Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chilly Birthday

This is another birthday treat that made it onto Facebook, but never made it to the lime light here on the blog.......oops. This is an example of the Gum Paste. Can you tell any difference? Gum Paste vs Fondant doesn't really look much different when finished. However, the gum paste dries much quicker. Well fondant dries quickly too........let me explain better. When I am using fondant to make figures it tends to stay soft longer when I am doing the actual moulding. So it is hard to get a specific shape - most frustrating a ROUND shape. Because one side will want to start to rest and become the kinda flat side. Which isn't a big problem for something like a cake because you want it to have a somewhat flatter side so that it won't roll off the cake or require so much icing to make it stay in place that it shows a lot. Gum paste will set up (dry) a little faster. So the resting doesn't cause the figure to fall out of the shape I want. Does that make sense?
Also - gum paste is a little more forgiving then fondant when it comes to creating figures. If I mess up a figure with either modeling medium I have to wad it up and start over. Sugar dries - as we mentioned before - and it is useful sometimes to have powder (in the form of powdered sugar or corn starch) on the mat I am creating on so that the figures don't stick - if they do stick then I have to tug on them to pick them up and they easily stretch out of shape (imagine playdoh). After wading up a piece of fondant that has been touching a powder you are also adding in the powder that is attached - thus causing the fondant to dry out a bit more. You can counter this by adding a little smidge of shortening or butter (very little), but still you are altering the original texture.

Gum paste doesn't seem to stick to the mat as much - so I can create more without using a powder substance to keep it from sticking. Thus when I mess a form up..........and let's just say that happens with every new thing I create....because the cake pops have now proven I am not perfect every time. With the gum paste I can wad it up - use it - wad it - use it. Not forever of course - but for a little longer then the fondant.

One additional pro for gumpaste over fondant for making figures - you can roll it out MUCH thinner!! Fondant will tend to tear if you roll it out too thin - or crack - or break after it has dried a bit and you try to move it. Gum paste has more elasticity to it. This stretchability (my word - yes you can copy it) helps when you are making roses, flowers, or other things that you mess with to give edges shape. Gum paste also costs a bit less to make - but oddly if you buy it at the store it costs more to buy. Weird huh?

Now in covering a cake - I would go fondant. It is softer in my opinion and easier to place over the cake. Tastes a bit more like icing. I know there are lots of folks who say.....ick fondant tastes awful. Well most likely the person who made your cake did it with store bought fondant. I am always amazed that people doing cakes don't just make their own fondant. Easy to make - and you can flavor it. I make 5lbs for half the cost you buy it at a store. Yes I know - convenience.......that is a whole other blog.

There are tons more Fondant vs Gumpaste issues in my head - but I can stumble into them later. Personally I was resistant to gumpaste - for no reason other then I was getting good at fondant and not wanting to add another trick to my bag. Now I am seeing that there are definite pro's and con's on both sides.

Penguin cupcakes were a hoot to make. And they were fun because it taught me I am getting better at moulding things. They went to one of our Boy Scout families. The Birthday Boy had recently done a project on penguins and he is currently in love with them. Fun!! Learning and Cakes combined with Birthday - LOVE IT!

These were Chocolate & White cake cupcakes with a Vanilla Buttercream icing.

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