Since posting this pumpkin carriage cake topper on my blog in January 2014, I have received many requests for a tutorial. Guess what? I’m finally able to provide you with one! (Click here to see the original cake.) Not interested in making a pumpkin carriage? You can use the methods in this tutorial to create any dimensional/hollow cake topper you might like.
An ebook seemed like the easiest way to provide you with some helpful tips. You can download it below. You’ll also find some video links and answers to frequently asked questions on this page. Be sure to check the comment section for answers as well!
I’m happy to offer you this ebook for the princely sum of: Please Tell People Where You Got It. If you know someone who might like to take advantage of this rock-bottom price, I’d appreciate it if you simply directed them to this page to download their own copy.
This ebook is available as a PDF only. To view it you will need a functioning computer or electronic device with the latest version of Adobe Reader installed.
Click link above to view online. Right-click to download/save file.
Please do not redistribute, copy or alter.
I am not a professional videographer, nor do I have a team of assistants. This should be abundantly clear when you watch these videos. I shot my footage with a camera on a tripod, and tried to give you an up-close look at the process. Thus, for the most part I’m a disembodied, whiny voice in these videos. Also, you should be prepared for some serious rambling and a gourd costume. (Sorry.)
1. Forming the carriage body. This method can be applied to just about any dimensional cake topper you might like to make.
2. Troubleshooting a moisture issue. A nail-biter…
1. How do I get a copy of the ebook?
Click link above to view online. Right-click to download/save file. This ebook is available as a PDF only. If you plan to download it, you will need a functioning computer or electronic device with the latest version of Adobe Reader installed. Please do not redistribute, copy or alter.
2. Do I have to use gum paste for my cake topper?
Building something like a pumpkin carriage requires a medium that will provide a solid structure. Enter gum paste! Gum paste dries very hard, and will make it easier to handle when embellishing. I don’t recommend using anything else. I also allow the various parts to dry for days before attaching them to a cake – it makes them much more resistant to moisture.
3. How long will my topper last?
This is impossible for me to answer – there are too many factors to consider. Heat and humidity will do the most damage to gum paste embellishments, so I’d consider that first. Gum paste dries very hard, but exposure to moisture will compromise its structural integrity. When exposed to moisture or high humidity, it will wilt, droop, and soften. This is especially true of delicate embellishments.
Will you be in a climate controlled kitchen and venue, or in a hot, sunny garden in July? How long will the topper be on the cake? Do you want to keep the topper as a souvenir, or are you fine with celebrating the impermanence of sugar art? As a cake decorator, you should design your cake with these considerations in mind. I can’t make elaborate cake toppers in the summer – the humidity here is bonkers, and I don’t have an air conditioned home. My decorations won’t dry solid. Know your limitations!
At 1/8 inch thick, my pumpkin carriage walls are quite sturdy, and I allow them to dry for days and days before attaching to a cake. This seems to give my carriages staying power!
4. Can I set my pumpkin carriage on buttercream?
I put this gum paste Easter egg (above) on a buttercream cake because it was less fussy to make than the pumpkin carriage, and it didn’t require any special assembly upon the cake. I placed it on the cake at the last minute, and had no problems. (I always attach fondant and gum paste embellishments at the last possible minute.) This topper wasn’t nearly as consuming as my pumpkin carriage, so I was fine if it got a little droopy. It all depends on your threshold for cake stress. Again, if you let your gum paste dry out very thoroughly, it will help combat moisture issues.
5. Can I put my topper in the refrigerator?
I wouldn’t. Refrigerators tend to be humid, and this won’t be good for your carriage. Again, humidity is the enemy. Keep your topper in a cool, dry space (out of direct sunlight) until you’re ready to use it.
6. What brand of _________ did you use?
These are not affiliate links. I earn zero dollars from linking to these products. I buy most of my supplies at the Bulk Barn (Canada), Golda’s Kitchen (Canada/online), Michael’s, or Amazon.
- Ceramic Pumpkin – I found mine at the grocery store (there is no brand or label on it). Ceramic pumpkins seem to surface in autumn at home decor shops and craft stores. Be on the lookout for something smooth, non-porous and small in scale – it doesn’t have to be ceramic, of course. Plastic, glass – whatever might work!
- Gum Paste – normally I use whatever brand of white gum paste I can get my hands on (Wilton), and then I dye it. But for large quantities of black – which is difficult to colour and requires a large quantity of food colouring – I buy pre-coloured.
- CMC Powder/Tylose Powder
- Gelatin Sheets – also great for the windows in gingerbread houses
- Royal Icing – I like to keep a bag of royal icing mix for when I only need a tiny amount. I buy mine at the Bulk Barn here in Canada, but Wilton and CK Products also have versions. Throw a little into a bowl and add water until you reach your desired consistency.
- Decorative Seam & Door Medallion (fondant and gum paste mold)
- Leaf Cutter
- Edible Gold Paint – this is airbrush paint, but you can shake it well and then apply directly to gum paste with a paint brush.
If you have questions regarding this tutorial, feel free to leave a comment below. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t send questions via email or my social media channels – let’s keep the answers in one spot, okay? That way, all readers will benefit! Because I have an almost-real job, I can’t always answer your questions immediately. I try my best to respond within 24 hours.