Fondant Bows to Decorate Cakes
Seems like it was not that long ago (maybe a couple of years) that fondant bows were all the rage in the cake decorating world. They were showing up on cakes made to look like gift packages, on "girly" cakes and being used as wedding cake toppers. I do still see them from time to time, but not with the same frequency.
I enjoy making these all-edible fondant bows as decorations for my cakes and think they can turn an otherwise ordinary design into something impressive. They are not that difficult to make. I learned how to make them from various on-line and print tutorials along with a bit of trial and error. Here is a link to one of the on-line tutorials that helped me: Cakecentral's Bow Tutorial. In this tutorial, she uses a pasta machine to roll the fondant to a uniform thickness but I just roll it out with my fondant roller because I don't have a pasta roller.
Couple of tips: If you live in a humid climate like I do, you need to add either pre-made gumpaste to your fondant or mix some tylose powder (I use the tylose). This will help the bow loops to harden and not collapse on themselves. Fondant does not get along with high humidity.
I have seen some really talented cake decorators make their bow loops on wires. I tried that and I just could not get the hang of it. I prefer to make mine the way the above tutorial shows. I use candy melts to "glue" the pieces together. The candy melts harden pretty quickly when put in the refrigerator and I do that in between steps.
There are many different types of bows you can make.
Here is an example of a very simple bow made only with buttercream piped with a #104 petal tip.
One of the easier fondant bows is the 2 loop gift bow. I piped a buttercream stripe down the sides of this one to add some contrast.
A multi-loop bow like the one in the above tutorial link is very showy and impressive. I have made them with extra curlicue things like this one:
I have also made them with a texture on the bow loops like this:
This effect was done with a Wilton product that adds the texture as you are cutting the strip. One thing I learned about using this tool is I couldn't roll my fondant as thin as I usually do. The fondant has to be thick enough for the impression tool to make contact with the fondant. The thicker the fondant, the longer it takes to dry.
Bows can also be placed at the bottom of the cake, as an accent. This works especially well with simple 2-loop bows, like dressmakers bows. Here is one I added to a zebra stripe cake:
One of my favorite bows is the 4-loop, striped bow. The blue bow with yellow stripe at the top of this blog post is an example of one of these. That bow was made by cutting a separate yellow zig-zag strip and attaching it to the center of the blue bow loops and tails. Here is another example of the same type of bow:
This bow was made by rolling out the yellow loops a little thicker than I usually do, adding a skinny strip of green, then rolling it over again to press the colors together. It was finished off with a very easy fondant rose.
If you decorate cakes but have not yet attempted to make a fondant bow, give it a try.