If you’re planning on making a fantastic cake for that someone special, you’re going to want to go all out. Nothing could be more awesome than a giant cake, decorated with thought and care that you have made yourself. Far from being daunting, it’s actually really easy to do it yourself. If you’ve never baked before, check out this course on fun cake decorating and learn how easy it is.
Once you’ve got your canvas, a cake to decorate, you are going to need decorations. The easiest way to build tiny sculptures for a cake is to use sugar paste. Using this mixture that looks a little bit like plaster-of-paris, you can create almost anything imaginable for the cake, whether it’s flowers, bows or leaves – or even a set of miniature zombies! You could even use them to top cupcakes, cookies – really any sweet dessert that needs a little pizzazz! If you’re wanting to try cookies, Chef Marco Ropke offers the best course and a ton of different ideas that are all delicious.
In the cake decorating industry, sugar paste is sometimes called rolled fondant, or ready to roll icing. Most supermarkets will have it pre-made for you, or you can definitely find it in cake decorating stores. Sometimes though, it just doesn’t taste right – or you may not want to eat something that you haven’t made yourself. Luckily its easy to make at home, saving you the trouble of finding it in the store.
This recipe will make you over a kilogram of sugar paste, and getting you ready to decorate the cake of your dreams!
You will need:
- Half a cup of glucose syrup (125 ml)
- A tablespoon of gelatin
- A tablespoon of glycerin
- A tablespoon of cold water
- 900 grams of pure icing sugar
You may need to add another one or two tablespoons of cold water at the end of all of the steps to get the consistency perfect for your sugar paste.
- Put the gelatin in a bowl with the water, and leave the mixture for 3-5 minutes so that the gelatin can soften and “bloom”. Using your microwave heat the gelatin mixture for 30 seconds on the medium setting. Bring it out and check if all the gelatin has dissolved. You may need to stir it a couple of times, or even pop it back in the microwave for a second time. On a stove top just place the bowl over a pan filled with hot water, continuously stirring until the gelatin has dissolved. You need to be careful that you doing bring the gelatin mix to a boil.
- Pour the glucose syrup and the glycerin into the gelatin mix, and combine it with either an electric blender or a spoon until it is thoroughly mixed.
- Use a sieve to get out any lumps in your icing sugar, running all of it through into a large mixing bowl.
- Allow the heated mixture of glucose that you just prepared to cool, and then it can be added to the icing sugar.
- Slowly pour the glucose mixture on top of all of the icing sugar, stirring continuously to ensure its mixed through.
- You can also use an electric mixer for this step, simply combine everything on a low speed (if you have a dough hook this is
the best accessory to use here).
- You may need to add a tablespoon or two of water to get the consistency perfect.
- After the mix forms into a rough ball, it will be too thick to stir. Dust your bench with icing sugar, and knead the mix by hand on your bench. It may take some time until you have it smooth and consistent, and you might even need to add additional icing sugar if the mix is too sticky.
If you want to add any colors this is the time to do it, but never use normal food coloring. They make the sugar paste too sticky to work with properly, so always buy the correct products from a cake making supplier. You can find them at a local store or online very easily.
Once it’s smooth the sugar paste is ready to use! Sculpt, create and design any different shapes that you need to make your cake perfect. If you’re feeling like a challenge see if you can create the decorations from the wedding cake in this course, and you’ll also learn how to mount them on your cake so they stay put!
If anyone in your family is allergic to gelatin you can substitute the gelatin in this recipe for agar agar flakes. It’s a vegetarian thickening product that is produced from seaweed, and will produce the same effects as gelatin. Simply swap it out one-for-one with the gelatin in step one, it might just take a little bit more heat to activate the product – it’s OK if the agar agar flakes boil.
Storing Sugar Paste
After you have made the mixture, and unused sugar paste can be stored. The biggest enemy of food storage is moisture, heat and sunlight, so dig out some high quality zip-lock bags and try to remove as much air from the inside as you can, before storing the sugar paste in an airtight container. It doesn’t matter if it has been colored already or not, and make sure that there are no leaks in the zip-lock bags, and you have a good airtight seal in the container you’re storing it in.
Sugar paste attracts moisture, so store it in a cool dry environment that’s away from sunlight. Never store it in your fridge because this will ruin your mix, but you can effectively freeze the sealed mix in your freezer.
If you’ve already created items out of the sugar paste you can store them in the same fashion. Just give them a little more protection against any knocks or damage, which is simple to do by adding additional layers of paper towel or bubble wrap before storing them away. Completed sugar paste creations can be kept almost indefinitely if they are stored in an airtight container in the right environment. Don’t put them in your fridge as the moisture will cause the colors to bleed and droop and collapse your creations.
If you’ve used sugar paste to cover an entire cake then you need to store it a little differently. Store the finished cake in a cardboard cake box and keep it somewhere cool and dry. Your cake will keep up to 5 days like this. It is possible to freeze a cake for up to two months, but the problems come when you try to defrost. The condensation that forms can ruin any icing, leaving permanent marks in the colors. Best to simply eat it fast!
Now you know how to make the perfect sugar paste, why don’t you show it off! Learn how to create fantastic cooking videos in this course, so you can amaze your friends and family with great YouTube videos as you make the cake. They’ll love seeing how it was done, while they enjoy a delicious slice. So get baking today!