Also - gum paste is a little more forgiving then fondant when it comes to creating figures. If I mess up a figure with either modeling medium I have to wad it up and start over. Sugar dries - as we mentioned before - and it is useful sometimes to have powder (in the form of powdered sugar or corn starch) on the mat I am creating on so that the figures don't stick - if they do stick then I have to tug on them to pick them up and they easily stretch out of shape (imagine playdoh). After wading up a piece of fondant that has been touching a powder you are also adding in the powder that is attached - thus causing the fondant to dry out a bit more. You can counter this by adding a little smidge of shortening or butter (very little), but still you are altering the original texture.
Gum paste doesn't seem to stick to the mat as much - so I can create more without using a powder substance to keep it from sticking. Thus when I mess a form up..........and let's just say that happens with every new thing I create....because the cake pops have now proven I am not perfect every time. With the gum paste I can wad it up - use it - wad it - use it. Not forever of course - but for a little longer then the fondant.
One additional pro for gumpaste over fondant for making figures - you can roll it out MUCH thinner!! Fondant will tend to tear if you roll it out too thin - or crack - or break after it has dried a bit and you try to move it. Gum paste has more elasticity to it. This stretchability (my word - yes you can copy it) helps when you are making roses, flowers, or other things that you mess with to give edges shape. Gum paste also costs a bit less to make - but oddly if you buy it at the store it costs more to buy. Weird huh?
Now in covering a cake - I would go fondant. It is softer in my opinion and easier to place over the cake. Tastes a bit more like icing. I know there are lots of folks who say.....ick fondant tastes awful. Well most likely the person who made your cake did it with store bought fondant. I am always amazed that people doing cakes don't just make their own fondant. Easy to make - and you can flavor it. I make 5lbs for half the cost you buy it at a store. Yes I know - convenience.......that is a whole other blog.
There are tons more Fondant vs Gumpaste issues in my head - but I can stumble into them later. Personally I was resistant to gumpaste - for no reason other then I was getting good at fondant and not wanting to add another trick to my bag. Now I am seeing that there are definite pro's and con's on both sides.
Penguin cupcakes were a hoot to make. And they were fun because it taught me I am getting better at moulding things. They went to one of our Boy Scout families. The Birthday Boy had recently done a project on penguins and he is currently in love with them. Fun!! Learning and Cakes combined with Birthday - LOVE IT!
These were Chocolate & White cake cupcakes with a Vanilla Buttercream icing.