In this step by step tutorial I walk you through how to create a lion cake topper!
1For the lion pictured you’ll want to color your gumpaste with the gel colors: yellow for the head, body, limbs and tail. Orange for the mane and puff on the end of the tail, and a bit of black for the eyes and nose. (Use rubber gloves and/or lightly coat hands and work table with shortening to avoid staining your hands. It’s best to color the lightest colors first, progressing to the darkest.)
Heads up!Want to learn more about coloring your gumpaste with gel colors? Check out our craftsy cake toppers techniques class for more tips and tricks.
Take some of your well-kneaded yellow fondant and roll into a ball, approximately the size of a walnut or about 1” in diameter to form the lions head. You can lightly coat your hands in shortening to help smooth the fondant. Let the head sit to firm up a bit.
Take a larger portion of yellow fondant (about 2 ½ times the first amount) for the body and roll into a slight tear drop shape, narrower at the top where the head will attach. It should be about 2 ½” in length.
Using your wheeled stitching tool, run it from the middle bottom front up and over to the back to form the stitched animal effect. Let this also sit, to firm up a bit. Cut your skewer about 6” and stick it into your Styrofoam half way so that you have the remaining 3” sticking straight up. (Sprinkle some powdered sugar around the skewer to prevent the lion from sticking as it dries!)
Brush some “glue” onto the skewer and then slowly impale the body as you lower it onto the skewer, so that the top of the skewer comes out by the “neck”. If it squishes a bit, just smooth it back up to the original shape. Trim the top of the skewer if it’s longer than ¾”, and brush it with some “glue”. Stitch the lion’s head the same as in step 4, then lower the head onto the body
Roll some yellow fondant into a log about ½”in diameter using your hands and/or the fondant smoother and cut into about 1 ¼ ” lengths for the legs and about 1 ½” lengths for the arms. Brush a toothpick with “glue” and insert it into each leg, being careful not to poke through the opposite end. Run your stitch tool in the middle of each leg, brush the point of the toothpick with “glue” and then stick each leg into the lion’s body.
Heads up!Looking for more advanced techniques like creating standing gumpaste figures? Check out our craftsy cake toppers techniques class for more tips and tricks.
Taper the arms at the top and flatten a bit so they can fit more flush with the lion’s body, use some “glue” to attach. Take a toothpick and cut it in half and using the flat side, make two indentations to form the eye sockets.
Roll a small bit of yellow fondant into a ball, flatten slightly, and stitch for the snout. Brush the end of the toothpick and insert it where you will put the snout. Brush the ½ toothpick with “glue” and use it to attach the snout. Roll small balls of black for the eyes and nose and attach with the “glue”.
Use two small flattened balls of yellow gumpaste for the ears. Pinch them at the base to form a small hollow, and attach to head with some “glue” and ½ toothpick. Push the toothpick into the head with the sharp side to mark the spot and then insert with the blunt end in, leaving the point for the ear attachment. Keep in mind that the mane will go behind the ears, so place accordingly.
Roll some orange gumpaste thinly and slice ¼” strips. Create a zigzag accordion shape (like ribbon candy) and let them sit a bit to set up. Make several sections for your mane so that you attach the first ones when you are done “zigzagging” your last sections.
Attach the sections as illustrated around the head for the mane, with “glue”, using toothpicks as necessary for temporary support. Use a q-tip to wipe off any excess glue after attaching the mane.
Roll a little ball of yellow fondant into a rope shape for the tail. Stitch it with the wheeled stitching tool. Roll a small bit of orange fondant into a strip about an inch long. Leaving one side as it is, cut the other side to resemble hair. Apply a bit of glue to uncut side and roll around the tip of the tail to create a puff, cut off excess. Attach to lion’s behind at the bottom as desired, going to either side.
After mane is stable enough, remove the toothpicks and then let lion dry completely before moving to cake. When taking it off the Styrofoam, use a small offset spatula or a palette knife to slip under the lion’s bottom for support and pry up (if necessary), then you can insert it onto your waiting cake!!!
Interested in learning more techniques? Check out our craftsy cake toppers figure modeling class where you’ll have the opportunity to learn several different gumpaste figures!
Tutorial: How to Create a Lion Cake Topper
Skill Level: Beginner
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Joanne’s love of pastry started with earning her Girl Scout baking badge! Since then, she has graduated from the French Culinary Institute and The New School in NYC, where she also completed an internship with Gail Watson Custom Cake. Joanne has advanced training with industry experts such as Nicholas Lodge,...