I am very new to baking cakes (usually a pastry gal) but desperately want to make a fondant covered decorated cake for my daughter's first birthday and really liked the look of this hot air balloon one.
However, i was wondering how the pink ropes at the front stay rigid? What are they made from? Pastillage? Royal icing is surely an option but it's very brittle and this does not look brittle... plus I heard that royal icing can go soft in the fridge?
Would really appreciate some clarification on this. Oh and any general advice would be super helpful too!
I would either cover thin wire with fondant, or use an extruder with gumpaste. Good luck!
Gum paste and extruder
I would do the same, use gum paste and and extruder, if you have one. If not, you can roll it by hand. It may not be quite as even, but probably not even noticable. You need to let it dry for two or three days to insure it is rigid. Pastillage would be a perfect choice, but I would not make a batch just for those ropes. The dried gum paste will work fine. I would not refrigerate the cake with those ropes attached. If it needs refrigeration, wait until right before you serve it to apply the ropes to insure they do not wilt.
Before someone starts to shout at me that refrigeration does not hurt gum paste, take a good look at this fair entry which was refrigerated at night "to protect it".
I've done something similar but cant hunt down a photo on my phone, I used a clay extruder I got on amazon for under $10, pipped out long ribbons for side decorations. But I also roll out a thin long log of fondant, cut down the back of it, insert a thick floral wire then continue to roll the log against my board until the wire reaches the desired diameter and then cut off the excess and allow to dry. I only use the wire method on the two strings that have to remain suspended over the negative space, the lines attached to the cake are fine). I wold add those two after taking the cake out of the fridge for the final time.
Personally I would use bamboo skewers- colored or covered in fondant. If that board flexes at all, most gum paste or fondant will break.