Which Gumpaste to Use?
It’s that pesky question, “Which gumpaste do I use?” There really is no right answer. With so many different brands on the market, it can be very hard to choose.
I personally only have two preferences and each is dependent on what my project is.
For flowers, by far the very best Gumpaste I have ever used is Platinum Paste. It is a product out of Great Britain but they have a distributor in Bay City, Michigan, USA. (Avenues Sweet Choices) Having to order online from the US may seem rather inconvenient, but that inconvenience is far outweighed by the fabulous end result.
For Gumpaste characters, my preference is homemade and I will attach my recipe at the end of this post.
It rolls very very very thin. You can literally roll it out thin enough to see through and it will not tear. Thin petals mean a more realistic looking flower. You do not require cornstarch (cornflour) or vegetable shortening to prevent it from sticking. My essential tool however would be my silicon mat and I have never had any sticking problems.
Not having to use cornflour to prevent sticking means I do not have to try and dust off my petals after my flower or leaf is complete. I steam all my florals after they are complete so cornflour residue is not really an issue but it can be quite messy and I hate the clean up. Not using vegetable shortening means there is no oily residue that is going to stop my petals dusts from performing the way I want them to. Platinum paste drys fast enough that you can get to the final construction of your florals quicker. It dries solid but not brittle so even with thin petals, the material is surprisingly strong and resistant to cracks and chips.
For figures, as I mentioned before, I prefer to use homemade Gumpaste. I can control how quickly it dries by adding a bit of homemade or store bought fondant. For instance, if I am working on detailed faces, I want my paste to stay firm but moist until I get all of my details in. There is nothing more frustrating that starting out with a smooth face and after finishing the eyes and trying to move onto the mouth area, it is already drying and starting to crack and form elephant skin. No princess looks good in elephant skin.
Lots of decorators like to use a 50/50 mix of Gumpaste and Fondant but I feel your environment changes this a lot. It is very dry in Calgary, where I live, and especially during the winter I will move to more of the 50/50 mix. In the summer when there is more humidity in the air, this changes to more of a 75/25 mix. (75% being Gumpaste)
You could also make a “cheater gumpaste” by adding a bit of Tylose, GumTragacanthe, or GumTex to fondant. Add 1-2 tablespoons of Tylose powder to 1 pound of fondant. Rule of thumb says in Low humidity use less Tylose – High humidity more Tylose. Adding Tylose to your fondant allows it to dry solid and quickly. It’s great if you are in a bind and don’t have the time to make a batch of gumpaste.
I have also included a link at the end of this post that will direct you to a video showing how to turn your left over Royal Icing into a quick and great working Gumpaste.
Here is a list of a few gumpastes available in my area. Depending on where you are, you may have a more extensive variety. Experiment a bit until you find the one that suits you and your needs best. It really is just a personal preference.
Satin Ice Gumpaste 2 lb tub @ $13.99 Wht Only (Cake Mischief)
Confectioners Choice Gumpaste 2 lb tub @$14.95 Red/Blk/Wht (Flour Confections)
Bakels 6 oz. $6.49 Wht Only (PM Hobby Calgary)
McCalls Ready Made Gumpaste 300g $9.80 Wht Only (McCalls.ca)
Chocopan Gumpaste 2 lb tub @$12.99 USD (Avail online from US)
Wilton Gumpaste VariousColors 6 oz. $6.99 (Michaels)
Fondarific Gumpaste 1 lb tub $11.95 (Icing Inspirations)
Plantinum Paste 350g $23.50 Wht Only (Avenues Sweet Choices, USA)
Homemade Gumpaste Recipe (Makes 3 x 8oz bullets)
1 pound powdered sugar (icing sugar)
3 ½ oz. white cornsyrup (glucose)
2 Tbsp. Tylose Powder
3 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
Sift your sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer. Sprinkle the Tylose powder over top of the sugar and turn your mixer on low to stir this together well.
Pour the cornsyrup into the center of your powdered sugar being careful not drip any onto the sides of the bowl.
Mix the vinegar and water together and with your mixer on low, pour this into the dry mix. Once it forms a soft ball, turn out onto your work surface that has been sprinkled with powdered sugar. If mixture is sticky, put a bit of vegetable shortening on your hands and knead until you have a firm smooth ball of paste. If you mixture is very sticky, add small amounts of powdered sugar at a time being careful not to add too much, making your mixture excessively dry.
Divide the dough into three equal parts and tightly wrap in clingwrap. Store these “bullets” in the fridge in a Ziploc bag for up to 6 weeks.
Click below to Watch a short video tutorial on:
Check out some of your Gumpaste classes. They are fun and informative and I promise they will open up a whole new world for your cake decorating.