Cake design

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016 to the lovely members of the Daring Kitchen. Hope you have a year of complete Baking and Culinary bliss! Let 2016 unleash your unbound creativity and raise the bar of this platform.

I am Shillpa Bhaambri from Cakeline the Journey, a Baker and Cake designer living in Mumbai, India. This is the first challenge that I am hosting, ever since I became a Daring kitchen member in early 2015. Being part of the daring kitchen has, not only connected me with passionate bakers from the world over, but has also given me amazing insight and learning in the baking stream.

I run a cakery, aptly called Cakeline that specializes in customized cakes and desserts. My blog Cakeline the journey reflects my passion for the art of cake making and my love for food in general.

With great enthusiasm I would like to invite you all to join me in a “CAKE DESIGNING CHALLENGE”

Cake designing is an extension of baking. It is a surging craft, hobby or profession in today’s times. Making plain cakes look visually stunning has become a unique artistry! A professional Baker who specializes in making and decorating cakes, using various edible mediums, for all occasions is called a cake artist.

Let’s pretend to be or just lure ourselves to become a CAKE ARTIST for this month.

In this challenge I explain to you in detail three and a half edible mediums used in cake decoration. These are what I call the “EDIBLE CLAYS” in cake decoration. Fondant; Modeling paste, Gum paste and Modeling chocolate are used effectively and cleverly by cake designers. They use them to recreate mind blowing concepts and themes on cakes. I share my visualization of a few cake designs and show you a technique I adopted while working on them, with these Edible mediums.

Jump in with me to design a cake/dummy / cupcake or even a sugar plaque to a theme of your choice. Let your creative juices flow as you decorate…..believe you me it will be addictive fun. You can use the best God gifted tools we possess….our deft hands and fingers. Or make cutters out of craft equipment and kitchenware! For seasoned sugar crafters the canvas is unimaginable…Get inspired and please recreate your very best.

Recipe Source:

Fondant: Adapted from the Crafsty blog

Gum paste: Nicholas lodge gum paste recipe at Craftsy

Modeling chocolate: Recipe from my amazing tutor Lara Mason of Tasty treats

Download the pdf for the challenge here.

Preparation time:

FONDANT: 15 minutes

GUMPASTE: 15 minutes to prepare and 24 hours to rest

MODELLING CHOCOLATE: 45 minutes, which includes 30 minutes of chilling time

Equipment required:

Silicon mat/kitchen tabletop

Hand or stand mixer



Cling film

Microwave oven

Glass bowls

Zip lock plastic bag

Tools used for decorating:

Craft or sharp knife

Paint brushes


Balling tool

Veining tool




Silicone rolling pin


Foam pad

Flower formers

20 gauge paper wrapped wire

Plastic mat


Ribbon cutter

Cake board

Styrofoam cake dummy

Materials used for decorating

Edible glue

Alcohol or clear lemon extract

Gel colors

Luster dusts

Petal dust


Gum paste

Modeling paste

Modeling chocolate


Fondant in cake designing context, refers to rolled fondant or sugar paste, which is primarily used to cover cakes and boards. This is soft sugar dough that cuts through instantly with a knife. It easily rolls out and is quite malleable. Fondant stays fairly soft, even after it has been shaped. Designing cakes with it gives them a smooth and polished finish. It can be colored or flavored to taste. Marshmallow fondant is easy to make and popular because of it’s much liked taste. Chocolate fondant can also be used to give enhanced taste to a cake.

Admin’s note: the fondant recipe contains gelatin, but there are plenty of non-gelatin recipes available online for vegetarians. Many of the brands of ready-made fondant are vegan-friendly. I have used Renshaw with success.


Recipe yield : Approximately 1kg / 2 2/5 pounds


800g / 1 3/4 pounds / 6 2/5 cups (unsifted) icing sugar. Use the purest icing/confectioners’ sugar available to get absolute white fondant

100g / 3 1/2 oz / 7 Tbsp white butter or shortening

1 Tbsp powdered Gelatin dissolved in 30ml / 2 Tbsp water

100g / 1/3 cup liquid glucose

15ml / 1Tbsp glycerin

Large pinch salt

5ml / 1 tsp clear vanilla extract

7g / 1/2 Tbsp white butter or shortening, additional



  1. Measure all the ingredients and set aside. Sieve the icing sugar and keep 300gms / 2 2/5 cups of it aside.

Note: The quantity of icing sugar required in this recipe may vary, depending on the quality of it. You may start out making the recipe with 800gms / 6 2/5 cups and go up to 900gms / 7 1/5 cups of icing sugar.

Measure all the ingredients and set aside
Measure all the ingredients and set aside 1

  • Soak the gelatin in the water and melt it in a microwave or double boiler.
  1. Melt the butter/shortening.

Melt the butter

  • Mix the butter/shortening into the gelatin.

Mix the butter into the gelatin

  • Add liquid glucose, glycerin and mix well. Warm this mixture in a microwave for 20 seconds.
  • Add clear vanilla extract and salt

vanilla extract and salt

vanilla extract and salt 1

  • Take 500gms / 4 cups of icing sugar in a bowl, stir in the liquid mixture, a little at a time.
  1. Keep blending and adding the liquid, slowly to the icing sugar.

adding the liquid

  • Move the icing sugar mixture onto a kitchen counter or a silicon mat.

Move the icing sugar mixture onto a kitchen counter

Move the icing sugar mixture onto a kitchen counter 1

Move the icing sugar mixture onto a kitchen counter 2

Move the icing sugar mixture onto a kitchen counter 3

      • Keep kneading gently and start adding the reserved icing sugar that has been kept aside, by the spoonful.

Keep kneading gently

      1. Add as much icing sugar the dough can take in to make a soft, pliable texture. The fondant should not stick to your hands.

pliable texture

      1. Lastly smear 7g / 1/2 Tbsp. of butter or shortening onto the kitchen counter.
        Lastly smear

Lastly smear 1

      1. Knead the dough gently to absorb all the fat.

Knead the dough

      1. Roll and shape the fondant into an oblong

Roll and shape

      1. You will see that the fondant slices through easily with a knife.

fondant slices

16 Wrap the fondant tightly with cling film. And set aside to mature.

      1. If you would like to make coloured fondant then add the required amount of edible gel color to the warmed gelatin –glucose liquid. Make coloured fondant at least 24 hours prior to using it. This will help it mature and absorb the color well. The fondant will be drier and therefore will not tear while covering your cake.

Suggested Techniques that are workable with fondant

Covering a cake or cake board

Hand painting and Printing

Air brushing

Appliqué work


Drapes, swags and pleating

Ribbons and Bows

Textures and embossing

Marbling or wood effect

Templates on cookies

Enhancing with metallic luster or leaf

Sequins work

Quilting or Smocking

Basic flat/cut out figures

Brush embroidery

Chalkboard technique

Cake design 1

Cake design 1


I chose this theme to signify life at the start of the New Year. The tree of life is a common motif in various world theologies, mythologies, and philosophies. It alludes to the interconnection of all life on our planet and serves as a metaphor for common descent in the evolutionary sense. I have used it in my design to show growth, energy, zest and fervor in our life at the onset of a new year.

This is a two tiered cake, in vibrant colors that are dominant in Indian culture.

The bottom tier is brushed with a blend of gold luster dust and green gel color to give it a rich antique look. Embossing technique is used on the side of the cake. The little embossed imprints are hand painted in different colors to give a MEENAKARI effect. (MEENAKARI is the art of coloring and ornamenting the surface of metals by fusing over it brilliant colors that are decorated in an intricate design. It is a popular craft used in traditional Indian jewelry design.)

The focal point of the cake is the tree, which is hand cut out of Gum paste. The tree and the border of the top cake tier are painted with edible colors using the MADHUBANI style of painting. (Madhubani painting is a style of Hindu Painting, practiced in the Indian State of Bihar. Such painting is done using natural dyes and pigments, and is characterized by eye-catching geometrical patterns.)

My Tree of life gets its form by the addition of leaves, flowers, parrots and birds made out of modeling paste. To complete my cake design I rolled red Gum paste to create 2016 monogram and attached it with edible glue. For designing this cake barring a patchwork cutter, which was used to emboss the bottom cake tier, no cutters have been used. So you can see the potential of free hand cake designing.


      1. EMBOSSING


Embossing has to be done on freshly rolled fondant, before it begins to crust.

Roll out fondant or a cover cake with it.

Take an embossing tool or cutter and gently press onto the fondant. Release and repeat at required places.


Mix gel color or luster dust appropriately with clear alcohol, like vodka or gin, to make a liquid edible paint. You can also use clear lemon extract instead of the alcohol

Start by marking your design on the fondant or outlining it. Fill one color at a time, giving time to dry before you paint connecting colors.


MEENAKARI HAND PAINTED EFFECT: I used bright, vivid colors. First I filled the edges of the embossed print with red gel color. The hexagonal centre was painted in deep blue luster dust paint. Then I brushed the inside with gold luster dust paint. The small dots were filled with black gel color. Lastly the bare fondant was painted with a blend of gold luster dust and black/deep green gel color to give it an antique look.

If you are painting on Gum paste let it dry completely for 24 hours under a fan before you start. This prevents smudging of colors.


This is also called 50:50 paste by many sugar artists, as it is a comfortable blend of fondant and gum paste. Modeling paste is a bit firmer and more pliable than fondant It has an elastic and firmer texture. It holds shape and structure easily. Its quality to dry faster and harder than fondant makes it handy to use in various forms of cake design.


250g / 9oz Fondant

250g / 9oz gum paste


      1. Soften gum paste and fondant separately, by kneading with the warmth of your hand.
      2. Mix both the dough’s together. Kneading well with the palm of your hand.
      3. You will get a slightly stretchy paste. Roll into a Round ball.
      4. Wrap tightly with cling film and store in a zip lock bag.

Suggested Techniques that are workable with modeling paste


Molding of animals and fruits etc.



Punch design

Ruffles, Frills and Scrunching

Flowers fantasy or other

Bows and Loops

Use of sugar shaper or gun




Servings: Yield Approximately 900gms / 2 pounds

This is also called florists paste, flower paste or petal paste. It is sugar dough that is strengthened and made pliable with the addition of gum tragacanth or Tylose.Original Gum paste recipes contain egg whites, however now quick Gum paste recipes with vegetarian options are also available.

This is a flexible and pliable edible medium. It dries very fast and hard. It easily holds shape and can be rolled tissue thin. It is primarily used to create realistic, life like flowers and intricate decorations. Cake experts love to use it to shape professional figures, sturdy embellishments and unimaginable 3D elements.


125g / 1/2 cup / approx. 4 egg whites

725g / 25 1/2 oz / 5 4/5 cups (unsifted) icing sugar

30g / 2 1/2 Tbsp Tylose or CMC powder

20g / 4 Tsp Vegetable shortening

Extra icing sugar, if needed

Extra icing sugar


      1. Start by whipping egg whites in a spotlessly clean and dry mixer till foamy.

whipping egg whites

whipping egg whites 1

whipping egg whites 2
whipping egg whites 3

      1. Add icing sugar slowly and continue beating.
      1. Beat mixture till stiff peaks form; make sure you have incorporated all the icing sugar in the egg whites.
      1. Now add the Tylose and quickly whip the egg mixture for 20 seconds.
      1. The Tylose will get mixed in and thicken the mixture slightly.


      1. Smear the shortening on a clean kitchen counter top.

Smear the shortening
Smear the shortening 1

      1. Pour the egg white mixture onto the shortening and start kneading it all together, until you get mildly soft dough.
        egg white mixture

egg white mixture

      1. The gum paste will be slightly spongy and stretchy.

The gum paste

      1. It will roll out very thin.

roll out very thin

roll out very thin 1

      1. Make small balls of the dough and wrap each tightly with a triple wrap of cling film
      1. Place the wrapped gum paste balls in a zip lock bag. This prevents drying and contact with any moisture and air.
      1. Let the gum paste mature for 24 hours.

14.Once rested, It should be stretchy like chewing gum.

      1. You can store the gum paste in the refrigerator for up to six months.
      1. Bring to room temperature and use the paste as required.
      1. Always knead the Gum paste well by stretching and pulling it, to soften and make it pliable before you start working with it.

Suggested Techniques that are workable with Gum paste

Life-like flowers and foliage

Standing figurines

Geometric designs

Standing elements like monograms, hearts, stars etc., on cakes

Shoes, handbag handles and embellishments

3D elements on structural cakes

Bows, loop bows ribbons

Hand painting

Photo frames





The above cake is quite special to me as it uses a simple technique which I created while fiddling with gum paste strips. I call this the “FLIP FIX” technique. A strip each of black and white Gum paste is attached one atop the other to create a two sided effect. White fondant cake was the canvas for this technique. The two-sided strips were fixed to the side of the cake and their edges were rolled in. A paneling of alternating color strips was done.

You could attach the two-sided Gum paste strips by twisting, curling or folding them. The idea is to show the two toned sides of the Gum paste strips effectively in your cake design.

I enhanced the cake with a grey Gum paste fantasy flower and filled the blankness on the top with thin strips of black Gum paste. Finally this cake was set atop a small silver cake dummy to give it a striking visual appeal.




Roll Gum paste out thinly on a silicone or plastic mat. Using flower cutters cut two flowers, one small and the other big.

plastic mat

On a foam pad thin out and ruffle the edges of the flower, by pressing gently with a balling tool.

ruffle the edges of the flower

Next, place the flower on the work mat and vein each petal with a veining tool. Tuck the flower in a flower former or a foil cup and leave to dry in a cool place for a day.

place the flower on the work mat

Similarly ruffle and vein the smaller flower. Leave it to dry in a former. With black Gum paste make the flower centre. I used a silicone button mold, but you can craft a centre by flattening a pea sized ball of Gum paste and indenting little dots on it with a toothpick.

ruffle and vein the smaller flower

After the flowers dry out, they will hold shape. Place the smaller flower inside the larger flower, attaching it with a touch of edible glue. Fix the centre button inside the small flower.

smaller flower inside the larger flower

I highlighted the flower centre and petal edges with silver luster dust paint.

silver luster dust paint

And finally attached the flower with edible glue on top of the cake


Servings: Yield Approximately 550g / 1 1/5 pounds

This medium has many names like chocolate leather, chocolate plastic, candy clay or chocolate wrap.

It is a blend of melted chocolate and corn syrup or golden syrup. Delicious to taste, hence preferred to cover cakes instead of Fondant. It is used by many cake makers to mold desirable shapes and structures for their pastry design. Modeling chocolate does not suit tropical climates and can melt easily in warm surroundings.


450g / 1lb dark or white chocolate or coating chocolate roughly chopped

110ml / 1 cup minus 2 Tsp light corn syrup or golden syrup

Gel color as required, if using white chocolate



      1. Prepare the ingredients required. Roughly chop the chocolate

Roughly chop the chocolate

      1. Melt the chocolate on medium power for 2 minutes in a microwave oven, stirring frequently.

(Alternatively you may melt the chocolate on a double boiler)

chocolate on a double boiler

      1. Stir the melted chocolate until smooth.

Stir the melted chocolate

        1. Warm the corn syrup or golden syrup in a microwave for 30 seconds.

Warm the corn syrup

      1. Gently start to fold the warm syrup into the chocolate

fold the warm syrup

fold the warm syrup 1

fold the warm syrup 2

      1. Cut and fold the mixture gently two or three times with a spatula or large spoon.

Cut and fold the mixture

      1. The chocolate mixture will get glossy at first.

glossy chocolate mixture
glossy chocolate mixture 1

glossy chocolate mixture 2

      1. Continue with two or three more folds, go slow.

two or three more folds
two or three more folds 1

      1. The chocolate mixture will thicken slightly and lose its shine, partly. It will look like a soft serve ice-cream.
        1. Stop stirring it at this point or it will become grainy and get over mixed.

Stop stirring

      1. Take a large zip lock plastic bag and pour all the modeling chocolate into it.

Take a large zip lock plastic bagTake a large zip lock plastic bag 1

      1. Seal the bag after all the chocolate is poured inside.

Seal the bag

      1. Flatten the bag and spread the chocolate as much as you can into a thin layer.

Flatten the bag and spread the chocolate

Flatten the bag and spread the chocolate 1Flatten the bag and spread the chocolate 2

      1. Put the modeling chocolate to set in the freezer for 30 minutes.
      1. The modeling chocolate will harden. Remove it from the plastic bag.

Remove it from the plastic bag

      1. It will look like this.

look like this

      1. Break it into largish pieces. Leave to soften a bit at room temperature.
      1. Once malleable, start kneading it all together.

start kneading

      1. The modeling chocolate should be soft and pliable like play dough.

soft and pliablesoft and pliable 1soft and pliable 2

      1. Roll it into a ball.Cover with cling wrap and store in refrigerator until required.

Roll it into a ball

Suggested Techniques workable with modeling chocolate

Covering a cake or board


3d Animals,vegetables and fruits

Chocolate rose

Cutout flowers and leaves

Chocolate wrap

Bows and loops

Polka dots and stripes




I like to use modeling chocolate on chocolate fondant or ganache cakes, because of its chocolatey taste.This is a cute mini cake made for the 6 month birthday of a baby girl. The grizzly teddy crafted out of modeling chocolate is completely edible. I used dusty pink modeling chocolate to make a band and cutout flowers. The cake board was imprinted by a pebble texture sheet. To add a little thrill to my cake design, I made a floating balloon out of pink modeling chocolate and fixed it behind the teddy. I hope you like this cake as much as the excited baby did!




Roll out the modeling chocolate on a plastic or silicone mat..Make sure you are working in a cold environment or in airconditioning. Modeling chocolate can melt easily in a warm climate.

Using a flower cutter, cut few shapes. Make an indent in the centre of the flower with a balling tool or your finger..

cut few shapes

Place a small ball of modeling chocolate in contrasting color in the centre of the flowerUsing a craft knife or toothpick mark out little veins or strips on the flowers.Leave the finished flowers to dry and set a bit.

Use as required to embellish your cake or cupcake

Useful Links for cake decorating and various techniques

How to cover a cake with fondant…

Understanding different cake mediums and their use

How to plan your cake design…

Cake designs for beginners

Difference between Fondant, Gum paste and Modeling chocolate

Hand painting technique

Wood effect on fondant…

Using fondant molds

Chalkboard cake design

How to make a monogram/number topper

Quilling technique topper…

Gum paste bow

Gum paste balloons

Gum paste vintage flowers

Gum paste animal figurine

Modeling chocolate ruffle flower

Modeling chocolate stripes

Modeling chocolate grizzly bear topper

Pretty cupcakes with fondant’s-day-cupcake/#.URvDvDovVkA.pinterest

Edible glue, how to make it

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:

Each of the edible clay is shaped differently after preparation, so it’s easier to identify it at any given point.

Shelf life:

Handmade fondant: One month at room temperature and four months in a refrigerator

Gum paste: six months in refrigerator

Modeling chocolate: six months and more in refrigerator

All dough’s are wrapped tightly in cling film and stored in zip lock bags.

Keep them in a cool, dry place, away from any kind of light.

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