Sugarpaste Sugarpaste (also known as icing, ready-to-roll icing, cake covering, fondant (in America) and ‘roll out’ icing) is the softest icing to use. Its soft texture means it’s perfect to cover cakes, cupcakes and cookies with, as even though it sets slightly, it doesn’t go too hard. With all things, however, you get what you pay for. Personally, and in my classes, I use a professional brand of sugarpaste as it gives a great finish. That said, nowadays with baking being more popular than ever, supermarkets and the like are putting a lot of time and energy into getting their own brands of sugarpaste up to scratch, appealing to professional and home bakers alike. I wouldn’t recommend modelling or cutting out delicate shapes with this icing as it is just too soft. Modelling Paste Modelling paste is an icing that has been strengthened and dries harder than sugarpaste. It is more elastic and as the name suggests, is perfect for modelling with. It is readily available in cake shops, on cake equipment websites and now even in supermarkets. It’s easily available in white so you can colour it yourself with concentrated food colourings, or more recently I have seen a wide range of coloured modelling paste for sale. Flower Paste Flower paste (also known as gum paste) is an icing that has been strengthened even more than modelling paste and dries a bit harder. It is perfect for rolling out very thinly to make flowers, stars, butterflies and other delicate decorations. This can also be bought easily in white but several companies now provide a rainbow of colours. Mexican Paste Mexican paste, which I’m pretty sure has nothing to do with Mexico, is a stretchy paste which can be rolled super thin. In my classes, I use Mexican Paste with letter cutters such as Tappits or Windsor Clickstix. It is also perfect for patchwork cutters too. Royal Icing Royal icing is made using icing sugar, water, lemon juice and egg white, and if you don't want to make your own, it comes in a handy powder that you simply mix with water. It is also available to buy ready-made. At one time it was the covering of choice for all cake decorators, but is now more commonly used to pipe details, messages and decorations, as well as being a solid ‘glue’ for sticking decorations. Buttercream/Frosting Buttercream is a mixture of butter and icing sugar to create a filling for inside cakes, topping cupcakes and for a crumb coat before covering in sugarpaste. Frosting is another name for this but can also mean a filling made with shortening instead of butter. Glacé Icing This is the standard icing you used to cover fairy cakes with as a kid, made with icing sugar and warm water. Perfect for reminiscing and for a soft, sweet finish to your bakes.
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