What makes gumpaste different from other pastes is the addition of a special ingredient – a gum – to add strength and flexibility to it, so that it can be rolled out much thinner than your average fondant, resulting into a more realistic cake decor. This important ingredient makes the gumpaste stretchable and elastic, just like the consistency of a gum. Gumpaste decorations are valued more for their appearance rather than for their taste.
Where to Use It
Gumpaste is, more often than not, used to make decorative flowers, that’s why it is also known as flower paste. You can make roses, daisies, and calla lilies, and many other flowers. As a cake decorator, you will need a tremendous amount of patience and pay close attention to even the smallest of detail when making flowers out of gumpaste. You need to attach petals, stamens, and leaves together until you form the sugar flower. Aside from flowers, you also use it for bone-dry cake decorations and three-dimensional cake toppers. Here are some useful gumpaste tips that will surely come in handy while working on your decorations.
- Check out the temperature first before working since gumpaste is highly sensitive to heat and humidity. Use more dusting powder if the weather is too humid to incorporate moisture back into the gumpaste.
- Get the amount that you need for the decoration, and then keep any of the unused portion that you are not immediately working on under wraps so it won’t dry out.
- Before you begin making the decorations, knead your gumpaste thoroughly until it is soft and smooth to the touch, so that it will be easy to roll out.
- Gumpaste is always white to begin with, so you need to add color to this paste in order to bring your cake decorations to life. A small amount goes a long way, so in order to control the amount of color you are putting into the paste, use a toothpick to dip into the color and then wipe it into the paste. Begin kneading the gumpaste in order to evenly distribute the color all throughout.
- Instead of cornstarch, use vegetable shortening when kneading so that the gumpaste won’t have cracks and won’t become brittle.
- Here are some of the basic tools you need to have on hand when decorating using gum paste:
- Petal cutters. Use cutters to come up with uniform shapes. These come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in either plastic or metal, although the latter cuts sharper edges than the former.
- Real leaves. If you are going for a more authentic look, you can press your gumpaste into a real leaf for a realistic design.
- Ball tool and veining tool. Modeling tools give a finished and professional appearance to your cake decorations. Achieve naturally-shaped petals with soft curves and ruffled edges with the use of the ball tool. To achieve this, you must hold the ball tool like you would a pencil. Use it to thin out the edges of petals by sliding the balled end around the petal. The harder pressure you use on the ball, the more pronounced the ruffling will be. The veining tool, on the other hand, adds texture to petals and leaves, resulting to a more authentic look.
- Foam pad. This provides you with a firm surface to work on so that you can easily mold, thin out, and soften the edges of petals and leaves.
- Florist wires, floral tape, wire cutters, and long nose pliers. These tools come in very handy during detail work, especially when making flower sprays out of gumpaste.
- Petal dust. Aside from the food color you added while kneading the gumpaste, you can add color dusts to sugar flowers in order to give them a more realistic look. Choose from a wide variety of pastel and bold colors. Choose from petal dust, luster dust, and pearl dust, depending on the effect you want to achieve.
- Paintbrush. You will need to use a fine brush to apply glue and petal dust on your sugar flowers.
- Flower formers. A curved plastic platform that allows you to dry your sugar flowers and other decorations. Its curved shape makes it easy to dry the flowers while retaining their concave or convex shapes. If not available, you can use empty egg cartons.
- When sticking your decorations together, use gum glue or water sparingly. Use a brush to control the amount of glue applied on the gumpaste.
- Once finished, give the decorations enough time to dry completely. Dry them overnight before storing to prevent cracking and to remove moisture. Put them in a container and store at a cool, dry place rather than in a refrigerator to prevent them from cracking as well as absorbing the smell of the other food in the refrigerator.
By following these gumpaste tips, you should be able to turn out beautifully handcrafted decorations made from gumpaste in no time at all! For a quick homemade gumpaste recipe, click here!