As a complete noob to this site, please bear with me !!
I am a UK guy who somehow got trapped into this cake decorating.
Last November my wife was ill, and in an emergency I made a cake for my boys 6th Birthday.
It was a Treasure chest on a beach, and although I thought it was OK (though nothing special), I am now getting a fair amount of requests from friends etc to make cakes. I did a few at Christmas, and have some orders for Easter.... gasp !! (All from a dodgy chest...).
Now I am hooked, and I am particularly interested in modelling figures, admiring the work of Maisie Parrish & Karen Davies. (True Artists!)
Now the crunch..
I do have some books which I am reading and trying to divulge all the info, and having great fun practising (and eating disasters.... lol) cakes.
My problem is that I cant get my head around the different pastes (Sugarpaste, Modelling Paste, Fondant, Pastillage etc etc).
Which is best for modelling figures and why?
Is it purely down to preference as different decorators use different pastes.
I would greatly appreciate any advice at all on this as I would like to start the right way !
(I currently use fondant, which I THINK is sugarpaste for my figures)
Hi and Welcome to CC, scorpio66.
Decoding CC acronyms:
While Americans and Brits (and Aussies, etc.) can use the same words, the meanings aren't always the same...
Gumpaste, fondant, etc.:
American Baking and Decorating Terms:
Marzipan can also be used for figures, etc.:
I was beginning to wonder if there was anybody out there.
I appreciate the point in the direction of acronyms, Im sure it will be constantly looked up!
And silly me, didnt think I was on a US site....
Sadly the most useful link (Gumpaste fondant etc) just linked back to my post.
Perhaps I should browse throught the forum and see what I can find.
TY for your reply.
You'll need to start using American terms on US sites and UK terms on UK cake sites - don't worry, you'll soon become bilingual. I use gumpaste (our modelling paste) for my models. I find fondant (our sugarpaste) too squishy for modelling. I would use pastillage for shapes that I need to dry very firm and often flat cut out pieces - e.g. if I were making a santa sleigh I'd likely use pastillage for the frame.
Marzipan is killer for modeling. Holds color like a champ too.
I often use fondant that I add cornstarch to (do you guys call it cornflour?) to model with.
People add tylose or gum tragacanth to fondant to make gum paste and this adds elasticity so you can for example get a nicely ruffled really thin flower petal that holds well. These powders also help the product to dry faster.
When I make a bow or a plaque or small one piece flowers I use fondant with cornstarch because it helps it dry faster and sturdier--but you can still trim it with scissors like when arranging the bow pieces.
I dry my stuff in a warming drawer --it can never get above 150 degrees or it will melt your stuff.
Yes all those terms are very confusing. They mean different things to different groups of folks so...
Fondant is nice to use for lots of things but it does stretch which is a good thing for covering cake. But sometimes you will want to use candy clay (chocolate plus corn syrup) for items that you don't want to stretch. For example, putting stripes on a cake can be done with fondant but really accurate stripes can be make from candy clay (aka chocolate plastique etc.)
Candy clay is a great tool to have in your decorator tool chest because it is suseptible to the heat of your hands for smoothing but does not stretch like fondant.
Some modeling product thoughts for you.
I like adding the Tylose powder to fondant the best. For detail work (such as chains done in molds for example) I use straight gumpaste. You might want to check the polymer clay aisle at the local store for books on figure modeling which will help you with techniques.
i personally like gumpaste with a bit of fondant mixed in. the fondant prevents its from drying too fast and cracking. i also like the way gumpaste "grabs" color better and i end up using less.
Thanks you all for your input. I guess I really need to experiment some more with my pastes. I shall definitely be trying the tylo powder. Ive seen many people suggest this. It will help greatly.
Thanks again all.
I used to use a 50/50 mix of fonant and gum paste. After taking a class with anie2 (you need to check her out as she is in Scotland and offers classes on a regular basis, http://www.extraicingonthecake.com), I switched to fondant with a small amunt of tylose powder which is what she uses for her figures. Her mixture seems to hold up better than anything else I've tried.