Fondant People

Image courtesy of Clarissa Banaag, Frupcakes on Flickr.

Fondant people add flair and personality to cakes, cupcakes, and other baked goods. Although it can seem a bit intimidating to work with fondant frosting at first, it's easy and fun to use. Whether you're a professional artist or just enjoy cake decorating, fondant is a handy supply that can help you create the best presentation possible.

Sculpting People Using Fondant

You'll likely need a bit of practice with the frosting before you can start making fondant people. Most varieties are soft and pliable, with a texture that's a lot like modeling clay.

Choose Your Fondant

Traditional fondant frosting is a sugar paste that you can make at home or buy in tubs at cake decorating specialty stores and some craft stores. The frosting has a very sweet taste, and many people don't like it as much as buttercream, royal icing or other alternatives that aren't quite as versatile for decorating.

A less common version of fondant that tends to be tastier and easier to make at home is marshmallow fondant. It has a very similar consistency to regular fondant but can be stickier during the mixing and molding processes.

Gum Paste Alternative

Gum paste is a fondant alternative that professional cake decorators often use because of its great potential for detailed work. You can make frosting people out of gum paste just as easily as you can with fondant, but the frosting requires several specialty supplies to make on your own.

How to Sculpt a Person

Unless you want your fondant people to be one solid color, you'll need to tint your fondant with several different shades of gel coloring. Use plastic gloves to avoid getting dye on your hands, and massage each color into a piece of fondant until it's completely incorporated with the frosting.

It's easiest to start with a basic model of a person and then expand on that model as you become more skilled in working with fondant.

  1. Shape room temperature frosting that is flesh colored into the shape of a body. Start with a lump, and pinch and pull small portions from the sides and bottom to create legs and arms.
  2. Use your fingernails or a toothpick to pinch the ends of the arms and legs into more detailed feet and hands.
  3. Roll a small piece of flesh colored fondant into a ball. Pull on the bottom to create a narrow neck, and create a hole for the neck in the top of the body by hollowing out a circle with your finger or a toothpick.
  4. Secure the neck to the body with a dab of buttercream frosting, and pinch in the edges so it stays on.
  5. Roll colored fondant into thin sheets, and use a sharp knife to cut out shapes for a shirt and pants, which you can stick to the fondant people with buttercream.
  6. Using very small amounts of colored fondant, mold tiny facial features and hair with your hands. Stick the features on to the figures, securing by pressing down with a toothpick.
  7. Add any final details with a toothpick, edible paint, luster dust, or other decorating supplies.

Attaching the People to Your Cake

After you've made your people and let them dry, you can place them on top of cakes or cupcakes by sticking them in buttercream that you've used as a base frosting. If you don't have any buttercream or want your cakes to stay plain, stick toothpicks or short, thin wooden dowels into the bases of your people, and stick the other ends into the cakes. You can attach the people in the same way to decorate muffins, cookies, tarts, or any other baked goods.

Get Creative!

After you've played around with a few batches of fondant and made several different people, let your creativity take flight. See what kind of results you get when trying to make both very tiny people and very large people. Create a wide range of clothing and accessories, including belts, hats, hair, shoes, jewelry, etc. The more you experiment, the more skilled you'll become at sculpting adorable people figures you'll be proud to put on your cakes.

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Fondant People