My daughter's favorite princess is Ariel so I wanted to make her a cake with Ariel sculpted out of gum paste. I could not find any gum paste figures online to go on so I just molded the gum paste to look like my daughter's Ariel doll. This is the first time that I have made a cake with the use of gum paste and all I have to say that it is not an easy task! Gum paste dries out very quickly and it takes a long time for a figure to completely dry.
I researched tips and what not to do when working with gum paste weeks before my daughter's birthday (good thing). I made the figures a week ahead of time. I did use pre-made gum paste from Micheals and I also made some myself. The pre-made kind does not dry out as fast so I recommend it and it is convenient. I had to file a few parts of Ariel's face to make it a little smoother and I had to paint Ariel's face on with toothpicks. Meringue powder and water works great to glue gum paste pieces together. I also used candy molds and soap molds for the sea shells and ocean characters.
Everything else is hand carved and molded. I used a butter cake and whipped frosting for the actual cake itself and I think that the whipped frosting from a bakery is the best way and best taste. I made a large rectangular cake pan for the very bottom and then two round cake pans for the rock. I had to work with the placement of the round cakes so that way I could fit Ariel just right. Remember when you are using gum paste that you can not change anything about it when it is dry so you will have to make your cake work with your figures so if you want something to be curved you will have to set it up that way to dry. Do not attempted to bend anything you have sculpted even after five minutes or it will crack. Always keep your gum paste under plastic wrap or a damp paper towel and do not put any in the fridge. I used a lot of Crisco so you will want to make sure that you rub it in your hands every time you work with gum paste don't use a lot of powdered sugar or cornstarch or it will dry it out fast. You can put gum paste in the microwave for just 5 to 10 seconds at a time to help soften it.
I also found that using an exacto knife is great for gum paste and fondant. Keep in mind that because you can not put gum paste in the fridge you will have to keep a filled cake or cake with a whipped frosting out after applying the gum paste and it is recommended that you should not keep a cake like that out for more than two days.
My daughter loved her cake! All the kids wanted to have Ariel. All my hard work definitely paid off! I can't wait to make my next cake! I would love to go to classes so I can learn tips and short cuts so it does not take me so long!
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