Here at Sugarshack, we pride ourselves on getting the essentials right, so that no matter what the occasion, whether it’s a wedding or a themed birthday, we have the ideal cake decorating supplies for you and your family, now you can create your very own carnival wherever you are!
There are several types of ‘paste’ available to use in your cake decorating, but they mainly fall into three groups; sugarpaste, modelling paste and flower paste. Each has its own unique purpose, and as you travel along your cake decorating journey you will probably use each of them at some point. If you are new to cake decorating, start with sugar paste as this is the most forgiving of the pastes. Practice basic modelling with this, and as you learn to manipulate the dough, move onto the faster drying pastes.
In the past, almost all cakes would have been covered in a coat of protective royal icing, with delicate and intricate piped patterns. Today, there are many sugar based pastes available, including sugarpaste, flower paste, modelling paste and pastillage, enabling cake decorators to create bigger and bolder cakes than ever before.
Celebration cakes can be covered in a variety of ingredients including buttercream, ganache and fondant icing, but probably the most common covering is sugarpaste. Sometimes referred to as rolled fondant, it is a sugar based dough that is rolled out and smoothed over the prepared sponge. It not only protects the cake from drying out, but also provides a smooth finish, which dries to a light crust, enabling you to paint and decorate your cake without damaging the surface.
Sugarpaste is available in a spectrum of colours for your convenience. You can buy it ready coloured, or add gel or paste colours to white sugarpaste to colour your own. A word to the wise - if you need a large amount of red, black or another very deep colour, it is often better to buy it than try to mix it. Available in individually wrapped bags from 100g up to 2.5kg, it is ready to use straight from the packet. Once open, lightly knead the dough before rolling out on a surface dusted with icing sugar to prevent it sticking. A depth of 5mm is perfect for covering a cake, this is thick enough for a good finish and looks nice when cut. If you are new to cake decorating rolling pin guide rings will help you with this. Any air bubbles can be popped with a pin and smoothed out. Unused paste can be stored wrapped in cling film and in an airtight container.
Sugarpaste is soft and flexible and designed for cake covering, but can be made firmer with the addition of CMC or gum tragacanth. These are powders that will stiffen the paste and allow it to be used for some modelling and 3-dimensional decoration, but it will not dry as hard as modelling paste or flower paste.
Modelling paste is much firmer, and will hold its shape with more definition than sugarpaste. Perfect for creating models, such as the bride and groom for the top of that special cake, or anything that needs some extra strength. Modelling paste will, over a couple of days dry completely hard, and creations can be made and stored well in advance. Modelling paste is available in white which can be coloured in the same way as sugarpaste, and a range of colours including silver and gold!
Flower paste, sometimes referred to as gum paste is a firmer paste still, with a consistency of a dense stretchy gum, and can be rolled very fine due to its elasticity. It is available in resealable packets from 100g to 1kg. As the name suggests flower paste is most commonly used in sugar flower making, but is also perfect for making shoes and can be used to model intricate figurines. Not only can it be rolled very fine, but it also dries quickly retaining its shape, perfect for delicate petals and leaves. When rolling flower paste you should use a smear of white vegetable fat such as Trex to prevent it sticking to the board, icing sugar will affect the consistency of the flower paste making it more brittle. Dried flower paste is as fragile as it is fine, if knocked or dropped the flower will break so care must be taken when storing and transporting items made from flower paste.
Pastillage is the king of construction in cake making, if you want to make a structure that is self-supporting and strong such as castle turrets and stairs, or a 3D baby’s crib this is the product for you, but be careful - you will need to work quickly! It starts to dry in a matter of minutes, forming a crust and supporting your creation. Ensure you have all tools and templates you need to hand before getting started, because once dry, pastillage is the strongest paste of them all. Available in 250g bags, the dry powder is ready to make up at home and can be coloured in the preparation stage. Colour can also be added to the soft dough but it is recommended to colour during preparation. Any unused pastillage can be stored well wrapped in the freezer.
If you would like to learn more on how to use these pastes, why not have a look at one of our classes? Held in our cake school in London, our patient tutors will teach you step by step everything you need to know to ensure success.
At Sugarshack, our aim is to offer a full and complete range of quality cake decorating equipment and ingredients. We are constantly evolving and expanding our range to meet the exacting requirements of our valued customers, and it is this demand and appreciation that makes us strive daily to be able to offer you the widest range at the most competitive prices available. We are an independent family run business and have always understood that it is you the customer that helps define who we are, and in what direction we are moving.
All our stocked sugarpaste, modelling paste and flower pastes are available both online at www.sugarshack.co.uk and in-store at our famous London showroom.
Please always feel free to call or chat to us online on our 24/7 live chat. Alternatively, you can pop into the showroom for a tea and maybe join us in our dedicated classroom to brush up on existing skills - or even learn some new ones.
These pastes are available to our wholesale customers too. Please let us know if you are looking at starting up your very own business and we will help you cost up all the essentials from the cake boards and drums, to the boxes and sugar pastes. Whether it be trade customers or helping you find the best prices on your bulk orders, we are always happy to consider all options to find the solution that best suit your needs.
Baking with sugar paste and flower paste can produce some truly spectacular looking cakes and treats. From delicious fondants to pretty sugar pastes in a range of colours and flavours you can really bring your cakes to life.