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I've recently started making sugarpaste cake toppers and all my blogging friends and friends in real life are going ga-ga over my creations, even though they are pretty simple to make. When I tell people that, no one believes me, so this is my opportunity to prove to you that YOU can make simple and adorable cake toppers just as easily as I can. Just for you readers of The Spring Mount 6 Pack, I decided to do a cow couple cake topper tutorial for you, so let's get started!
I was at a loss as to what to make when Debi asked me for a sugarpaste tutorial, and I wasted a lot of time on Google and Pinterest looking for ideas - but fell in love when I saw the farm animals - because they are simple enough to prove my point that you all can do sugarpaste toppers, but complicated enough that they look impressive...and they're absolutely adorable...especially these cows that I used as inspiration:
So a few things to keep in mind when you're doing sugarcraft:
1) Yes there are fancy food-safe chemicals etc that you can use, but for simplicity sake and for your budget's sake, I used premade fondant (rolled icing for you Brits) in this tutorial
2) I did use a few of my tools but will let you know what you can substitute to use instead if you don't want to purchase the tools.
3) The most important things when sugarcrafting is patience (as in you have to have patience) and time (as in you can't usually rush these things - although I did rush this a bit for this blog - just do as I say and not as I do....).
4) Long nails and nail polish are not conducive to sugarcrafting (so do as I say and not as I do..yet again)
5) I used water as "glue" for this model.
Cow Couple Cake Topper Tutorial.
Ingredients and Materials:
+/- 250 g white fondant (rolled icing)
pink gel food colouring for colouring a little bit of the white fondant
black gel food colouring for colouring a little bit of the white fondant and painting on eyes.
Icing sugar or cornstarch for dusting
A small bowl of water and a paint brush
A clean (foodsafe) Xacto knife or a small paring knife
A cutting mat or a clean countertop
small rolling pin or a clean, smooth, straight glass
Sugarcraft modelling tools that I strongly recommend you get for these and other sugarcraft:
This is a sugarcraft ball tool. It's one tool with two different ends, shaped like a ball and is insanely useful. Alternatively you can use a cotton swab like a Q-tip or your finger, but you will not get the exact results as you do from this tool.
This sugarcraft tool is also insanely useful, and unfortunately I don't know what it is called - but look for these two heads - sometimes they are on the same tool with different heads, like a stitching tool, so you may need to buy two to get both heads. Otherwise, they are also found in 8 packs of various sugarcraft tools. You can use a knife or your fingers, but they are both more bulky and clumsy than this tool.
So the first thing to do is split your ball of fondant in half - and use a half for each cow. I also like to lay out approximate pieces/sizes on my board just so that I get an idea of how much sugarpaste I'll need for each part of the cow. Now, this is not a realistic cow (obviously) so I'm making it "humanoid-ish" - so you need a body, two arms, two legs and a head (which in itself will have a snout, two ears and two little horn nubby things...among other things if you add them).
The next thing to do is shape the body - now it's important to remember that when you're shaping the body and working on the rest of it, it will slump a bit, so make the body a bit taller and thinner than you actually want it and shape a little neck - even though you won't really see it in the final structure. You're making your body into a pear shape, then "flattening" out the back with your hand to make a distinctive front and back. This will also force your figure to have a little belly which is always adorable on these types of toppers!
Stick a toothpick into the neck carefully (as shown) to ensure a little extra stability for your head, once you put it on. If you wish, use a wooden BBQ skewer all the way through the body to ensure it stays upright the way you want it to.
The next part is to roll the sugarpaste heads into a ball and then pinch the top to flatten it slightly and bend it into an "L-shape" to create the top of the head and the snout part, all in one. I then rolled a small amount of pink coloured fondant (which you make by kneading a little bit of white fondant with a touch of pink colouring between your fingers or on the countertop) flat and cut an oval out of it. Brushing the area of the snout with a little water (just enough to make it damp and sticky), I applied the oval onto the snout and smoothed the edges until I got the nose area covered in pink. I did have to trim a bit to make sure it was the right shape.
Then I took the ball tool and poked two holes near the center of the snout for nostrils. Make these as large as you care to - I didn't decide to add a mouth till later, but this would be the time to use your knife to slice a little smile, or your ball tool to make a little hole for a cute little "O" smile. If you do it later, it will be messier because the fondant would have formed a skin (mine ended up being messier than I like).
I checked my model against my inspiration photos to make sure I was on track - always do this, especially when doing a figure that is recognisable (like any of your children's favourite characters). It just shows you when you're going wrong and gives you a little bit of a chance to easily fix it there and then, rather than waiting till you've finished your entire model and then realising that your entire head shape is wrong or something....save yourself the frustration.
Next I added the ears - I flattened two small white circles and then flattened two smaller pink circles upon them, then I trimmed the ends, put a little water on the sides of the head where I wanted the ears and just stuck them on. I had to smooth the front of the ears a bit with my tool to make sure they stay on - sometimes these little finicky parts tend to fall off. Of course there are always other types of ears you can make too - you can cut those circles in half, you can squeeze the bottom of the circle to give it a little shape, you can squeeze both the top and the bottom to give it yet another shape...ears are easy...just try to get two that are the same or at least look similar to put them on the same model!!!
Then add the little nubby horns by taking a small piece of white fondant, roll it and cut little bits off. Stick it to the head of your model with a tiny bit of water. These tend to be finicky, so if you are having difficulty, try to put a small piece of a toothpick into the head where you want the horns, wet the edges and stick the horns on top of them. That will help to keep the horns in place and will help you to stay sane if they keep sticking to your fingers or keep falling off.
The last thing I did to the head was to take my ball tool and make a little indent on the bottom. This will help when putting the head on the model - make sure this indent will be in line with the taller part of the head, and stick a toothpick up into the hole. This is where the neck will fit into the head.
IDEALLY - this is when you leave it alone overnight (or until it's all firmed up and hard) to dry - but of course, I didn't because I was trying to get photos for you guys 😛 (all together now - do as I say and not as I do...)
My next step should have been to put on the black bits for the jersey cow look - because it's easier to do this on the body rather than add the arms and legs and then add the black bits. But we'll pretend that I did it in the right order. Take some of the black fondant (that you made with the black gel and the fondant. Black takes a long time to reach from white fondant, so you will need a considerable amount of the gel colour, and you will need to let it "rest" for a while, so that it becomes less sticky after you knead it in) and roll it out flat. Then rip pieces of random sizes and apply them where-ever your heart desires. When you're done, WASH AND DRY YOUR HANDS, unless you want black on your white where you don't mean for it to be.
Then form the legs and arms. They are basically tubes with a thicker end...so take your fondant and roll a sausage with a thick end and a thinner end.
Always check to see that it is looking the way you want it to, and is the size you want it - otherwise take off or add in fondant to make it the right size...or keep manipulating it into the correct shape.
You need the little hoof mark, so using your shaping tool, make a little mark at the top to show the split area of the hoof....
Put water on the areas of the body that the arms will be touching. I like to balance the arms on the bellies of the figures because I can add them pretty much immediately. If you want them in different positions, you will have to make them in the position you want, wait till they harden so that you can add them on later and they will support themselves. You can also reinforce them with toothpicks again. I didn't need to for these figurines...so I just painted a little water on the body and stuck the arms and legs onto the bodies, making sure that while I'm pressing it on, I did not make them so flat that they lose their roundness.
I then added the black and/or pink hoof pieces by making a small, circular flat disk and indenting it with my tool to make a shape similar to a heart and, using a little water, I stuck them onto the bottom of the little hooves.
Then I painted the neck and the toothpick coming out of the neck, and attached the heads. I took my Americolour food colouring markers and drew on curvy eyelashes for the girl, and two circular eyes for the boy. For you, I would tell you to take a thin paintbrush, or a toothpick and using your black food colouring, just draw them on. If it's too thick, you can dilute it slightly with water (although diluting with lemon extract or vodka is preferable) and it paints on more nicely.
I wanted to differentiate between the girl cow and the boy cow, so I drew on a little black moustache for the boy and wanted to add a flower (easiest way to make a "girl" anything). It's really convenient to do play with sugarpaste often because all your left over colours do come in handy!! So, to create a simple little flower in her hair, I took a toothpick, added a little yellow center and built the petals around the yellow by making a circular disk and pushing it up the toothpick and wrapping it around the yellow part.
Then I took it off of the toothpick, wet the area on the girl cow's head that I wanted to add the flower and stuck it on. I thought it looked lonely, so I added a little blob of green (again, my leftovers) to make a little leaf, and tah dah, my girl cow had a pretty little flower clipped into her hair.
I love them! So much that I put them next to my other recent favourite, my realistic looking unicorn.....they're hanging out together now 🙂
Hopefully this proved to you that you can make these figures easily and quite cheaply, once you have patience and a little time. This would be a great topper for a birthday or even a wedding or anniversary cake! You may have noticed I said I chose to, I found etc. during this tutorial, that's cause it's all really up to you - the type of figurine you're doing, the decoration on it, the expressions etc...if they are wearing clothes or not....it's all up to you and your imagination - and the only thing keeping you back is your fear of failure - which I've just alleviated because it's so easy, right?
Feel free to ask me any questions - this tutorial seems straightforward to me, but you may have questions and I'm really willing to answer them. Also, please do visit and like my new business, The Baking Bug Ltd on Facebook to see my other creations and to order any allergy free baked goods or cake toppers for your next celebration! I'd love to see your creations too, though, so please do send me a photo when you're done!
How easy was that?!
Serena is a 30-something, PR-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, “smug-married”, baby-wanting, self-proclaimed people-watching allergy-queen just trying to navigate this obstacle course called life. Her blog, Bewildered Bug, is her attempt to relay her everyday experiences as someone who is not yet a Mom, but no longer a party girl. Feel free to contact her there, on Facebook or on Twitter.
You'll also find her giving relationship advice at Singles Warehouse and baking allergy free celebration cakes and playing with sugarpaste at The Baking Bug. If you want to order an allergy free celebration cake or a sugarpaste cake topper, please feel free to contact her at serena(AT)bewilderedbug.com