Gumpaste Sculpted Animals and Figurines Are All The Rage in Cake Decorating

13 Jun







 The world of Cake Decorating has changed so much over the years. Normally when you wanted a cake you went to a bakery or your local grocery store and ordered a basic sheet cake with roses on it.  However cake decorators have changed the face of cake decorating with their skills and have taken sugar to a whole new level. Cakes now come in all shapes and sizes from cakes with a soccor ball on top to imitation designer purses. Sculpting has become one of the lastest crazes in cake decorating with cakes that are 2d, 3d and sculpted to look like the everyday things that are all around us in life. I love to scult cakes into shapes that would a person say, “Is that really a cake”.

Sculpting figurines and animals are becoming all the rage these days and are becoming one of my most requested designs for cakes. These animals and figurines are made with a sugar dough by hand sculpting. Not all cake decorators offer cakes with sculpted sugar animals and figurines but as the demand continues there will be more cake decorators willing to learn this skill. I don’t think this craze will come and go.  I believe it’s going to get bigger and bigger because of the ability to personalize cakes to reflect something that is important to someone, such as a cake showcasing a sculpted man( dad )using his power tools to cut wood for a cabinet that he is making. To a cake for mom that showcases a string of sugar pearls which is her favorite necklace and a basket of flowers that are made from sugar as well. 

The sky is the limit when it comes to using sugar dough to decorate a cake. This is so exciting, as a cake  decorator who designs cakes that tell a story, I never get tired of designing cakes with sugar dough sculpted figurines, animals and flowers.

So when deciding on your next cake design use your imagination, you don’t have to settle for a grocery store that is full of preservatives and has possibly been sitting in a freezer for up to 60 days at a time. Find a local cake decorator who specilizes in sculptured cake designs. There is nothing like presenting a cake for that next baby shower that is actually a diaper bag made from cake and everyone at the shower thinks the diaper bag is the real thing but is actually a cake made to look like a diaper bag.

The above pictures are some examples of sugar figurines that I have designed for different cakes I have made in the past.


58 Responses to “Gumpaste Sculpted Animals and Figurines Are All The Rage in Cake Decorating”

  1. June 26, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    I want to to thank you for this great read!! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of it.
    I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff
    you post…

  2. susie January 25, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    I’ve made some gumpaste figures and thought I should use toothpicks to secure the arms. Now I do want them in there. Can I remove the arms and take out the toothpick and use gum glue to reattach them? I know it’s risky and if might have to re-make the arms in the end.

    • The Sugar Lane February 26, 2013 at 9:43 am #


      I have done the same thing myself, so yes you can remove the arms and re-attach or just make new ones. I have had to make arms over and over at times so you should not have any problems. Good Luck to you my friend!!

  3. minnie mouse cake July 14, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    Hola! I’ve been reading your web site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic job!

    • The Sugar Lane July 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

      Hello Minnie Mouse Cakes…..Thanks so much my friend, I wish you the best and hope that you accomplish all that you set out to do!

  4. noorah thompson November 30, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    Hi do u perhaps have the instructions on how to make pooh bear and his friends

    • The Sugar Lane December 1, 2011 at 10:05 am #

      Hello Noorah

      I’m sorry but I do not have instructions for pooh and his friends at this time.

  5. marg October 11, 2011 at 2:23 am #

    Do you happen to have the instructions on how to make a sleeping cat?

    • The Sugar Lane October 20, 2011 at 4:08 am #

      Hi Marg… be honest I have never made a sleeping cat but do hope to sometime in the future….

  6. Eddie September 6, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    Hi I just found this website, I was browsing online for how to sculpt birthday cakes. Would you happend to know some good books for sculpting and baking some realy good birthday cakes.

    • The Sugar Lane September 14, 2011 at 2:14 am #

      Debbie Brown is one of the best cake sculptors out there today and she has some great books available….many are avail. at, I wish you the best my friend!

  7. Julie Stranberg March 5, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    I was wondering if you make any of the Winnie the Pooh characters using either gum paste or fondant. My son’s 1st birthday is coming up and I need some for his cakes. I don’t really have the time to make them or even attempt to. Preferably the Classic Winnie the Pooh. If so, do you sell them and how much?

    • The Sugar Lane April 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

      This answer is in reference to those who have asked me to create for them figurines such as Winnie the Pooh, Micky Mouse and so on…..I am unable to do this and to be quite honest no cake decorator should be able to do this within the United States unless they have purchased the licensing rights to do so which is VERY expensive to do. It is illegal to create any copyrighted characters to be used as cake toppers if you intend to sell them and make a profit. Now if you have a child and want to create a Mickey Mouse character for your sons cake that is perfectly legal since you are not making money from it. This is just a FYI to those who are new in the cake biz, I know someone who got caught selling Disney characters in her business as cake toppers and she had a undercover person call and inquire about a disney character for her daughters cake this person took the order and charged the lady $65 for the toppers and was then fined $10,000 for copyright infringment for selling Disney characters without having the licensing rights to do so. This was a VERY expensive lesson for her and one that I do not ever want to experience so I thought I would share this situation with you all as well.

  8. Andrea Rankin February 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    hi, i am looking to have a funny bride and groom pig topper made for a wedding cake, the bride needs to be in a wedding dress and the groom in a top hat and dickiebow only,i want them holding hands but at angles to each other can you do this, and how much would you charge?

    • The Sugar Lane February 22, 2011 at 3:55 am #

      Andrea Sorry but at this time I am not doing custum cake toppers…..I am not sure of any others who do them at this time, sorry I could not be of more help to you….

  9. Renee October 16, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    I cannot find a recipe on how to make gum paste or sugar paste. Could you please give me a recipe. I bought the gum paste but, when I made a character it cracked. How can I prevent it from cracking?

    • Missie mo October 4, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

      use Gum Tragacanth add to your paste also try not to use too much icing sugar when moulding as this dries out the paste
      hope this helps

  10. Sophie August 29, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    Hi! Your website is ah-mazing. I’m making a tiered Diego cake for my dad’s friend, and I am a novice in cake decorating. Is there any trick for making gumpaste figures, like trees, with multiple part. Like, how should I go about attatching the leaves to the trunk: when both are moist, or after or whatt??

  11. boncakes June 6, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    Hello,first of all I want to congratulate you….your work is amazing!!
    I just need to know if it’s possible to use marshmallow fondant to make these figurines? I would really appreciate your help!


    • The Sugar Lane June 14, 2010 at 7:17 am #

      You can use MM fondant but at times it can be too soft to use. I know of others who use it and say ti works ok for them so I guess it would be best to give it a shot and see how things go, I wish ya the best!! Also thanks sooo much for your sweet comments I really appreciate it very much!

      • boncakes June 14, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

        You are the best!!…Thank you so much!!

  12. Kate April 28, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    I’m trying to make an elmo cake for my nieces 2nd birthday and im trying to make elmo and cookie monster out of gumpaste , but my gumpaste wont stick when im trying to make the main body portion. i roll in a ball and i’ve added tons of shortening, but it just keeps leaving these huge soft cracks(gaps) that wont smooth over… is it possible to use too much shortening??????

    • The Sugar Lane April 28, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

      Yes that is exactly what is happening…you have used too much shortening. Just try adding more gumpaste to the ball of paste you are using to help spread out the shortening that you have added. If that does not help it just may be best to start with a fresh piece of gumpaste. As far as adding shortening add enough to keep your gumpaste from drying out.

      • Kate April 29, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

        thank you… tons of help:D

  13. Lucy April 13, 2010 at 5:07 am #

    hello this site is very helpful thankyou. But i was just wondering how you make the animals with the gumpaste stuff, i am making a childrens birthday cake for my son’s 6th birthday and i’m using fondant icing. i am wanting to make little under the sea animals like fish and sharks to put ontop of the cake but am finding it hard to work with the gumpaste, is there any tricks to it? thanks

  14. lilioski March 13, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    Need help with you rolled fondant recipe. Love ur work.


  15. Heather February 25, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    I am planning on making my son a Mario Brothers cake for his 4th birthday. I am going to use gum paste. How long can I store the figures prior to his party? Can I make them as much as a month in advance and then put them on the cake later? If so, how should they be stored so they do not ruin? Thank you so much!

  16. sandrar September 10, 2009 at 1:11 pm #

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  17. kim July 30, 2009 at 6:12 pm #

    hi i just made my first batch of gum paste it cracked and broke what did i do wrong? thank you

    • The Sugar Lane February 26, 2010 at 12:26 am #

      It sounds like your gumpaste was too dry….. if you made something from the gumpaste and it cracked you may have needed more shortening added to your paste.

  18. Terrie July 28, 2009 at 7:54 pm #

    First, thank you so much for such an informative great site. I will be making a Bob the Builder cake for my son’s 3rd birthday and need to know a couple of things. I want to make my characters (bob, tools and the trucks) all in 3D standing position. Does this mean that they should be gum paste and not fondant? Can I make the figures 1-2 months in advance or will they go bad? When storing for this long (if possible) do I freeze or keep in the airtight containers on the shelf? Any help or ideas with this would be extremely appriciated. I have never worked with gum paste or fondant but very eager. If anyone knows any how tos…please reply. Thank you, Terrie

    • The Sugar Lane February 26, 2010 at 12:59 am #

      Terrie you are sooo very welcome!!!
      You can make the figures up several months ahead of time, if needed. It will not hurt them one bit, they will not go bad at all.

      You should make your figures out of gumpaste instead of fondant since the gumpaste is much stronger than the fondant.

      To store your figures until you need to use them, never freeze of refrigerate them just place them in a container with a lid and
      place in a cool place (I store mine on a closet shelf).

      In making your figures….it is best to make the bottom portion of the figure and allow that to setup first, then make the upper portion.

  19. Sabrina July 16, 2009 at 1:35 pm #

    Hello everyone. I am trying to make a swimming pool cake for my daughters 13th birthday. However, i’m not sure how to make people out of gumpaste or if its even possible. I want to try to make some sitting and some enjoying the pool. If anyone knows how to do so, please reply. Thank you. -Sabrina 🙂

  20. Diane Martinez July 7, 2009 at 9:46 pm #

    How much do you charge for your Animal Cake toppers? And, how big are they?
    Can you mail them out and do they dry out?

  21. karen June 21, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    i was wondering how do i store cake toppers made of sugarpaste, as a keepsake.

    • The Sugar Lane June 23, 2009 at 6:00 am #

      I store my figurines by putting them into a plastic container with a lid and store it in a cool dry location, such as a closet shelf.

      Another way is to purchase those acrylic containers that close up and are a great way to display them in a curio cabinet.

      Just always make sure that they do not get wet!

  22. faye April 28, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    I would like to have some info on making sugar paste figures also the do’s and don’t of fondant , sugar paste and gum paste. and some recipes would be nice

    thanks Faye

    • The Sugar Lane April 29, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

      Faye if you look around my blog here, you will find alot of info about fondant, and gumpaste. As far as learning to do gumpaste figures, I have a website at where I teach all different kinds of figures.

  23. Andrea April 13, 2009 at 8:01 pm #

    Wow! Thank you so much for your helpful info! I am planning on making some gum paste figurines for the top of my son’s moo baa la la la 1st birthday cake! Your sight has made that idea a lot easier!!
    Do you have a homemade recipe for gum paste that you recommend?

  24. Edi April 10, 2009 at 12:59 pm #

    Dearest Donna,
    I sorry to have asked a questioned that is answered in your first video. I’m a birdbrain along with the many who have asked the same question. Everyone who has a problem with your gumpaste /fondant drying too fast or cracks. LOOK AT DONNA’S FIRST VIDEO, SHE ANSWERS THE QUESTION!!! Thank you Donna for taking out the time to answer the same question over and over.

    Your Birdbrain- Edi

  25. Edi April 10, 2009 at 12:29 am #

    I love your little friends.
    I’m trying to make men figure and I find that my Gumpaste dries way too quick for me to put details. Can you suggest something.
    Thanks Edi

  26. Luisa March 31, 2009 at 10:36 pm #

    Dear Donna
    I am making a Birthday cake for this weekend (4 april 2009) and am really struggling to find instructions on the internet as to how to make jungle animals. I would like to make 4-5 different animals. Could you please tell me if you have any detailed instructions on how to make these animals out of fondant AND how I could access these.
    I’d really appreciate your response.

  27. moureen frank March 17, 2009 at 6:20 am #

    all i can say is thank u very much for a such nice and helpful website. congratulations for yr

  28. Ana January 26, 2009 at 2:28 pm #

    Hi, I was wondering if you could help me? My son’s birthday is this Saturday and he has decided that he wants a Wall-e and Eve topper for his cake. I’ve never worked with gumpaste and, or fondant. I really would like to make this for him. Although I’m having difficulty with Wall-e’s eyes. Can you make any suggestions on how to get them to stick without them falling over? They seem to be a little top heavy for his little neck.

    Thanks a bunch,

  29. Carol January 5, 2009 at 6:43 pm #

    What a find!!!!

    I just discovered your website. This is the best website I have EVER found! Believe me I have looked. I like to make and decorate cakes for birthdays and weddings. I had a friend having a birthday, and I wanted to make four figurines for the cake that looked like her with her two dogs and cat. I had not done figurines before, so I began trying media to make the figures. (Figuring out the media is my biggest problem). For the most part, they were all cracked and deformed looking. I was getting really frustrated. Then, just in time, I discovered your website. After watching your video using fondant, shortening, and tylos powder, I was able to make some pretty decent figures. I have a ways to go to do them really well, but it is so fun to me (now). Thank you. I cannot wait to get into your videos and your new website. You have really shared freely of your knowledge and of yourself, and I feel hopeful I can do something I really enjoy with confidence. It’s so fun to give that joy to someone. Can’t express my gratitude enough – and I’ve just begun.
    Smiles To You,

  30. Laury December 24, 2008 at 3:30 pm #


    I love your work!! I collect cake decorating books and onebook I don’t have is a gum paste animals book. I was wondering if you have books you recommend.

  31. Yesenia December 1, 2008 at 6:23 am #

    Hi Donna,

    I wanted to know if you can make a video of how to make a winnie the pooh figer… please…
    I have a baby shower coming soon and she wants winnie
    please help.
    thank you…
    If you like you make write to me on the form of YA
    or e-mail me thanks…
    Yesenia Borquez

  32. Candis November 16, 2008 at 12:40 pm #

    I just made my first gumpaste doll and her dress is cracking!!!! I read through the comments and didn’t see answers to the problem. Is there somewhere I can go to find the answers?
    Thank you

  33. Amanda November 15, 2008 at 4:00 am #

    Believe or not I have made several figures out of just marshmallow fondant and tin foil, because when I tried the packaged gum paste I was having difficulties with the gum paste drying way to fast and it was hard to work with. The first 2 fondant figures I made one was Salicious crumb and the other was Princess Leah (she was really ugly) I found that it sagged – a lot. So I used toothpicks to support everything, I wish I would have found this site back in May. I can’t wait to get the powder stuff you mentioned to turn fondant into gum paste. I also have made 2 fairly large figures 8″ back in August – how I wish I would have found this site earlier! August in Georgia is not a friend to fondant – I found that out the hard way also. The figures did turn out (they were the Dude and Walter from the Big Lebowski – long story.) I have questions regarding “painting” the figures, what do you use? I am using icing colors (that I scoop into a plastic palette – I don’t want to contaminate the jar)but with the fondant I have a problem with is setting or drying, so I took a sifter and some powder sugar covered it completely and then took a very soft brush and dusted it off. It seemed to set the color, but it makes a mess my 3 year old loves. I have also tried using vodak and corn starch and then added the icing but I can’t seem to get the constitancy right. Any help would be greatly appreciated, I don’t do this for a living, I like it as a fun “sometimes frustrating” hobby (my husband thinks expensive, but tasty hobby). I however do have an art background and have been trained in mulitple media so I am a prefectionist when it comes to this (it drives most of my husband & friends crazy) I would love any insight because I don’t know anyone who does this for a living and sculpture people I ask give me the deer caught in the headlight look. I’m sorry this comment is so long, but thank you so much for reading!

    Thank you again for such a great site! I really wish I would have found this site sooner!

    Amanda 🙂

  34. katherine October 15, 2008 at 6:09 pm #

    I have similar problems as those comments listed above with cracking gumpaste. I’m using the Wilton recipe and I’m trying to make a small soccer player and his uniform keeps cracking on me during the drying process. I would appreciate any advice. I’m getting ready to make him again tomorrow with a fresh batch. Please, please, please help!!!Your figurines are adorable by the way. Thanks so much.

  35. Cathy October 13, 2008 at 5:24 pm #

    I made some figurines out of gumpaste (Wilton recipe using glucose and gumtex) It started drying really fast while working with it and then the figures have cracked horribly. Please help! I really would like to make my own gumpaste. Any suggestions, fixes, recipes you might have would be helpful! Thank you for your time!

  36. bharati patel October 2, 2008 at 7:45 am #


    Making sugar paste roses and the petals become too brittle, the paste dries too quick does not give enough working time. please give your expert advice.



    • angela May 3, 2009 at 8:27 pm #

      i think the gumpaste u use is too dry make it a little softer and if u think it is too sticky rub your finger tips with a little vegetable shortnig and work it into the paste also dont use too much corn starch that drys out the paste also if u use a nunstick board and pin u dont use too much corn starch

  37. Beatrice July 28, 2008 at 4:57 pm #

    I made winnie the pooh using a jigsaw puzzle and used the pieces to cover a cake.
    Also made some cake toppers, of winnie the pooh and elmo. They were more like candle holders.
    They are on my blog

  38. Donna Lane July 25, 2008 at 5:41 pm #

    Angelina I emailed you directly answering all of your questions.

  39. Angelina La Fontaine July 24, 2008 at 5:23 am #

    I am creating a Zebra stiletto heel out of Wilton’s gumpaste. I can’t figure out how to stop it from cracking. Do you have a recipe I can use to make my own, or any suggestions? Also I have used fondant in the past and I was wondering what works better to cover the cake, to place the fondant over, buttercream or royal icing. Is the trick to let the icing dry overnight before placing the fondant over the cake? Thank you so much.

    Warm Regards,
    Angelina La Fontaine

  40. Jan Ruiz July 21, 2008 at 5:17 pm #

    I have never used fondant nor gum paste, but want to make a book cake with Tigger and winnie the pooh on the book in kind of a 3d. Any advise you could give me would surely be helpful. Please e-mail me where to find your videos.


    • Lynn Edmondson April 30, 2009 at 3:28 am #

      Hi, like many others here, I have never used gumpaste either. I am curious do you have to use moulds for gumpaste figures or can you form them as if you were working with play-doh?
      Your site looks really useful. I look forward to checking out the videos.

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