Okay, have you ever heard the expression that it is better to be thought a fool and be quiet than to open your mouth and confirm it? Well, here I go.
What is the difference exactly between sugar paste, gum paste, and fondant?? I am baffled. No, I have never used any of them, which is probably why I am still baffled. Please, can someone please shed some light on this for me? Thanks so much!
Hi there. It seems to get even more baffling as time goes by.
Starting with fondant, well fondant was originally just used as a final coating or icing for a cake. Now it really is sort of the base for gumpaste - in that they have the same ingredients up to a point. Generally gumpaste is fondant with a hardening agent like Gum-tex or tylose or various other products added to it. Frequently the additive is tragacanth gum. These things are added to it to allow for hardening or modelling. So with the additive, you can make models or decorative items that will last indefinitely. Now they are generally not considered to be edible but this is because you are likely to break a tooth on them.
Sugarpaste is the English name for fondant although sometimes even gumpaste is referred to as sugarpaste in some articles I have seen. But it generally refers to fondant and is the term used in Australia and England.
So with sugarpaste or fondant, well you can make some flowers and things with it, but though it dries it doesn't get nearly as hard as gumpaste and so the dried flowers won't break your teeth, but neither will it hold up well for models unless they have a lot of dowelling and wires inside of them.
So you are going to be using sugarpaste/fondant as your cake covering or final icing and that is what it is really designed for but to make say, a chair and table model to go on top of your cake, or a larger calla lily or a figurine, well those will be made out of gumpaste.
To further confuse the issue, sometimes when you want something to be a little stronger than fondant, well you add about 1/3 prepared gumpaste to 2/3 prepared fondant or you add a few teaspoons of Gum-tex powder to it. So technically this is more of a gumpaste mixture than a fondant, but it is still not as strong as full strength gumpaste would be.
Hope that helps.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes
Your explanation is exactly what I was hoping for. I totally understand now. I am learning so much here, thank you to everyone!
You are most welcome. Sometimes it is all very confusing because the terms are used differently in different publications too.
I recently read an article on sugar molding. Now sugar molding to me is when you mold a mixture of sugar and water inside of something. But as it turned out, the article was about using candy molds to mold fondant or sugarpaste, so there you go, we all get confused!
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes