If you’re looking for a recipe to make homemade gum paste – you’re in the right place! This homemade gum paste recipe is remarkably easy to make, dries really fast, and can be rolled really thin for making sugar flowers or sugar bows, or other cake toppers!
Originally posted February 6, 2012.
As a general rule, I purchase Satin Ice Fondants and Satin Ice Gum Paste to keep on hand for my cake decorating needs.
However, I live in rural Mississippi and if I ever get into a pinch and don’t have premade gum paste on hand, I have to make it homemade. And honestly? I don’t mind at all because it’s so easy to put together.
Homemade Gum Paste Recipe
The first time I made this homemade gum paste recipe, I was amazed at how easy it was and how quickly it came together…. although you do have to make it a day ahead and let it rest for it to have the best texture!
It has great workability and I was really pleased with how well it compared to premade gum paste.
What is gum paste and what is gum paste made of?
If you’re not familiar with it, gum paste is a type of sugar paste most commonly used for making sugar flowers. It’s also called modeling paste, sugar paste, or flower paste, depending on where you are in the world.
It is edible, however, it’s not usually eaten because it dries really hard. It can also be rolled really thin, which is why it’s a great medium to use to make flower petals and leaves and other delicate cake decorations that need fine details.
Most gum paste is made with tylose or CMC powder, or gum tragacanth. The gum in the recipe is what makes the paste dry rock hard. It’s terrific when you need to model something and have it hold its shape, but because it dries so fast and hard, it’s also fragile if dropped.
Is gum paste the same as fondant?
No, it’s not the same. Fondant takes much longer to dry and never dries really hard. Fondant is also better-tasting – especially homemade marshmallow fondant! Gum paste does not taste as good, dries fast and rockhard, and doesn’t taste great.
Should I use gum paste or fondant?
There are situations where gum paste and fondant can be interchanged. But there are also situations where one or the other is clearly the better choice.
I use gum paste for any/all decorations that I need to dry hard, stand, or that need to be really thin. For instance, using gum paste to make sugar flowers yields much more life-like flowers than using fondant.
I’ve also tried using fondant for a bow. Sadly, I found that the loops would not dry hard enough to hold up. Instead, I now always use gum paste for making sugar bows, like the one above.
Some decorations can be modeled out of either medium – especially simple cake toppers or small sculpted figures for cakes. On this Alice in Wonderland cake above, I used fondant for the cards, the sugar pearls, the stopwatch, and even Alice’s legs, because they were on skewers for support.
However, the teacup and roses were made from gum paste. I needed the teacup to stand on its own and the rose petals are much more realistic when rolled thin.
One situation where I’d never use gum paste is to cover a cake in gum paste. When it dried hard, it would be terribly unappealing, very difficult to cut, and well… the taste is not all that appealing. Just don’t do it!
How long can homemade gum paste be stored?
Homemade gum paste has a really great shelf life. You won’t need any kind of special storage – simple plastic wrap and an airtight container will do. I either wrap it once and then place it in a bowl with a lid or wrap it with several layers of plastic wrap.
It can be kept at room temperature for up to a month. However, I prefer to keep it in the fridge where it will keep for up to 6 months. If you use smaller portions, you can wrap them in individual portions before placing them in the fridge.
Be sure to bring it to room temperature before you try to use it.
What can you make from gum paste?
Most often it’s used for sugar flowers. For me, not so much. But that’s only because my hands still hurt pretty often, even after my surgery, and making sugar flowers is very tedious and time-consuming work. For that reason, I usually buy sugar flowers pre-made and in bulk for my wedding cakes (see below).
But I still use it all the time for other small decorations and any time I need a decoration to dry hard or fast or both!
But there are so many other great reasons to use gum paste. Here are a few ways I use it:
How do you use gum paste?
Well, it depends on what you want to do with it. But the bare essentials are a clean work surface, a rolling pin (usually a small one), and cornstarch to keep it from sticking.
If you’re going to make character figures, you’ll want to work quickly. Keep any pieces you’re not currently shaping covered. That will prevent them from hardening before you can put it all together.
The same goes for making multiple petals that you want to put together into one flower. Keep them covered as much as possible. A gum paste storage board is a great investment if you plan to work with gum paste often.
Gum paste doesn’t really have a flavor, and since it’s not usually eaten, I don’t stress over adding any flavors. However, you can use gel pastes to make it any shade you need.
I also want to note that this gumpaste recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free.
Okay – are you ready for the recipe? See below!
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Easy, homemade gum paste to use for cake decorating and figure making.
- Pour the water into a small boiler and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Allow it to soften for about 5 minutes.
- Slowly heat the mixture, stirring until the gelatin is dissolved and you have a clear liquid. Do not allow it to boil! Turn off heat.
- Add the melted shortening and corn syrup. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Pour all but 2 cups of the powdered sugar into a large glass or plastic bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the gelatin/syrup mixture into the well and mix until the sugar is all combined.
- Dump the mixture out onto a surface (or silicone mat) that is lightly greased with shortening. Sprinkle the tylose powder over the paste and with greased hands, knead, incorporating all of the remaining powdered sugar and tylose.
- Continue kneading the dough until it forms a soft smooth ball. Add additional sugar as needed if your dough is still too sticky. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place into a Ziploc freezer bag. Allow to rest over night before using!
- Can be stored at room temperature for up to a month and in the fridge for up to 6 months. When ready to use, grease your hands, then warm small balls in the microwave no more than 10 seconds at a time to soften and bring to room temperature. Knead until smooth. Roll out and use!
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 10
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Stove-top
- Cuisine: American
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