The differences between all those pesky pastes!
The choice of pastes can be overwhelming nowadays especially with each of them having 3+ names (we think the manufacturers may do it just to confuse us all ;))
One of the most common questions we find in the shop is 'what's the difference between 'X' & 'Y'. Well, we do our best to explain and once you get into the swing of things, you will learn and make your own choices. However, it can be quite tricky to make people understand the difference when we're put on the spot so here is a blog post to explain! :D
Here goes nothing!...
Other names: Covering paste, fondant, icing, ready-to-roll, regal-ice
- This is what the majority of people tend to cover their cakes with and the one you’ll hear most people complain about in the summer!
- These all vary in strengths, texture, taste etc which is why there are SO many brands - after all, you can't please them all
- We strongly recommend that you try all of them until you find the brand you like - you will find lots of people can’t get along with the one you’re using and vice versa but if it works for you, then roll(ing pin) with it! (Sorry, that was awful!)
- We currently stock Saracino, Sugarpaste Direct, Renshaw, Culpitt, Squires kitchen
- These will vary in prices. For example We sell 5kg of Saracino at £31.25 and 5kg of Renshaw for £13.99. Now obviously that’s double the price, HOWEVER, we have confirmed with lots of customers that they call roll out the Saracino much thinner than Renshaw therefore making it go a longer way and covering more cakes
- The choice is really up to you! At least one of us gets along with each of the brands we stock for different reasons, otherwise we would refuse to sell it to customers.
We have selected our favourite sugar pastes just so you can see everyone is different.
- Fiso - Saracino, Culpitt, Squires kitchen
- Georgia - Sugarpaste Direct, Saracino, Renshaw
- Zoe - Renshaw
Other names: Gumpaste, Mexican Paste, Petal Paste
- Preeeetty much the same thing! Again, it's totally up to you which brand you prefer working with. These vary in texture, drying out times and strength
- We currently stock Squires Kitchen, Saracino and Renshaw
How is it different to sugar paste?
- Manufacturers add a couple of extra in ingredients (but we'll talk about that more later) and in doing so, it creates a paste which sets very firm and is able to hold its shape which sugarpaste generally can't do very well.
- This makes it great for creating sugar flowers and other delicate details as you can roll this out super thin! If you’re watching tutorials, you will often see sugarcrafters rolling it out until it’s see-through. You simply would not be able to do this with most sugarpatses.
This is the trickiest one for us to explain as it does slightly overlap with the above!
- Also a very tough paste which can be rolled thinly and sets very firm
- Whilst these are fully edible products, we would not recommend eating them as they will probably break your teeth & would have been handled lots
- This type of paste is absolutely perfect for figurines and models due to its drying time (which is typically much longer than florist paste), meaning that there is less pressure on you to create your models in a mad rush
- Whilst it can be used for flowers, you may find that it won't have as much of a delicate finish that florist paste gives but the choice is your own!
- We currently stock Saracino and Renshaw
- Generally the cost of modelling paste is much lower than florist paste so bare this in mind if you're thinking about making large quantities of models!
This was a class making 'Sofia' with Sweet Janis last in April 2016. She is still standing around in the shop to this day! She was made by Fiso using Saracino modelling paste :D
Making your own modelling paste!
- We will never forget the little trick one of our customers told us about making their own using ordinary sugarpaste and tylo powder (A.k.a. CMC, sugarcel etc).
- Simply add ¼ of a teaspoon to ¼ of a kilo of sugarpaste!
- Knead this in until the powder is no longer visible, seal in an airtight bag and leave for a couple of hours whilst the tylo does its magic! And tadaaaaa!
Top tips for all pastes
- Keep them out of the sun as this can cause the colour to fade
- You can make models and flowers etc well in advance just keep them away from dust and always check your best before dates!
- If it’s not in use (even if you’re planning on leaving it out for just 5 minutes), wrap it up in an airtight bag. Pastes are known to dry out and so this saves on wastage plus stops it cracking/creating an elephant skin when you come to use it again
- Whilst all of the above pastes are classed food safe and edible, you may not want to eat them as they’ve been handled a lot and generally set quite hard, making them difficult to break down
- All are easy to colour and if you want to achieve the closest shade to your design, then go ahead and use gels/pastes for this but do bare in mind that with florist paste, you may incorporate a lot of air which will make it start to set. You may be best off buying pre-coloured - just a thought!
Really hope this has helped clear things up a little bit! If you have any extra comments to add, please do - we may have missed out some important points :D