Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gumpaste Vs. Sugarpaste

As you might know I teach cake decorating classes in one of the leading cooking schools in Israel. 
In my basic course the second meeting involves sculpting a woman. 

I׳ve been teaching this course for quite some time and I always use Gumpaste for sculpting, just as I do for my own cake figures and decorations.

 However, no matter how much I stress the superiority of Gumpaste over Sugarpaste, for sculpting, designing and delicate intricate work, I always get the same question from my students, can't I use Sugarpaste in another method or form?

Well for starters you can use whatever you want, but if you want a good looking figure, a delicate flower or intricate lace pieces, I truly recommend using Gumpaste. 

If you are not familiar with the difference between the two pastes, here is my explanation: 

I compare Sugarpaste to a farmer:  he works long and hard, he does rough tasks, that must be done properly but without too much attention to delicacy or design. 

Gumpaste is similar to a royal family member. They are very delicate, they wear lace and silks and diamonds. They are all about beauty and design. They want perfect accuracy and decorations. 

If you keep that in mind you can understand the difference between the two.

One of my wedding cakes,
the decor and couple are made of

Sugarpaste for cake covering and Gumpaste for decor and sculpting.

That is all good and dandy, but I do have one exception I tell my students: What if you want to sculpt or create sugar flowers, you don't have Gumpaste and you have no desire to go to the store, or you can't go because your snowed in or just too tired?

We'll this consists as an emergency in my book :) 
In this case you can add some Gum tragacanth, Taylose, or CMC. These are powders used to stiffen your paste while adding a stretch quality to it. 
Add 1-2 tea spoons of any one of these powders to your Sugarpaste , knead well and let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour, prior to using.
The paste will be stiffer than regular Sugarpaste, thus fitting for basic design work. 
But, this paste will never have the same qualities Gumpaste has. 
That is why I recommend having Gumpaste or making your own. 

Here is A very good Gumpaste recipe I use for my sugar flowers:

Alan Dunn's Gumpaste recipe

5 tsp cold water,
2 tsp powdered gelatine,
18 oz confectioners' sugar (sifted)
3 tsp gum tragacanth
2 tsp liquid glucose,
3 tsp white vegetable fat plus an extra tsp to be added later
1 large fresh egg white 

Mix the water and gelatine in a small bowl and leave to stand for 30mins. Sift the icing sugar and gum tragacanth together into the bowl of your heavy duty mixer. 

Place the gelatine/water mix over a pan of hot water and stir till the gelatine has dissolved. 
Add the glucose and vegetable fat to the gelatine and water mixture and keep heating until everything has dissolved. Add this mixture to the icing sugar and egg white and start beating in the lowest speed then slowly turn the speed up to high till the paste is stringy and white. 
Take the paste from the bowl and knead together. Cover using the extra tsp of vegetable fat to stop it crusting and place in a plastic bag inside an airtight container. 
Let the paste rest for 12 hrs before using.
Keep in the fridge.

I'd love to see your cake designs!
if you send me good qulity photos i'll portray it in the blog!

Till next time, cake away!'


1 comment:

  1. Thanks Sharon for this educative post. I am giving this recipe a try. Cheers



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