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Need help with gum paste recipe


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Dear everyone,

I hope someone out there can help me. I have to make a cake for 500 people, loaded with flowers here in Moscow, Russia. I have tried to use the same gum paste recipe, that I used in the US, but here it's not working!

The main ingredients are:

gelatin (powdered)


gum arabic (Spray R)

glucose (in lieu of corn syrup)

icing sugar with no corn starch in it at all

Here are the problems:

1. the dough is moist enough, but I cannot shape is well - it is still a little flaky, sticks to the fingers and tears a lot, when I try to pull out petals or shape them on the palm for roses, etc. So it is taking me FOREVER to even make hydrangeas, because the dough is incredibly difficult to work with.

2. if I add corn starch - it helps a little, but if I add enough to stop the dough from flaking and sticking to the fingers, it loses its "stretch" and does not shape well.

3. if I add glucose (corn syrup), the dough becomes even more flaky (breaks down into small pieces when I try to shape it) and too sticky.

Do you suggest I increase the amount of gum arabic, gelatin or both for the next batch? I am working with a little more than a pound of sugar at a time (500 gr; 1 lb. = 454 gr.) By how much do you suggest I increase the gelatin and/or gum arabic - by a lot, or by very little? How much effect does a small increase cause?

Perhaps some of you make your own gum paste and have encountered similar problems, and have arrived at a good solution for them. I have less than a month to make the flowers, and commercial gum paste is not available in Russia.

Please help!

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Can you add some shortening? Some white fat of some kind? See if that won't revitalize the current batch. And of course you want to knead it thoroughly before each use. Generally speaking, gum paste is at it's stretchy flexible best when it's rested overnight.

Are these hydrangeas going to be used as single little flowers or are you mounting them on wires to make the big fluffy big headed blooms of hydrangea?

If the former, I just add some cornstarch to fondant and use that for little blooms of flowers, single rose petals etc. But for making the big full hydrangea heads with wires, I'd use gum paste.

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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I have rested the paste overnight, and have tried to vary the amounts of gelatin and gum arabic, but have not achieved the proper result.

I need to make wire-mounted flowers, so the rolled fondant method will not work, as it is too soft.

I am not sure what makes the dough "flake", when I roll it or pinch it to thin, I get small pieces of dough stuck to my fingers, even though I am using shortening on the hands.

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I was going to suggest tylose, but I know from experience how long it can take to get anything sent to Russia... and I don't assume you have it available over there. I would have suggested Nicholas Lodges recipe then, it is great.

The only thing I can think of is too little powdered sugar and too little shortening - and the need for a recipe with some eggwhite. Do you knead it well with shortening rubbed on your palms?

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