortion, I just periodically went back to the piece and (carefully) re-shaped it....at a certain point it was firm enough to hold its shape....that always took place the same day I modeled it.
When I made a sitting bear, I had to lengthen his upper torso numerous times, his other (smaller) parts were fine and didn't need any help...
The larger the piece, the more attention it needs...that's been my experience with the 2 fondants I mentioned.


As far as cracking and elephant skin...
Don't use Satin Ice to model...I tried it once when it became available at Hobby Lobby but never, ever again.

For MMF+ tylose, try warming your fondant slightly before you begin...I actually bought a small microwave and rolling cart just for this purpose...
(I was thinking of giving it away, but I may be going back to MMF again!)
After warming, roll your fondant firmly into a ball, no matter the size, it could be tiny, like for an ear...

(Which you would roll with one finger in your palm)
Everything I make starts from a smooth, crack-free ball shape, even if I intend to then use a rolling pin to roll it flat for a template...

 

 

 

Thank you for all the helpful information.  I've used MMF, Satin Ice and most recently, Duff.  I agree with you on starting out with a crack-free ball to get a smoother shape.  It's always the drying process that distorts it, though.   I'm thinking of giving modeling chocolate a try.  Have you used it?

FlourPots Posted 9 May 2014 , 11:53am
post #12 of 13
I tried modeling chocolate once...it was a greasy mess, but that was very early on for me and I figured I had messed it up since I was so inexperienced....I never ruled it out though because I love the idea of using it for cupcake toppers specifically...
I think those should always be made with something tasty so people/kids could actually eat them if they wanted to...
 
Nowadays there's SO much more info about making it and working with it, I now know I totally overmixed it....
 
Here's the latest post & video that's got me all excited: http://www.mcgreevycakes.com/2014/05/06/3564/
 
She posted stuff there I hadn't heard anywhere else...like, no wait time for figures, so sagging, etc., and she uses Mercken's melts, which I like the taste of.
howsweet Posted 9 May 2014 , 1:53pm
post #13 of 13

AIf you like to work slowly and don't live somewhere really hot, you may prefer MC.

Some things have to dry in a position where gravity won't effect the shape for a day or so before standing up onto legs, for example.

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