Tuesday 21st July 2015
At some point most cake makers will want to try and create a cake topper figure that is based on a person. It could be a personalised topper to resemble the recipient of the cake, one modelled on a cartoon character for a child’s birthday cake or simply a generic person to go with a themed cake. The subject doesn’t matter, modelling people is a skill that every sugarcrafter should have.
We’ve got an in depth guide to making a fondant person from Terry Tang Designer Cakes which will help you with the creation of a figurine. But we wanted to share with you some tips to make the process a little easier.
This may sound silly, but for beginners it can be a really good idea to actually sketch out what you want your fondant person to look like. You don’t need to be a great artist, nobody will see this but you, but having some kid of guide in place will help you stay on track.
Block out the major shapes: is the torso rectangular, cylindrical, pear shaped? Are the legs stout or slender? Then mark in the details like the facial expression and things like buttons on clothes and so on.
Also, before you begin make sure you have everything you’ll need. You don’t want to have to stop during the modelling, not only will you lose your flow but you’ll also run the risk of your icing drying out prematurely before the model is finished.
You can certainly make figures just from fondant icing, but sometimes for more intricate or larger models you may need a product that sets a little harder. One option is to mix together fondant and flower paste in a 50/50 mix. This makes the flower paste easier to work with and means that when the model sets it has a harder finish making it less prone to sagging. Alternatively you can make the figure entirely from flower paste, and with our new range of coloured flower paste you don’t need to worry about colouring paste by hand.
When you watch an experienced sugarcrafter on a tutorial video it can be tempting to think that modelling a person from icing is a 15-minute job. Don’t forget these people are working professionals who have probably spent hundreds of hours honing and refining their skill. And also, the figure they’re making in the video is not necessarily one they would put on a cake.
When it’s your turn, give yourself plenty of time. Take each step slowly and be prepared for mistakes that will slow you down and maybe even necessitate starting again. And when that happens, don’t get frustrated persevere with things.
If you’ve never modelled a person before, don’t wait until you’re putting the final touches to a cake to try. Have a couple of practices first in a situation where the final result really doesn’t matter.
You can work out any problems you have, whether that’s moulding certain shapes or body parts, or simply getting your icing to not tear or become too sticky to work with. Likewise if you always struggle to make a specific part look good, like a nose or hands, then spend some time making just these parts in isolation. Without the pressure to perform you can spend time purely focussing on technique.
We hope these tips help make modelling people less frustrating. Like any other skill it just comes down to practise, practise, practise. If you’re proud of a fondant icing figurine you’ve made then let us know on social media and share a picture.