This lovely owl tutorial was created for Kiwicakes by Lisa from The Whole Cake & Caboodle. Lisa never ceases to amaze me how she can create anything, using tools she already has on hand.
You need two colours of fondant a light and darker version of one and a contrast colour. I have used a lime/apple green in light and dark and a bright pink. All icing has been stiffened with CMC/Tylose.
Using the lighter green roll a ball about the size of a large marble and then lengthen and thin the top to make it look like this
Trim a small portion off the top to make a flat surface for the head to sit on.
Using either a round piping tube or a cutter with a wavy edge make feather shapes on its breast. I have staggered the marks made with a piping tube and you can see the difference between those and the fern cutter I also used. You can also leave it plain if you wish
With the darker green fondant make a ball about 2.5-3 times the size of the body and flatten a bit. If it seems too large make it slightly smaller by pinching off some and re-rolling. Set aside for the moment
Roll out a portion of the pink and a portion of the darker green fondant. Using a leaf cutter cut two wings from the green. I have used a small ivy plunger cutter that is about 2cm wide but didn’t make the imprint on it. You can vary the size that you use making them really small if you wish. A rose leaf plunger cutter works well also.
I also cut out two of the flower shape as shown out of the pink. This is a marguerite daisy plunger about 2cm in size.
Trim the daisy like so. This makes a fabulous birds foot. They are fine as they are as any untidy cuts will hide under the owl but if you want a tidy foot for a different bird then smooth the cuts. Keep one of the trimmed petals for the owls beak - put aside somewhere really safe so you don’t forget and tidy it up!
Glue the feet to the base of the body with a bit poking out the back. Poke a toothpick or other support through the body with part out the top for the head to rest on. I like to anchor figures into a cake dummy or piece of polystyrene while they are drying.
With a touch of glue stick the head onto the body. Your body needs to be firm or the head being so much bigger will collapse and squash it. If it isn't firm leave it to dry for a bit but it should be ready by the time you are at this step.(see notes at end of blog post on CMC/stiffener)
Glue wings on at the sides pulling the bottom out so it has a little movement/action.
Roll ears starting with a ball the size of a large pea. This is then elongated at each end as shown and then trimmed in half. I have included a ruler as a size guide.
Glue ears on in a pleasing position.
Cut some circles out of white fondant to this approximate size. If you haven't got a circle cutter this size check out the base of your piping tubes as they make great cutters. The petal that you set aside for the beak is shown here and is a diamond shape
Using some black fondant and a #10 tip or similar in size cut out some black circles for pupils. You can also roll balls if you wish
This size of owl will fit nicely on a small 6 or 8 inch cake. They will need to be made smaller for cupcakes or larger for a larger cake. Colours can vary of course and they look very cute in browns with egg yellow beaks and feet
CMC/TYLOSE NOTE. Your body should be feeling firm after about 30 minutes. If your body is soft to the touch or has a wrinkly elephant skin look to it when touched then you are not using enough CMC.
Most issues with any modelling can be solved with more hardener. Your icing should have the feel of chewed gum (eww I know but you know how it toughens/hardens upon chewing don’t you!). It should be quite elastic when pulled but not at all soft. I use around 1 tsp per 250 grams of fondant and have been known to stiffen gumpaste when it doesn’t behave in certain weather conditions. You can use your stiffened fondant immediately as it will start to react pretty quickly. If using gum trag I find it needs some time (overnight) to react.
If you do premix the CMC/TYLOSE and leave it overnight it will be quite hard but should loosen upon kneading. If you over stiffen your paste so when you roll balls you are constantly getting wrinkles/cracks you can't roll out, then mix in a touch of normal fondant to loosen. The best way of doing this is to get a little stiff fondant and mix a bit of normal fondant in with it. If you try and mix in really soft fondant with a lot of stiffened fondant it can be hard to do. Do a little at a time. Have a play with different stiffened icings until you get the feel for it but most of all DON’T GIVE UP!