How to Make Gum Paste from Scratch

gum paste from scratchIf you are just a budding home baker looking to branch out of your comfort zone and enter the wonderful world of cake decorating, one of the very first things you will need to figure out is how to use gum paste to decorate your cake. Gum paste is one of the very basic forms of cake decorating, and is something you need to master if you want to elevate your cake decorating into an art form. Mastering this basic skill is necessary before moving on to the more complicated and more intricate cake decorative designs.

You can actually buy store-bought gum paste, but it won’t feel the same way as making gum paste from scratch. Creating your own batch is cheaper, too, and it yields a product that is easier to turn into decorations. Making gum paste from scratch looks deceptively simple enough to do, and yet there are complexities involved in the process. Once you get the hang of it, though, the sky is the limit, and you would be able to come up with your own floral designs to match the cake that you had in mind.

Gum paste, also known as florist paste, is used to decorate your cake with realistic sugary flowers and figures. The dough out of the gum paste can be rolled out very thinly, and it holds its shape pretty well, making it the ideal method to use for sugar flowers.

The one disadvantage of gum paste is that it dries quickly into a hard and brittle surface. Sure, it is still edible enough to eat, but it won’t be all that tasty compared to fondant. It is not recommended to use this to cover your cake, either, and you are better off using this as a garnish to set off your cake base instead.

Earlier, we said that making gum paste from scratch is deceptively simple enough to do. What actually makes the whole process complicated is in the ingredients, such as gum tragacanth. Gum tragacanth is the ingredient that makes the gum paste more malleable and putty in your hands. You might have difficulty finding this at your supermarket, but you can source this ingredient at your local bakery supplies store. Another alternative to gum tragacanth is Tylose powder. Others prefer this to gum tragacanth because it is cheaper, whiter in appearance, and holds up pretty well despite the humidity.

Gum Paste Using Tylose Powder

What You Will Need:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 4 cups of sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 12 teaspoons of Tylose powder
  • 4 teaspoons of shortening

How to Do It:

  1. Place the egg whites in a mixer and then beat it for 10 seconds at a high speed.
  2. Turn the mixer into its lowest speed setting, and then slowly add in the confectioners’ sugar. Don’t put everything in, and set aside 1 cup for later.
  3. Turn the speed up a notch higher for about 2 minutes. At this point, make sure that it is at its “soft peak,” meaning the peaks should fall all over.
  4. Turn the mixer into a slow setting once again, while at the same time spreading the Tylose powder into the mixture. Note that you should sprinkle, and not dump the entire thing into the mixture to prevent clumping. This powder should thicken things up.
  5. Spread the remaining sugar into a clean surface. Scrape out the paste from the mixing bowl and put it into your surface.
  6. Put some shortening into your hands, and get to work by kneading the paste into a soft dough. Once you pinch the dough and your hands come away clean, it is good to go!
  7. Put the dough away in a double ziplocked bag and in an airtight container, and place it in your refrigerator for the next 24 hours. The dough will be good to use for the next 6 months.
  8. Before using the dough, allow enough time for it to adjust to the room temperature. Put some vegetable shortening on your fingers before you begin kneading the dough again.

Gum Paste Using Gum Tragacanth

What You Will Need:

  • 4 cups of sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon and ½ teaspoon of gum tragacanth
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid glucose
  • 1 tablespoon of shortening
  • 1 packet of gelatin, unflavored

How to Do It:

  • In a container, add the gelatin in the water, making sure it’s completely dissolved.
  • Add the liquid glucose next.
  • Add 3 cups of the confectioners’ sugar and the gum tragacanth.
  • Mix everything together.
  • Knead the mixture into a clean surface using the leftover sugar until it does not feel sticky at all.

That’s all there is to it when making gum paste from scratch! If you want to try your hand in making fondant from scratch, click here.

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