Edible cake toppers are made from various edible materials, and their usage is highly dependent on the type of cake on which it will be placed. Some cake toppers are graphic images and stickers that often represent a character or team; these toppers are generally used on birthday cakes and cakes made for sports events. On the other hand, there are 3D edible cake toppers made from pliable material, which allows the designer to mould and create shapes and figures.
Edible Image Cake Toppers
Edible printed cake toppers are fairly easy to use and come ready made for applying to the cake. They are generally kept cool and thawed out to room temperature before removing them from the backing and sticking them to the top of the cake. This is often a great option for parents who want to add their child's picture, or favourite cartoon or TV show character to the top of their cake.
Edible Clay Cake Toppers
There are various types of edible clay that bakers and pastry chefs use to create handmade edible cake toppers. The difference in choice often depends on the type of topper that is needed and pliability of the clay. Some of the most popular edible clays include fondant, pastillage, gum paste and marzipan. They are all very similar, but a slight change in ingredients here and there greatly impacts the end result in regards to how firm it dries, the shapes they can make, and how they taste at the end of the day.
Pastillage and Gum Paste Cake toppers
Many pastry chefs use pastillage to make personalised edible cake toppers because it dries rigid and it dries very quickly. However, because it dries quickly, users need to work more quickly to form their shapes and models, but the sturdy long lasting end result of that sugarcraft is worth it for most pastry chefs. Gum paste is very similar to pastillage with the exception that gum tragacanth has been added to the mixture, which makes it harden a little slower thus allowing the chef more time to work. Gum Paste is often used to make 3D designs that will stand up such as an edible bride and groom for a wedding cake or a small edible flower arrangement atop an anniversary cake.
Fondant Cake Toppers
Fondant is more pliable than the aforementioned sugar clays. It has the consistency of dough and is also more palatable than its counterparts. Many pastry chefs prefer to work with fondant icing because they can use it to cover entire cakes and then form intricate designs in the cake itself. However, fondant does not become completely hard at any point so it is not used for all types of cake topping designs. Fondant is still used to make bows, flowers, and even shapes of animals and people, but chefs often knead a little gum paste into the fondant to make it dry a little harder.