Introduction: Make a Fondant Puffin

About: Artist at Autodesk's Pier 9. I make narrative paintings on wood panels and have a background in performance, mail and video art. I love tacos.

Here is an entry level, super easy to make, fondant bird.

This cake is perfect if you have a friend nicknamed Puffin, who is into Mondrian and celebrating her birthday.

You can also use your puffin cake topper to celebrate the birthday of all sorts of other people: someone who is into puffins in general, aquatic mammal fans, embarking North Atlantic cruise ship tourists, due paying Audubon society members, Planet Earth watchers, Icelandic friends, and of course- Ornithologists.

If you make two of these you could even celebrate a wedding. Of two ornithologists. Maybe they fell in love at an ornithology conference? It happens. And when it does, you'll be ready.

The puffin topper is versatile and resilient. I flew with it in a cup, with tissue, in my purse, for a friend's birthday. Airport security allows for all manners of fondant decor to pass through, I guess.

The cake was ordered at a bakery on location; cakes don't handle flights that well.

Yes, puffins can fly! 50 miles mph!

Cakes ? Not so much.

Step 1: Ingredients and Tools

This is fondant from a box! It's really easy to use and relatively stress free.There is much discussion to be had on the edible merits of fondant. It's not the most meritorious, and that's a pretty hard word to spell. You don't have to eat everything that's edible. My friend Nick does; he loves straight up, unflavored sugar. For others, it is best to treat this as straight up, unflavored sugar.

  • 1 box of white fondant. I used Wilton
  • Gel food coloring
  • Rolling pin. I used one just for fondant but any rolling pin or even a bottle works.
  • Toothpicks


  • Fondant drying out? Use a smudge of vegetable shortening.
  • Fondant sticking to your hands? Use a smattering of powdered sugar
  • Fondant not calling you back after three days? Move on. You deserve to be with fondant that treats you right!

Step 2: Make Your Puffin Components

After looking at puffin photos on the internet for a good three hours; I knew what a puffin looked like and I was probably put on a list somewhere...of avian enthusiasts.

  • Knead a good chunk of fondant. I made my puffin about the size of a fist.
  • Separate your fondant into five balls for coloring. Over 1/3 of this will be colored black for the body.
  • To color the fondant, put on gloves. I use toothpicks to dip into the gel colors and gradually knead in more color to the fondant until it's the right shade. Making a rich black takes a lot of food coloring. You can buy pre-colored black fondant if you plan to make a gigantic puffin.

You will make:

  • <snicker>
  • Black: one ball for the body, medium for head, two for wings, and two for eyes
  • White: two balls for chest and head
  • Orange: two balls for feet and one medium ball for beak
  • Yellow: one small ball for the middle of beak
  • Blue: one tiny ball for tip of beak
  • </snicker>

Shape your pieces:

  • Round out the balls a little bit more. For the wings and feet create a tear drop shape by rolling the fondant back and forth with the tip of your finger.
  • Make a similar tear drop shape for the white areas of the puffin's body and roll it out. This will be his chest fur.
  • Make a flattened heart shape and roll it out for the puffin's face .

Step 3: Assemble Puffin

If you have edible glue, you can use that to stick the fondant. You can also use a beaten egg white. I use water combined with positive thinking because I am lazy. If you lightly wet the fondant and watch for it to get tacky, some of the sugar will dissolve and you can get it to bond a little bit. Prodding with a toothpick is helpful.

  • Attach the head to the body by placing a toothpick in the middle of both and very lightly wetting the areas where the two round connect.
  • Attach the white face and body pressing firmly along the edges.
  • Roll the three beak circles into a cylinder shape, flatten the sides and shape the orange tip of his beak downward.
  • Using a toothpick, make two tiny indentations for where you want the puffin's eyes to go. Pick up a little water with the tip of the tooth pick and fill the dots. Drop the eyeballs in place and flatten out with finger.
  • Flatten out your wings and attach with water, you can use the back of your fingernail to sculpt it into the puffin's back for security.
  • With your toothpick go over the edges where the white fur meets the black body in a short smearing motion. this will help attach it. You can also do this around the eyes in smaller strokes if your eyes have not stuck on enough.
  • Stick a tooth pick in the beak to attach it to the face
  • Wrap a birthday candle in the puffin's arm
  • With your toothpick seperate the puffin's toes, you can nudge these into lightly bulbous toe shapes. Break a toothpick in half to use to attach the feet to the body
  • As a final touch, two itty bitty white fondant dots can be smeared on the eyes to give it that twinkly anime vibe.
  • Keep your puffin on his back until dry. It should dry over night, but I like to give it a couple of days so that it is rock hard and nothing is going to break off. Your weak point here is the beak.

Now you may fly anywhere with your puffin and make birthday joy come true. Perhaps you could even make a wedding cake for puffin enthusiasts! Avian ecologists! Left-Handed marine habitat preservationists! You are only limited by your imagination and your circle of ornithologists you owe favors to!