Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

asked January 6th 2013

Advice please

Is there any difference in ready to roll icing and sugar paste….also gum paste…what is best to use for what…also what is the best thing to use to write on cakes



Hi Debbie,

Ready to roll icing is also known as fondant which is primarily used to cover cakes and cutting out decorations. Fondant is very versitile. You can add food colour to it, paint on it, quilt it etc. To get sugarpaste/gum paste, add gum tex powder to the fondant (1 tsp to 250g of fondant) to make decorations. Gum tex powder helps the fondant to dry quicker and set harder than plain fondant. This is done for easy handling and shaping of the sugarpaste.

This is used to make sugarcraft models and intricate flower decorations. Gum paste can be rolled out very thin to give a delicate and realistic look to decorations i.e. thin flower petals. You can also add colour to gum paste to get the effect and look you want.

You can use royal icing to write on cakes or melted chocolate.

I hope this helps.


Hi Debbiesmith 1973

Ready to roll icing and sugar paste are the same and are used for icing or enrobing the cake. Gumpaste/flower paste is for making models and flowers. There are many different manufacturers with their own blend of recipes. Most commonly used professional roll out icing is Renshaws Regal Ice but of course there are many new names now and you’ll come across all of them. Paul has a blog in the free/beginners section where he talks about icing, suppliers and lots of other useful information.
If you put in the search box ‘Clark Baxter’ and ‘how to make sugar paste from scratch’, the are some useful answers to help you understand each medium. There are some recipes also if you’d like to try making your own. For the writing you can either use Royal Icing using a number 1 nozzle or, use an edible ink pen. There are also lots of different letter and number cutters available, some are tappits and some stainless steel cutters. These come in large or mini sets and can be quite expensive. I very often make very thin sausage shapes from icing and make funky letters and numbers from that. Hope this helps.

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