How to make homemade gum paste for cake decorating

Written by jessica briggs
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How to make homemade gum paste for cake decorating
Gum paste can help you create delicate decorations for your cake. (Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

Gum paste is a malleable, edible dough for making realistic models of flowers, leaves and other items as cake decorations. It's used often in cake decoration because it can be rolled out thinner than fondant, which allows you to mould it more delicately than you can fondant. However, gum paste still retains a bit of flexibility and is ulikely to break. The vital ingredient of gum paste can be hard to find, but you should be able to locate its synthetic version at arts and craft shops.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 750 ml (3 cups) icing sugar
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) gum tragacanth, tex gum or tylose powder
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) liquid glucose
  • 1 packet unflavoured gelatin
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon

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  1. 1

    Pour 1 litre (4 tbsp) of lukewarm water into your mixing bowl and dissolve the packet of gelatin into it.

  2. 2

    Stir the glucose into the gelatin and water mixture. If the room you are working in is cool, microwave the glucose for 20 to 30 seconds to loosen it. Stir in the glucose until you have a uniform mixture.

  3. 3

    Add in the gum tragacanth, gum tex or tylose powder. Then stir in the sugar, 250 ml (1 cup) at a time, until you have a soft and sticky dough.

  4. 4

    Place the dough into a sealable plastic bag and seal it, trying to push out as much air as possible. Let it rest overnight.

  5. 5

    Knead a bit of icing sugar into your dough to stiffen if it's too soft or sticky for you to work with. Roll it out thin and use cutters or cake tools to create your decorations.

Tips and warnings

  • To colour the gum paste, add a bit of powdered or gel food colouring at a time. Do so slowly until you achieve the colour you want. Do not use liquid food colouring as it will dilute and soften the gum paste, preventing it from hardening.
  • If you'd like to flavour your gum paste, substitute 5 ml (1 tsp) of flavoured extract for 5 ml (1 tsp) of the water. Don't simply add the extract because it will change the consistency of your dough. Vanilla and almond extract generally work well in gum paste.

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