Saturday, November 6, 2010

Making Gum Paste

I learned how to make gum paste years ago. I tried several recipes but the one I liked best was Rosemary Watsons. I learned alot of my basic flower making from her and have tweaked her recipe to work for me. When I first developed the cutting gum paste with electronic cutters method, my recipe worked the best. I have shared this recipe with many people and several are sharing it as their own. This is what I teach in class and use for my own cake decorating projects.

Gum Paste

½ cup cold water

2 tablespoons Knox gelatin

1/3 cup white corn syrup

2 tablespoons shortening

2 lbs powdered sugar

2-3 tablespoons Tylose

Small sauce pan ½ full of water, put on medium heat

½ metal measuring cup with water, pour into a 2 cup glass measuring cup with open handle

Add 2 tablespoons Knox gelatin and stir until well mixed

Set timer for 5 minutes-no longer then 15 minutes

Melt at least 2 tablespoons shortening into a glass measuring cup

1/3 cup of white corn syrup

Put gelatin into sauce pan-cook until melted and you see swirls

Add corn syrup and cook until no longer stringy

Add 2 tablespoons of shortening-stir

Pour into bowl, add 2 pounds of powdered sugar

Mix with bread dough hooks until well mixed

Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of tylose powder into mixture, mix for another 2-3 minutes. Scrape into a plastic bag coated with shortening, let rest overnight

When you are finished making your gum paste it is best to let it rest over night. It can be left out for several days, but if it is not going to be used right away, you can store it in the freezer or refrigerator.

When you are ready to use the gum paste you will notice that it is very firm. You will need to use a sharp knife to cut off a section of the gum paste. Put it in the microwave for a few seconds, usually 5-10 seconds is long enough to warm it up enough to soften it. It should be the consistency of a marshmallow.

You need to condition the gum paste. Work in a small amount of shortening into the gum paste and work it in your hands. Pull it and stretch it out. Run it through the pasta machine and wad it back up again. If it feels too soft add a little bit of corn starch. If the gum paste firms up while conditioning it you can put it back in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up. When you feel like the gum paste has been conditioned enough then you are ready to roll it out.

You really need a pasta machine for the best results. Most pasta machines will roll out a piece of gum paste 6” wide and as long as you need it to be. If you have a fondant sheeter you can roll your gum paste wider than 6”, but you really don’t need it to be wider than 12”.

Most issues with my method are gum paste issues. You need a firm gum paste to start with. It needs to be well conditioned and for best results it needs to be rolled out with a pasta machine. I really like my kitchen aid mixer with the pasta attachment. I find I get the best cutting results when I roll out the gum paste to a #6 or #7. This is something you will practice with and you will determine what works best for you. Before you put the gum paste through the pasta machine you need to take your softened, conditioned piece of gum paste and roll it out using a rolling pin the desired width and thin enough to put through the pasta machine. With a little practice you will be able to roll a 6” wide pieces of gum paste as long as you need it.

When the gum paste is as thin as you need it to be, put it on a plastic mat and trim it to about 12” in length. As you fill your mats with your rolled out gum paste stack them on top of each other. When you have rolled out as many as you need, store the mats in a 2 ½ gallon baggie. For the best cutting results, let your gum paste rest over night. In fact, you can let your baggies sit out for several days before you use the gum paste. Keep the baggies sealed so the gum paste doesn’t dry out. You can even store your gum paste sheets in the freezer until you are ready for them. I can’t stress enough to not rush this part of the process. The gum paste needs to firm up, but not dry out.

The hard part of this process is over! When you are ready to cut out your design all you need to do is apply the gum paste to the mat. If you are having problems with your gum paste sliding around the mat when you are cutting out your design, it could be that the mat is too slick. I have found that my older, well used mats work the best. If I have a new mat I will scratch up the surface with some sand paper. This will give the mat some “tooth” and the gum paste will stick to the mat better.

You need to apply a thin coat of shortening to the mat. A pastry brush works well for this process. You can use a paper towel with shortening on it if you don’t have a pastry brush. You only need a light coat of shortening. Too much and the gum paste may just slide around the mat during cutting. Don’t put the gum paste too close to the sides of the mat. Watch where the roller will go and don’t get the gum paste in that area. Use a soft paper towel to smooth the gum paste onto the mat. If there is any shortening on the gum paste then you can work it into the surface of the gum paste. The paper towel will help to polish the surface of the gum paste.

Now that the gum paste is on the mat you are ready to cut out your designs. With experience you will learn how to tell if the gum paste is ready to be cut. If it is too soft it will just drag around the mat and tear. If the gum paste is too dry then it will crack. Your goal is to get clean, precise cuts. If you have followed my suggestions and allowed the gum paste to firm up at least over night, you are on the way to successful cuts. Use the deep cut blade for the Cricut and set the blade pressure to #5. Set the pressure on the machine to 3 bars or medium pressure.

You can apply your decorations to your cake as soon as you cut them out. You may have enough shortening on the back of the decoration to stick it onto your cake. If it doesn’t stick then you can apply some more shortening with a small paint brush.

You can make your decorations ahead of time and store them in the large baggie on a cake board. They will be fine for a couple of days left out but if you want to store them longer then put them in the freezer. When you take the decorations out of the freezer they will get soft as they come to room temperature. Let the decorations firm up some before trying to put them on the cake. I have had good luck with spraying the backside of the decoration with vegetable spray. All you need is a very light spray and the decoration will stay in place. Use a soft brush to lightly brush the top of the decoration. This will help the decoration stick to the cake and help clean up any shortening on or around the decoration.

For more information and a great video tutorial view these youtube videos. They are found under “working with gum paste”.


  1. Hello Mrs. Linda

    Thank you for this great gummpaste fondant. It is really a find and I am so glad I came across it. I come from a place where everything is made from scratch and the results are usually less than perfect.

    I decided to venture into making the following for bakers, cake decorators, sugar artist etc
    - Gumpaste
    - Rolled Fondant
    - Chocolate Rolled Fondant
    - Rolled Butter fondant

    I am using your recipe of Gumpaste for this production, because it can withstand humidity, like you said. And that is a major problem we are facing in my country, Nigeria.

    I want to know if you have a great rolled fondant recipe that I can adopt for commercial sale. if not, I was hoping to use Colette peters fondant recipe, but will be adding the following gums: CMC, Xanthan Gum, Gum Tragacanth or Tylose Powder.

    Am having mixed feeling at adding Cream of Tartar - which is acidic. What do you think cream of tartar does for rolled fondant..does it act as a preservative or taste improver?

    Please kindly help me with any professional advice you can. My email is

    I await your response.

    Wale Taiwo

    Cakes By Whales

  2. Hello Linda -
    I have recently found this recipe and have made it to the 'T' - I live in Hawaii so the humidity is high too - I don't know what I've done - but I've followed exactly and it still isn't coming out right. I'm wondering if you could help. After the first rest, once the gum-paste has been made - I placed mine in a greased zip-lock bag, then in a Tupperware container -- Once it's time to work with the following day - it's still moist and sticky so I added the cornstarch and through my roller -- I've worked in small batches and have gotten 4 snowflakes from my machine - out of all day attempts - Do I need to keep adding cornstarch so it's not sticky and once it's placed on the mat after I've rolled it on number 7 you mention, it should not break - Mine seems to be not that sturdy and will eventually tear by holding it up -- at that thinness. At this point I've added corn starch and rolled the strips out. Right now I'm having them rest on the cutting boards in the plastic bags -- I'm not sure how pliable they will be tomorrow - I'm worried about them drying out at that point - (having them rest again) Could you help? I hoping I'm making sense. THANK YOU!!

  3. Thank you for a great tutorial. I plan to try this tomorrow. Would I need to coat both sides of the plastic mat when stacking several pieces to store? Wasn't sure if the shortening would leave greasy spots on the top of gumpaste. Thank you!