Saturday, July 2, 2011

Gum Paste....simple enough concept wouldn't you say?

So the next cab off the rank cakewise is Nana's 70th birthday cake. Its going to be a round chocolate mud cake (I found a beautiful recipe and its just the best cake I've ever made) covered in light yellow fondant, covered in white with yellow centre tiny blossom flowers and on top is a white VW Beetle made of rice krispie treats and decorated with gumpaste. Sounds simple enough?

I have made gum paste once before using a recipe that included gum trag - but apparently its hard to come by and grossly expensive. I did find it in one shop, but I thought that if I am planning to do many cakes in the future, I need to make it cost effective as well. I did a bit of research and discovered that there are a few recipes using tylose powder which is I believe a vegetable gum powder. I watched a few youtube videos, no problem easy to make.

After I beat the egg whites slightly & added in the icing sugar, it said to add the tylose slowly - I should have added it in one go. I also should have used dough hooks instead of egg beaters, but lesson learned. I only have a hand mixer, so I'm sure a stand alone mixer would have been much easier. Anyway, not all the tylose mixed in quite properly, so I had to remove a few hard lumps when I was kneading the rest of the icing sugar in.

I got it to the consistency that I thought was correct, and then I put it in the fridge to rest over night as per instructions. The next day I played with a bit, coloured it, tried to add more shortening, more icing sugar, more tylose powder, and I tried to find instructions on what to do if it goes wrong, but no luck. Every time I tried to roll it into a ball, it would have creases and just wasn't the consistency of what I believed it should be.

I then found a YouTube lady who used a slightly well actually a very different recipe that she had developed over the years, and upon watching her later 'working with gum paste' videos, I realised that you have to condition the gum paste before using it. She uses a pasta maker and then rolls it back together and then pasta machine and then clumps it back together. Once I rolled it out a few times and then kneaded it for a while it worked really well when I rolled it out and cut out all the tiny blossoms. The texture was much smoother, but without a pasta machine, my hands were aching, and I had only really done a small portion of the actual work required.

Today, I am going to buy a pasta machine, I can't do the bug without it, unless I plan to spend hours rolling out....I don't.

I will credit Linda for her advice on gum paste conditioning, and you can check out her blog and her YouTube instructionals at the below link.

Once I finish the cake, I'll post all the photos. Can't wait to see the finished product. I can only hope that it really turns out as great as it does in my head

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