Saturday, 8 December 2012

Colouring Sugarpaste and Flowerpaste

Unless you're covering a cake all in white, you'll need coloured sugarpaste. You may also need coloured flowerpaste too, depending what you're decorating your covered cake with.

The difference between sugarpaste and flowerpaste:

Sugarpaste (or rolled fondant) is ready to roll icing used for covering cakes and making some edible models.

Flowerpaste (or gumpaste) dries much harder than sugarpaste and is used for making sugar flowers and other decorations. It is also more gummy than sugarpaste, and can be rolled out thinner to obtain finer details.

Pre-coloured sugarpaste and flowerpaste is available from good cake decorating suppliers, but it can be quite costly, especially if you have a lot of coloured icing on your cake.

You can colour white ready to roll icing to virtually any colour yourself to keep costs down.

However, bear in mind that it takes a bit of effort to work colour into your sugarpaste or flowerpaste.
You may find your shoulders, arms and hands start to ache quite quickly!

To colour your own sugarpaste or flowerpaste, you will need:

Sugarpaste or flowerpaste
Paste or gel food colouring (available from good cake decorating suppliers; and increasingly available in larger supermarkets)
White vegetable fat or shortening
Cocktail sticks
Why paste or gel colourings? The thicker consistency means you only need a small amount to get a strong colour.
Liquid food colourings won't work here; they are too runny to work in, and do not give a strong colour. They'll also make your sugarpaste or flowerpaste gooey and sticky.

Start out by rubbing a small amount of white fat onto your hands. This stops the sugarpaste or flowerpaste sticking to your hands.

I don't tend to use icing sugar here, if you use too much it dries out the paste and causes it to crack.

Knead your paste until it's smooth.

Using a cocktail stick, dab a tiny amount of food colouring onto your paste and knead until its fully blended. Keep adding tiny amounts until you have built up the colour required.

Adding a drop of paste / gel colour with a cocktail stick

Partially kneaded in colour. If you wanted a marbled effect icing, you could now roll it out instead of kneading in fully.

Fully kneaded in colour.

Achy yet?

Don't add too much colour at the start - you can always add more, but you can't take it out if you go too far!

Your sugarpaste or flowerpaste is now ready to use! Make sure you keep it wrapped in cling film if you need to work on other things - it starts to dry out really quickly!

Next time, we'll look at covering your cake.


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