Welcome to my FAQ Page
I love hearing from my viewers!
I get a lot of questions in YouTube comments and Social media chats, but it's hard to give detailed answers. Here you can read some common questions I get and a full answer.
If you need more information or have other questions feel free to message me.
And... Don't forget to send me pictures of your cakes!
What is fondant?
what is gum paste?
Fondant is actually considered to be an icing. It's mainly made of gelatin, sugar, water, and corn syrup. Its normally rolled out thin into a sheet and layered over cakes to create a smooth, clean look. It is great to decorate on. It can be store bought or home made. I have a video making my own out of marshmallows available. It doesn't have much of a flavor beyond "sweet". Flavor extracts can be added for flavor but a lot of people just peel it off and don't eat it at all. It's very sweet!
Gum paste is an edible sugar dough used for making decorations. It's made with egg whites, powdered sugar, and shortening. It dries out and becomes hard. You never cover a cake with gum paste. It also tastes very sweet, but I find the flavor better than fondant. It reminds me of marshmallows in that it is sweet with no real flavor. Adding a flavor extract is pretty much not going to happen as most decorations will not be eaten. That being said, all the kids I know LOVE gum paste! When my kids' friends come over, they always ask if I have any decorations they can eat.
PSA - if you are making cakes for children, please consider using toothpick substitutes in your decorations. Kids just grab and bite and no one wants to get hurt biting into sharp pieces of wood. I recommend using dry spaghetti and lollipop sticks.
Could I use Fondant instead of Gum Paste?
...And What is CMC powder?
Ok, this one is full of caveats. If you are making decorations that will lay against the cake, you can absolutely use fondant. If you want free-standing or 3D decorations, please use gum paste. If you add CMC powder (carboxymethyl cellulose or cellulose gum) to your fondant, it will set up like gum paste and become moldable for 3D decorations. The following breakdown is in reference to decorations only! Look it over and see what will work for you.
Fondant pros - cheaper than gum paste, easily accessible, can make lovely flat decorations. Very sensitive to heat - melts in hot temperatures like summer days.
Fondant cons - Often has a "shiny" finish that may not work with the look of the décor. Won't harden to permanently hold shape. Stretches and elastic properties that make decorations change or lose shape easily. 3D figures can settle and look a bit melty or droopy. Can have a grainy surface texture.
Fondant with CMC pros - This is a good option if you are only making a cake once or twice, as cmc powder is cheaper than buying gum paste. It allows fondant to act like gum paste - forming hardening, 3D decorations. Gets rid of any shine.
Fondant with CMC cons - Texture is not the same as gum paste; it is kind of grainy. Can have a gritty or bumpy look when finished. It can be a little tougher to work with.
Gum Paste pros- it's literally designed for this job. Hardens to hold shape, smooth texture and finished look. Decorations do not look shiny. Is not elastic or stretchy, creating truer forms. Decorations can be stored for weeks under proper conditions. Smooth, silky texture finish.
Gum Paste cons - Expensive compared to fondant/cmc costs. Once dry, it can not be reshaped at all. Sensitive to damage through heat and humidity. (Please! Never store in refrigerators.) Direct sunlight exposure can bleach certain colors out of decorations.
Want to see these differences in action? Check out this video I made covering this topic.
Where I can I get the tools you have?
I buy a lot of my supplies on Amazon, as well as some of my local stores. Craft stores and cake decorating areas of larger box stores can have some hidden gems in there, so take a look if you're out. I have a list of my most commonly used tools and supplies that if you purchase from, gives me a little affiliation tip. These items are used by me after testing out different brands, while keeping price in mind. There are some really poorly crafted tools out there.
Visit my Tools & Supplies Page to see exactly what I use.
Should I Refrigerate my cake decorations?
No. Please, no. Humidity is the enemy of gum paste decorations. If you are decorating a cake and storing it in the fridge overnight, give yourself time the next day to add the decorations to it. Refrigerated decorations absorb the moisture, causing the gum paste to soften again and the surface will become super gooey and wet looking. Plus, any food coloring painted or drawn on will bleed. Decorations that become like this are hours of work thrown in the trash. No fridge!!
where should I store my cake decorations?
Place them on a clean surface, and store them in a dry, cool, out of the sun place. It sounds like a lot, but on a plate on your counter or in a china hutch-type cabinet out of direct sunlight is all you need. If you have any dust or pet hair concerns, lightly cover with a paper towel. I'd recommend not using plastic wrap as the idea of these is to dry out. If stored properly, you can make these a couple weeks in advance.