Stiffer than fondant, gum paste sculpts and holds cake decorations effortlessly, creating beautiful adornments in a variety of shapes and sizes. While learning to sculpt with gum paste can be a time consuming process, some shapes and decorations are fairly easy to make. Gum paste flowers can be made by even the most inexperienced decorator, letting you learn the craft and get comfortable with the medium before you take on more challenging images.
Working with Gum Paste
Gum paste is a very stiff, fast drying type of sugar icing. It’s very similar to fondant in composition, but it hardens completely, rather than remaining soft, so you can create three dimensional decorations that don’t soften or wilt over time. If you’ve ever taken a course in cake baking or decorating, you may have learned to work with fondant as a way to ice and decorate your cakes. Gum paste is similar, but much stiffer and more difficult to work with.
Because gum paste dries out so quickly, it can take some getting used to when you first begin to work with it. Plan on rolling out and working with only a small amount at a time. Keep the rest of it beneath plastic that has been draped in a wet towel until you are ready for it. Don’t get it wet, however, as this will cause it dissolve, rather than soften back up. If you are working quickly and want a few pieces to remain accessible, set them on the work surface near you and overturn a bowl on them. This will help keep the pieces from drying out too quickly, while keeping them nearby and accessible while you work.
Creating Simple Gum Paste Flowers
Gum paste doesn’t have to be used strictly for ornate or elaborate creations; it can also be used for things like very simple flowers. Use these delicate flowers to cover the sides of cakes, as a cluster on top of a cake, or group several of them together into a tiny bouquet.
- Ready made gum paste
- Rose or violet icing color
- Green icing color
- Plastic wrap
- Leaf and blossom icing cutters
- Sharp knife
- Thin sheet of foam
- Aluminum foil
- Yellow icing
- Piping bag
- Small tip
- Divide the gum paste in half. Set one half aside.
- Tint the gum paste with green icing color to get the desired color for the leaves.
- Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap on your work surface and place a small amount of the green gum paste on top.
- Place a second sheet of plastic wrap on top of the gum paste, and press out the paste between the sheets of plastic until flat.
- Remove the top sheet of plastic and use the leaf cutter to cut out several leaf shapes.
- Use the edge of the spoon to gently press leaf lines and imprints onto each leaf.
- Crumple up a piece of aluminum foil and drape the finished leaves over it to let them dry in a variety of shapes.
- Tint the remaining gum paste with the desired color for the petals.
- Set the tinted gum paste on a sheet of plastic and cover it with a second sheet.
- Press out the paste until flat, and remove the top sheet.
- Use the blossom cutter to cut out some small flower shapes from the paste.
- Use a very sharp knife to slice the paste between the petals, leaving an intact circle in the center.
- Mold the edges of the petals on the round edge of the spoon to give them a realistic appearance.
- Pipe a small amount of yellow icing into the center of each flower.
- Transfer the flowers to the aluminum foil to dry.
- Dust the flowers and leaves with cornstarch to assist them in drying evenly.
Creating Complex Gum Paste Flowers
If you want to create a more complex or ornate gum paste flower, consider making these gum paste roses. This method allows you to add as many petals to the rose as you want to make it a rose bud, or a fully blown rose. You can also use two colors of petals if you desire to help create a unique bloom. Once you’ve made a few, consider learning how to paint some 3-D roses to complement them.
- Gum paste
- Icing color
- Sugar glue
- Plastic wrap
- Roll a small amount of paste into a cone. The larger the cone, the larger your finished flower.
- Tint some paste the desired color of your flower and set a small amount out on a piece of plastic wrap.
- Place a second sheet of plastic over it, and press it out into the shape of a flower petal. Make sure your petal is slightly larger than the cone.
- Brush a small amount of sugar glue onto the bottom of the petal and wrap it around the cone.
- Repeat with a few more petals, making sure you cover the cone completely.
- Gradually begin making the petals that you wrap around the cone larger so they simulate the appearance of a rose bud.
- Take a few finished petals before you apply them to the flower and Mold their edges around the spoons so when you apply them to the flower they fold backwards like an opening rose.
- Repeat until your rose reaches the desired size.
Create Some Gum Paste Flowers
Once you’ve made a few gum paste flowers, you’ll begin to get familiar enough with this medium to take on other types of creations. Experiment with different flower shapes, layering petals for a three dimensional effect, or begin to sculpt animals, people, and figurines. You may even want to take a course in cake decorating to learn more techniques, or a course in marketing a home based food business to help sell your creations to others. There’s no limit to the things you can create with gum paste once you get started; consider trying out these simple techniques for making a few flowers. Once you begin, you may just find yourself embarking on a whole new hobby.