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Friday, August 6, 2010

Fondant vs. gum paste: What’s the difference?

It’s easy to get confused between fondant and gum paste. Last time I showed you some flowers I had made, they were made out of fondant. This time, I’ll show you gum paste flowers and take a few moments to explain the difference between the two media.

First, here’s a picture of (pre-made this time, boohoo!) gum paste hibiscuses, which I used on a luau-themed birthday cake. The flowers were painted pink, red and orange using gel paste and water.

The most basic difference between fondant and gum paste is that you might cover your cake in fondant (like you would with icing), but you wouldn’t do that with gum paste. Texturally, fondant is soft and smooth whereas gum paste is sticky – until it dries, at which point it becomes hard and brittle. As for taste, gum paste doesn’t really taste like much of anything, but fondant can be quite delish. In its original state, fondant tastes like marshmallows. However, it is quite versatile and can also be flavored into pretty much anything with food flavoring.

For creating cake decorations, gum paste is preferred by some cakerators because it dries harder and faster than fondant and allows for crisper lines and more detailed decorations. For others, fondant is the medium of choice because it creates a softer look.

Now, let’s discuss! Which do you prefer working with? Do you have more questions about fondant vs. gum paste? Post your questions here.

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