Gum Paste Wedding Cake Toppers

Image courtesy of Karen Chong, Mad Baker on Flickr.

A gum paste wedding cake topper can make a fantastic finishing piece on a cake of any size. Gum paste is edible modeling clay made of sugar, water, a sticky and elastic gum, and sometimes egg whites, gelatin, and other ingredients. It dries hard and is one of the most versatile tools in any cake decorator's arsenal. If you're interested in playing with some on your own before you commission a decorator to make you an expensive topper, some decorating specialty stores sell pre-made gum paste in tubs or sheets or ready-to-mix powder that you can combine with water to make your own paste. Gum paste is slightly different from fondant, which is usually not rolled as thinly and may not be as durable.

Wedding Cake Toppers Made of Gum Paste

Gum paste can be, and often is, used in all of the same ways as fondant. The difference is that because of its extreme pliability and versatility, experienced decorators can use gum paste to make more intricate decorations and models. For example, if real flowers and gum paste flowers are placed side by side, you may not even be able to tell which are faux and which ones are not, if they were crafted in the hands of a professional high-end decorator.

It's also important to know that gum paste doesn't taste very good to most people. The texture can be chalky or powdery, and since the paste is primarily made of confectioners' sugar, that's the flavor. More appealing alternatives are marshmallow fondant, royal icing, and buttercream, but they don't have the same decorative properties as gum paste.

Bride and Groom

Image courtesy of Skye Howe, http://sunnygirlcakes.blogspot.com.

Toppers that show the couple getting married are among the most popular choices. With gum paste, a decorator may be able to go into greater detail than she would by making the same topper out of fondant. Facial details, specific outfits, props, or other additions can all be incorporated into a typical bride and groom topper if you're able to find a decorator that feels comfortable sculpting with gum paste. Do keep in mind, though, that more detail means a higher price. It takes a significant amount of time to craft such intricate touches on a topper, and most decorators charge accordingly.

Flowers

Some cake decorators, such as the high-profile wedding cake designer Ron Ben-Israel, have an amazing talent for making gum paste flowers.

Image courtesy of krisafan on Flickr.

With the aid of edible paint, luster dust, and other specialty supplies, a collection of sugar paste flowers cascading down a cake can be even more beautiful than real flowers in some cases. However, not all decorators have the same skill with gum paste, so make sure you check out photographs and portfolios of potential decorators before signing on with one, especially because sugar paste flowers can be very expensive. In most cases, ordering fresh flowers to put on your cake will be cheaper, especially if you want a lot of flowers on each tier of the cake rather than just one large flower to top the dessert.

Bows and Embellishments

Another way to use gum paste is to make a wrap-around bow or an embellishment that you can place on top of the cake. If it's thick enough, the bow or sheet of sugar paste can be embossed with a colorful design or indented with an elegant pattern. In general, bows and other embellishments are much more economical toppers than figurines or flowers, so you'll also have the potential to save a lot of money if you choose them as gum paste wedding cake toppers. They tend to look best on white or ivory cakes that have minimalist decorations.

Gum Paste Tips

Image courtesy of childsbeverley on Flickr.

If you really want a gum paste topper and have something special in mind, talk it over with potential decorators in advance so that you have the time to find someone you feel can deliver what you want. Keep in mind that gum paste:

  • Can easily be tinted or colored
  • Dries hard, so it won't be pliable at serving time
  • May work better than fondant for some topper designs, but not all
  • Is just one alternative to a bevy of other frosting choices

It can also be helpful to look through a gallery of cakes with gum paste embellishments and toppers before making your final decision.

Gum Paste Wedding Cake Toppers