Cake Decorating Blog

Modeling Chocolate vs. Fondant vs. Gum Paste: What’s the Difference?

They’re all big contenders when it comes to the world of cake decorating. But what exactly are each of these three confectionery concoctions? Here’s a brief primer…

Fondant vs. Modeling Chocolate vs. Gum Paste Infographic


Generally when it comes to cake decorating, rolled fondant is the type in question. Rolled fondant is a pliable, dough-like icing which is popular for use on occasion cakes. It is made of sugar, water, gelatin and food-grade glycerine. Its smooth appearance gives cakes a polished look, and rolled fondant is also flexible and workable enough to mold into shapes, which is very effective for decorating cakes.

Find an easy fondant recipe here.

Gum paste

Like fondant, gum paste is a pliable dough which is often used for cake decorating. However, instead of gelatin it is made using egg whites, confectioners’ sugar, and shortening. It can be rolled quite thin and is ideal for creating hand-modeled flowers or other intricate decorations. While fondant will remain soft, gum paste dries quite hard and is better suited for decoration on a cake than for, say, covering an entire cake.

Find an easy gum paste recipe here.

Modeling chocolate

This is a chocolate paste made by melting chocolate and combining it with corn syrup or simple syrup and then kneaded until it reaches a stiff, pliable consistency. Used like clay, this modeling chocolate can be molded into a variety of shapes that are not as easily performed with the softer fondant. Modeling chocolate can be made from white, dark, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate. White chocolate is the easiest type to tint in colors.

Find an easy modeling chocolate recipe here.

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Sharon Phelps

I need to make an axe for a cake topper, which would be better to use fondant or modeling chocolate? The axe will need to look as if suspended above the cake! Thanks for your help.


A mixture of both.Fondant for a ax piece and modeling chocolate for the handle.Good luck.


Which of the three would be best fir a silicone mold?


Hi Sue! I am not a professional I just bake for fun. From my experience if you have to work with silicone molds your best bet is gum paste. You put the gum paste in the mold and after a minute you release it and that’s it. It might still be a little bit soft but it will hold its shape and it will dry completely outside the mold keeping the shape.
Good luck!

Evan Lambert

I have a three years old son. And I want to make a 5kg chocolate cake for his birthday. Can I use modeling chocolate for making ruffles? Please suggest me. Which is better Modeling Chocolate or fondant?


If I am looking to make cake decoration ahead of time, which is better to use…fondant or gum paste? And how long will it keep? How far ahead of time can I make my decorations? I’m worried about fondant drying out and cracking, but I don’t know much about gum paste when it comes to how shelf-stable it is after being molded…..

Pamela Kennedy

I’ve made gumpaste flowers weeks ahead of need and store them in tissue in boxes in my closet. I just looked at the ones leftover from my daughter’s May wedding cake and they are perfect still. Caution: I made a 100th Birthday tiered cake for 100 but could not attend the neighbor’s party and had to deliver the cake to the venue the day before, decorated. Well 24 hours later the gumpaste flowers and leaves had wilted! Either from moisture from the 100%buttercream icing or because the catering manager covered the box with plastic film.

Susan Bednarczyk

Which is better to use fondant or modeling chocolate to make cardinals on the sides of the birthday cake? Would like to make decorations a few days early. It will be warm and cake will be refrigerated.


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