For any celebration, giving a cake a topper gives it that extra something. Even better if you can make it edible! I really enjoyed making this Peter Rabbit topper as it wasn’t just a topper, it was part of a whole Peter Rabbit scene. That’s why I’ve now decided to add it to my collection!
What are cake toppers made from and what do you need
Firstly, you need to look at what you are going to make your character with. I like to use sugar-paste (aka modelling paste) as it is more flexible than fondant and dries without cracking and becoming brittle.
I know some of you will find fondant more readily available, so I have a way you can easily turn this into modeling-paste; just add a teaspoon of tylose powder (for every 500g of fondant) and voila – modeling-paste! You can pick up tylose powder easily and cheaply online and a little pack will last you a long time. Just roll out your fondant, sprinkle the powder on, and then knead it in.
So let’s get into it…
Research your Peter Rabbit Cake topper
You can never be over-prepared, so get researching and planning how you want your Peter Rabbit to look.
Get the image straight in your head; you need to know every detail. There’s no way you will make a good looking Peter Rabbit if you’re not 100% familiar with him. What colour is his jacket? Does it have pockets? How does he hold his ears? Are they pink inside, or cream? What shape is his fluffy tail? Pinterest is your friend here; you’ll be able to find official character images as well as pictures of other people’s makes for inspiration.
I found my inspiration from Pinterest and made a page dedicated to this cake. Don’t just pin cakes and topper pictures either; I took inspiration from some felt crafts as well.
When you have decided what your Peter Rabbit is going to look like, you can start getting inspiration and ideas for how to decorate your cake around him. Remember, it’s not just a rabbit sitting on an empty cake. I chose to have Peter in an allotment setting alongside fence posts and vegetables too, but what about adding other Beatrix Potter characters or some little bunny friends!
During this research phase, plan how you are going to incorporate your personalised elements. I wanted to include Coco’s name and age on the cake and there are so many options for how to do this. You can have it on a blank section of icing or make the letters and numbers stand up in 3D. There are also fun ways to add these details into the scene itself! I decided to put Coco’s age on a little wooden signpost, so that it was part of the scene.
Making the cake topper:
Once you have the design straight in your head, it’s time to make it (the fun bit!). I like to make the centerpieces first as I can then create the rest of the cake around the character. I broke Peter down into smaller shapes starting with the body, appendages then head and he gradually took shape.
Once you have your character, you can make all of your other decorations like the fence posts, vegetables and pots. I like to make all of these sugarpaste items in advance so that they can dry and firm up before I work with them.
Note: make sure you use modelling paste if you’re making decorations in advance, as the fondant will become brittle when it dries and crack when you try to work with it.
Bringing your topper together with your cake
Now it’s time to make your cake; for this one, I did a vegan chocolate cake but you can do anything you like. Once you have the cake baked and butter-creamed, you can start to decorate. Get your base icing on there; I decided I’d like the sides to be a different colour so that the green on top looked more like a separate lawn, so I iced them separately. I made little fondant stones to ring the lawn, just for a nice finish. The blue on the sides matched Peter’s jacket as I find two or three main colours are more than enough on any cake.
Next, pop your character in pride of place atop your cake. What you can do is secure it with a lollipop stick right through the middle if you need some extra stability. Now it’s time to arrange the rest of the scene. I started with the fence panels around the side of the cake, putting the gate just off-center as I wanted the focus on Coco’s name above and not the gate. Next, I then moved to the top of the cake where the vegetable patch. I rustled up some edible soil (secret recipe!) and nestled the vegetables in there, then added the finishing touches like the signpost and the little terracotta pots.
The final touch was Coco’s name on the front. I left this until last so that I could ensure it was properly centered under the scene above. I always find lettering on the side of the cake rather fiddly so I used a ruler to make sure I set the letters straight.
Some final dusting with a soft paintbrush to remove any stray icing sugar, and voila!