How to Make Sugarpaste
The process is not especially difficult although as with most things a little practice is needed in order to get perfect results. Making your own sugarpaste allows you to make up only those quantities required or transversely, for those who use a great deal of it, it is a cheaper alternative in the long run.
Of course add to that the greater satisfaction that is achieved from knowing you have produced your own sugarpaste from scratch and you can probably begin to see why some people consider this alternative.
All of the ingredients listed in the recipe below are easily obtainable from supermarkets or in the case of such things as Gum Tragacanth, cake decorating and making suppliers stock the items.
The following recipe will make up 500 grams of sugarpaste.
2 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons of powdered gelatine – this flavourless animal derived product often comes in sachets of which you will need half of a standard sachet but do check the sachet's measurements to be sure
2 fluid ounces of liquid glucose – a thick syrup which helps you achieve a smooth paste by controlling the formation of sugar crystals
½ tablespoon of glycerine – this syrupy liquid which is made from fats and oils has neither smell or taste but assists the sugarpaste to keep its moisture while also adding sweetness
1 pound, 4 ounces of icing sugar + extra will be needed for dusting the paste as you prepare it
2 teaspoons of Gum Tragacanth – optional depending on what you intend to use your sugarpaste for. If it is just to cover a cake then the Gum Tragacanth is unnecessary. However, this completely natural substance obtained from the dried sap of a legume plant, will add a bit of solidity and structure to any figures or decorations you may wish to make from it.
1. First prepare the gelatine. Sprinkle it over the water in a bowl or large jug and then leave it for about 5 minutes to allow the gelatine to thicken or 'bloom'. You can then use a microwave or traditional stove for the next part.
Microwave – medium/80% power setting/750 watt. Heat for approximately 30 seconds and then check that the gelatine has dissolved. You may need to heat a little longer to completely dissolve the gelatine while ensuring the liquid doesn't boil.
Stove top – place bowl over a pan of hot water and stir until the gelatine has completely dissolved. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Remove from the heat.
2. The liquid glucose and glycerine can now be added to the gelatine mixture. Stir throughout and continue stirring until you have a well combined mixture.
3. Once the mixture described above has cooled to tepid then it can be added to the icing sugar. Place the icing sugar in a good sized bowl and, stirring constantly, gradually add the previously prepared glucose, glycerine and gelatine mixture.
Eventually the mixture will become too rigid to continue stirring so turn it out onto a surface sprinkled with icing sugar and continue to work the mixture by hand. You may need to knead the mixture for some time to ensure it is smooth and even. You may also need to sprinkle further icing sugar as you go to prevent the paste from becoming too tacky to work with especially if you are preparing it in warm weather.
4. Should you intend to use Gum Tragacanth it can be added at this stage. However, the prepared sugarpaste will then need to be left overnight in order for the Gum Tragacanth to work properly. If you are not adding Gum Tragacanth then the sugarpaste can be used and worked immediately or alternatively stored for use at a later date.
Should you desire any other colour sugarpaste besides white, then colouring products, available from cake making suppliers, can be added to obtain almost any shade. Conventional food colourings are not suitable as they make the sugarpaste too sticky to work with.