Gumpaste Hell...

Decorating By Caike Updated 7 Sep 2009 , 3:36pm by Caike

Caike Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 1:57am
post #1 of 19

Well once again (LOL), I may have bitten off more then I can chew as a newbie. The cake I'm making for the fair is due this Wednesday night (or Thursday morning if I can't finish). I think I've decided on the theme - simple, 3 tier, white fondant (plain), with dark green, orange, and red leaves/accents for fall. And then a ribbon on the bottom of the three tiers that compliments the colors in the leaves etc.

Perhaps I should have thought about this before - but I've never done gum paste flowers or leaves before. None the less I bought the Wilton flower/leaf making kit, and the gum paste forming tool kit. I had wanted it for a while because I wanted to dabble into gum paste and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Ok keep in mind my delivery date, and the fact I'm still trying to work out recipes - and the fact that this is supposed to be for a fair and on public display. I've attached the pics from tonight here. Making these was literally hell. The gum paste was stick (stuck to everything), it dried out super fast - so when I went to roll out the remainder after making a few leaves it was super dry and hard to work with. I tried using flour to get it not to stick, that just made the leaves look coated/powdery - and the color looks so dulled now. Can I fix? Is it too late? How can I make my life a bit easier or can I? Those flowers alone must've taken me over an hour.

This is not at all what I had envisioned. TIA for any help/advice you guys can give me.

18 replies
lcubed83 Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 2:19am
post #2 of 19

1. Did you use premade gumpaste, or make your own? I have only used the premade, mixed with fondant or on its own. I use just a bit of cornstarch on the surface and roller. Mixed with fondant extends the working time.

2. I always get the raggedy edges with plastic cutters, even with cookies. You have to carefully smooth the edges, maybe with a toothpick or one of the fondant tools. If I get to making more, I will probably invest in metal cutters.

3. I have seen Cake Boss and some others steam their gumpaste figure. A Youtube video showed boiling water, then holding the figure over in the steam for a few seconds (not sure how many, I guess you could do some, then do some more.) With your leaves not on wires, you would need to use long tweezers to hold.

I am a novice still at gumpaste. Good luck, and I hope you do well. The plan sounds lovely.

Caike Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 2:27am
post #3 of 19

I used the pre-made stuff from Wilton. Mixing it with fondant sounds like an interesting concept. I must admit that thus far, my experiences with fondant have been much much more positive then with gum paste. It seemed easier to mold and the working time wasn't 5 seconds. icon_wink.gif

Thanks for the post. Anyone else?

icer101 Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 2:42am
post #4 of 19

i work with wilton g/p all the time . i teach g/p at michaels.. i make nick lodges recipe also.. wilton brand g/p works great for me and the students. you have to put little shortening on fingers and work in to small amts. of g/p as you work with it.. then roll out on powder sugar.. powder sugar/cornstarch mix.. or just cornstarch. people do it all different ways. the wilton cutters are very good. i have all name brands.. wilton.. pme.. jem.. etc.. and the tools.. some famous teachers teach you not to use the metal ones. to use the plastic ones. like i say.. the pme.. jem.. are plastic. and also fmm. people like different things to work with.. colette peters teaches how to make all kinds of things with the wilton cutters. she teaches at the wilton shcool and so does the great nicholas lodge. people come from all over the world and take lessons there.. when you go to cut. place cutter down on g/p and give a twisting motion with the cutter.. press hard but not powerful.. this will do it. lots of people after cutting the leaf or petal out .. turn it over still on the cutter and press around with their fingers. this gives a more smoother cut.. they do this with metal cutters also.. so you have just got to practice.. practice. and you will get it.. at michaels .. i teach how to put on the wires and off the wires. etc. so just relax.. rub some shortening on fingers ,etc. also as you are working . keep your g/p under a glass or something to keep air from drying it out. when i open the package. i break it up into about 4 logs.. i knead these logs .. put little shortening on them. knead and stretch and roll up and wrap each log seperate in saran wrap and place all in freezer bag. keeps for ever. i put in frig. or feezer. either on. you can, do it. just be patient and each one will get better. roll this g/p thin.. cut petals or leaves.. roll edges with ball tool ball tool . partly on edge of petal or leat and rest on pad and just go around the edges.. press down a little and go around edge. hope i have helped you..

cookiemama2 Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 2:44am
post #5 of 19

I took the wilton course .... so i'm not an expert but here are a few things i learned!
I coat my hands with shortening to warm up the gum paste ( I used wilton )
Roll out and slip the cut out pieces under saran or that yellow thing with the clear plastic flap ( that is in your first picture,) until you are ready to use them! Keep extra gumpaste under a glass to keep the air off of it or wrap in saran til you need it again.
Use the pink foam square you have in your picture , dusted with cornstarch to shape and soften the edges of your leaves.
keep them out of the sun & light because they seem to lose their color, but when they dry you could probably brush the flour off of them or dust them with the pearl dust.
With the raggedy edges you can use a nail file on them after they dry to fix the edges as well.

Pastry-Panda Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 2:44am
post #6 of 19

I do everything with fondant not gumpaste. I prefer it that way unless it absolutely needs to be very firm and I cant use royal icing. But if I was you I would just do fondant leaves , stick with what you are comfortable with in a time crunch.

bettinashoe Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 3:03am
post #7 of 19

If you have any powdered colors, I would recommend you dust some other colors onto the leaves and then steam them to set the colors. It wil make the colors set and also will give them a glow. Don't steam them too long or the gumpaste will melt. If you don't have a steamer, just hold them over boiling water for a few seconds. You might try two other shades of green on the leaves or even a deep purple or brown (a contrast to pick up the veining). Your leaves look pretty good for not having worked with gumpaste. My only recommendation is that you thin out the leaves with a ball tool before they dry. Gumpaste dries quickly--work with small batches only and make sure you keep all extra bagged.

icer101 Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 3:26am
post #8 of 19

you say... you are entering this cake in fair.... you need to use g/p .... so that you can make them more thinner and realistic.. and yes, touch them up with dusting powders also. bring them to life.. this is what the judges will be looking at. more realistic a flower or leaf is .. the closer you come to winning. this is what my teacher of 14 years ago taught me . and i enter state fairs and cake contest also. and i have won a lot of times. so , using g/p.... you are able to roll paste thinner... and then thin edges, etc. and make more real looking... hth

Caike Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 11:22am
post #9 of 19

You guys are awesome. I did pick up some pearl dust when I was at Michael's yesterday, but for whatever reason I didn't pick up a green/brown/chocolate/red or any of those colors - just white (I was thinking wedding at that point). Because of labor day I won't be able to get there until tomorrow morning, so I'm thinking I'll just make the rest of it today and touch them all up tomorrow morning while I'm baking and throwing the frosting/fondant together.

Thanks for the tips - the glass thing/keeping the excess GP covered is probably one huge part of the problem! thumbs_up.gif

poomagoo Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 12:08pm
post #10 of 19

I always put a bit of trex/white fat down on my board before rolling out my flowerpaste (similar to your gumpaste) and if I find its sticking, I dab some cornflour on it. To get rid of the furry edges, just run your finger over the edge of the cutter before you remove the paste from it. I find that works for me.

emiyeric Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 12:52pm
post #11 of 19

I work a good deal with gumpaste (I make my own, but that's irrelevant for this particular point! icon_smile.gif ) ... you need to make sure to cover anything you're not using, like everybody's said. When I do, I literally work with a Crisco'd plastic bag right next to me, tear off a small bit, and pop everything into the bag in the meantime. And when I'm done with a piece, I don't worry about the dusty look, if it ends up being too dusted. I just take a small amount of Crisco between my fingers and smooth it back onto the piece, which makes it all shiny again. HTH!

Caike Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 12:54pm
post #12 of 19

So in lieu of it being labor day, and having no Crisco in the house (go figure) - does anyone have any alternatives I can use to bring these leaves/flowers back to life? Is vegetable oil a stretch/a bad thing? I'm working on all of this again right now and it would be nice to make substantial progress over the next few hours. *sigh* LOL!

Deani Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 1:18pm
post #13 of 19

Try mixing a drop of your colour with little vodka and a bit of your white lustre dust and painting it on thinly. Might give it a bit of dimension. Paint once up and down then let it dry and then paint across it. Hides the brush strokes.

__Jamie__ Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 2:27pm
post #14 of 19

Those leaves are way too thick. You want to be able to see thru them almost. I guess next time, eh? Good luck.

Caike Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 2:35pm
post #15 of 19

Well, doing my best...I'm new at this and haven't had any training. You made me kinda feel bad though!

None the less - my attempts today are much more realistic...or at least realistic enough for the cake I'm working on. First time for everything...I'm convinced I can still make it look good once it's all put together.

poomagoo Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 2:38pm
post #16 of 19

Don't worry - we all have to start somewhere. Just thought, if you still have furry edges, you could always try smoothing them off with an emery board once the leaves are dry. Good luck with them. I'm sure they'll look great once its all put together.

__Jamie__ Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 2:56pm
post #17 of 19

Sorry that you interpreted my post as hurtful. And good luck was meant towards whatever you are doing to mend them. If an instructor told me my leaves were too thick, I'd store that away for "next time"...not be hurt over it. icon_biggrin.gif

MalibuBakinBarbie Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 3:27pm
post #18 of 19

I think your first leaves came out very nice, and the more you practice the more you will improve and feel better about it. thumbs_up.gif From your photos, they do appear a little thick, but you know what? I think you are definitely headed in the right direction. I gauge thickness based on what I'm doing and where the final product is going. If competing, I would roll it more thin (so thin you can almost see through it). I tend to roll it a little thicker if I know it will be touched and handled.

I don't use pre-made gumpaste. For the past 10+ years I have made my own. Just about a month ago I decided to try a store-bought premade brand (Bakels). It was sooooooo very sticky and wouldn't dry. I discovered there are things I can add to it to make it harden; but in my mind, what's the point? I'll just stick to making mine from scratch. icon_wink.gif

Anyway, sorry for the sidetrack, and I'm sorry if I repeat some other's comments. I need to get back to my gumpaste flowers and ladybugs for my sister-in-law's baby shower this weekend; but I wanted to share some things with you.

1. Work the gumpaste (the bit you're going to roll) in your hands for a while. The warmth helps soften it and make it easier to roll.
2. Periodically rub a dab of shortening on your fingertips and hands to prevent sticking.
3. Use a very light coating of shortening on your rolling mat and well as your roller.
4. Dip your cutters in cornstarch (tap off excess) to help get clean edges and prevent the cutter from sticking to the paste. Most of my cutters are metal, so that may help make cleaner edging, too. I'm working with plastic ones now and find I have more rough edges (because the bottom of the cutter isn't as sharp).
5. You can dip your ball tools (used for smoothing edges) in cornstarch, too.
6. My favorite tool for removing rough edges are my round files. Very small diameters can get in those little crevices.
7. Petal/luster dusts will add depth and dimension to your work. When dusting leaves I use various shades of green. When doing rose leaves in particular, I also use a smidgen of plum near the bottom vein and a dab here and there.
8. Oh! Very important! Keep the rolled paste under a piece of plastic wrap. I remove the wrap from the area I am cutting, then cover it back up. Otherwise, it will dry out super fast!!!

If I can think of anything else, I will come back and post!

Best of luck on your project! It sounds lovely and I really look forward to seeing your finished work! icon_smile.gif

Caike Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 3:36pm
post #19 of 19
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

Sorry that you interpreted my post as hurtful. And good luck was meant towards whatever you are doing to mend them. If an instructor told me my leaves were too thick, I'd store that away for "next time"...not be hurt over it. icon_biggrin.gif

LOL - not so much hurtful, no worries! Just frustrating when you can't get it right you know? thumbs_up.gif

Quote by @%username% on %date%