What should a person use gumpaste for? I hear about cake decorations being fondant AND gumpaste, but do not know what is used for what. They both look the same to me.
I want to do a buttercream cake with a person's name on the side of one of the tiers, cut out with cookie cutter letters. Would I use fondant for that or gumpaste?
Generally if you see figures, bows, and things that need to dry hard, it's gumpaste or 50/50 gumpaste/fondant.
For what you want to do, personally, I would use fondant.
fondant takes ages to dry and is fragile, gumpaste dries very quickly, and very strong, and although is technically edible, a lot of people dont enjoy it - too hard.
so use gumpaste for decorations you want sturdy, like tiaras or figures, or to get realistic flowers. fondant is really for attatching to cakes, you can model with it as well.
i would say do your letters in fondant. as you get used to working with both of them, you will learn which to use for what purpose. a lot of people use a 50/50 mx for some things, but i cant get to grips with that, and would use one or the other.