Present Cake with a Gum Paste Bow

For Alex’s 21st birthday, her mom wanted her cake to look like a present with a pretty pink bow. It was time to break out the gum-paste!

I quickly colored the paste a brilliant pink with candy color and rolled it out until it was very thin. Then, it was time to cut ribbons and assemble.

Gum-paste bows are fun and actually easier to make than their ribbon counterparts!  You’ll need gum-paste or a mix of fondant and Tylose powder to make the fondant harden like gumpaste. Look below for the picture tutorial or for step by step directions.

Before you make your bow, prepare your cake. For Alex’s cake, I chose to use an 8″ square for the cake. This was large enough to hold the martini glass and the bow on the top of the cake. The cake may be frosted in buttercream or fondant. I chose fondant for the nice smooth finish consistent with wrapping paper.

  1. Make the gum-paste loops. Roll out the paste until your desired thickness is reached (1/8″ works well). Make 20 loops of varying sizes (roughly 5 longer loops, 5 the next size down and so on until you reach your shortest loop length. Allow to dry at least 2-3 hours.
  2. Build your gum-paste bow. Trim edges to a center point, cutting away on each side. Now, flatten a piece of fondant to about 1/4″ thickness (not gum-paste) and press your second longest loops into them. Add another layer of fondant and then add the next layer of loops, staggering.
  3. Finish your bow. Continue this process, adding discs of fondant, until you reach the top of the bow. You will need to turn the top loops sideways to have a nice three-dimensional look. Your longest loops are left. Lay the longest loops where you want the bow to go on the cake. Top with the remaining finished bow.

Now that your bow is finished, you may add it to the top of your prepared cake. If you’d like to have a ribbon on the sides of the cake, add this before you place the bow. Cut your fondant or gum paste ribbon the same width as your bow ribbons, or choose a thinner or fatter width based on the style you are going for. Add your bow and now you have a present cake with a gum paste bow.

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