Best flower or sugar paste ever for humid days…

As a novice at this craft, I have gone through trials and “tribulations”, ok probably not the right words but definitely challenges.  All adds up to the learning experience and much more fun if they are through your own mistakes. Learn much faster that way.  So, what is good gum or flower paste?.  Why is it that some days (or season) a certain brand is better than others?  Is that why cake decorators deemed the weather is our worst enemy? All talk about humidity and ensuring that your left over paste be wrapped up or double wrapped up in plastic or underneath a plastic ‘blanket’ or a cup.  Only when you are “INTO” the art, would you know what they are talking about. I paid for my mistakes 🙁  Thought that, yep, this brand is great, let me stock some spares. Guess what?  Yep, not good for summer, autumn and spring.  So I decided to explore through my good friend, the internet.  There is so much information out there and I cannot afford to try every recipe. As you can see from my other posts, I have included some of those which I tried. 

My sister-in-law and I tried a recipe which was a combination of Tombi Peck’s and Nicholas Lodge’s.  The paste was so pliable but not tacky, actually it felt dry BUT did not fray at the edges (you know when you have a dry paste).  I was very pleased as I was able to roll out the paste very thinly for my rose petals. I used this paste to make the flowers for the second wedding cake and found that they did withstand the humidity (in Singapore) very well.


  • 25ml cold water
  • 10ml (2tsp) gelatine powder
  • 10ml (2tsp) glucose
  • 15ml (3tsp) gum tragacanth
  • 5ml (1tsp) cream of tartar
  • 450g pure icing sugar
  • 1 x egg white from 1 large egg (stringy removed)
  • 20ml (4tsp) Copha — white vegetable fat/shortening (in a really high humidity climate leave this out; used during kneading)
  1. Prepare gelatine by sprinkling it onto the water in a glass bowl. Leave it for a few minutes until the water has absorbed. Then dissolve it over a gentle heat or a bain marie.
  2. Warm the glucose so that it becomes runny. Add to the gelatine and stir until mixture is clear.
  3. Add gum tragacanth to the icing sugar and sieve.  Place bowl of icing mixture in an oven (70 degrees).At the same time, warm up the mixing bowl.
  4. Place icing sugar and egg whites in the warm mixing bowl with a paddle beater and mix together until smooth and lump free.
  5. Scrape down sides and mix for further 5 minutes on low speed.
  6. Add the gelatine and glucose mixture to the mix and increase the speed to high. Lean on the mixer to support as the paste gets stiffer.   Stop once the paste becomes stringey.
  7. Scrape down the sides
  8. At this point tip the mix onto your bench and knead with a little copha each time. Keep kneading until smooth and elastic (“talks”).
  9. Wrap well in food wrap and rest in the fridge for 24 hours before using. After it has rested, if you don’t want to use it immediately divide it into smaller pieces wrap them, place in freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. Label the packets with the date you make the paste, or the use by date.


I also found a gum paste recipe by “Inspired by Michelle”  which (she claims) is much better suited to more humid climates. As the weather is becoming warmer and summer is round the corner, I thought I would give it a go.  The paste turned out so stiff – totally not pliable.  I went through the recipe again and I realised that I had used pure icing sugar instead of icing sugar mixture. It did not occur to me that this would have made much difference since icing mixture contains cornflour.  Anyway, it ended in the bin! 

I happened to take Michelle’s flower making class and told her about my experience.  She said that she had amended the recipe and it should be good now as she is using the same gum paste recipe for all her flowers and classes. Guess what?  She replaced the potato flour with potato starch!!!!  And whether you use icing mixture or pure icing sugar would not make any difference!

OK… I will give it another go.  This time, I added 150gm of icing sugar mixture and 110gm of pure icing sugar. As Singaporeans say a bit kiasu 🙂 This time, it came out pliable and very very stretchy, however, a little sticky.  So, not sure if it is the addition of the pure icing sugar.  Will try again, will follow her recipe to the letter and see if that would make any difference.

As Trex and Crisco are not easily available in Sydney, I used Copha (vegetable shortening).  You can purchase tylose (CMC powder) at any Cake Decorating store or online.

Below is Michelle’s amended recipe as posted on her site.

UPDATE17NOV2014:  This will be my go to paste from now on!  No awful smell of gelatine 🙂


260g icing sugar mixture/confectioner’s sugar
3 x egg whites from 3 large eggs
160g cornflour (100% maize, no wheaten) – seems that the US cornflour is more fine than what we can find locally
17g tylose (or CMC)
130g potato flour STARCH (bought from DIJON/Harbour Foods at Caringbah).
10g Trex or Crisco — white vegetable fat/shortening (in a really high humidity climate leave this out)

  1. Place icing sugar and egg whites in a mixing bowl with a beater (dough hook) and mix together until smooth and lump free. (Note: Cover the mixer with a cloth to prevent flour from splattering all over.)
  2. Scrape down sides and mix for further 5 minutes on low speed
  3. Mix the tylose through the cornflour and add slowly to the mix. Continue to mix on low speed.
  4. Scrape down the sides.
  5. Add the potato starch and continue to mix on low speed. This is when the mix may become too stiff for your mixer.  Do not keep mixing if your mixer is struggling — you will burn out the motor (believe me, I have burned out one motor already!)
  6. At this point tip the mix onto your bench and knead in the rest of the potato starch.
  7. Keep kneading until smooth and elastic — sorry, but this may take some effort!
  8. If you’re using the vegetable fat, knead it through the gum paste
  9. Wrap well in food wrap and rest in the fridge for 24 hours before using. After it has rested, if you don’t want to use it immediately divide it into smaller pieces wrap them, place in freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. Label the packets with the date you make the paste, or the use by date
  10. Knead again to loosen before making your sugar flowers



  1. funkesays: Reply

    Thank you for sharing. I live in Nigeria and the humidity is nerve wrecking. I hope to try the first recipe with cream of tartar. is there ant substitute for cream of tartar?its not very common where I live

    • Hi Funke

      I have recently been making the “InspiredbyMichelle” sugarpaste recipe instead of Nicholas Lodge. In Australia and Singapore where the humidity is very high, I find that the paste is so far the best. The cream of tartar is used to stabilize egg whites, substitute vinegar or lemon juice in a 1-1 ratio (tartar vs vinegar or lemon). OR, the amount for substitution should measure about 1/8 teaspoon per egg white.

      Good luck and let me know how you go.

      Thanks for visiting my site.


  2. You’re so awesome! I do not think I’ve read a single thing like this before.
    So great to find another person with a few unique thoughts on this subject matter.
    Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is something
    that is needed on the internet, someone with a little

  3. The Inspired by Michelle recipe you list with potato flour & cornflour is an amazing recipe for humid & dry areas alike & I always use 100% icing sugar not an icing mixture. I also use a creme shortening (available at Complete Cakes online (Aus company) which doesn’t smell & taste vile like Crisco), for the recipe itself, to coat the dough when kneading finished & leaving it to rest & every time I work with it. If really humid I use a 50/50 icing sugar blend to roll it out (I also but this from Complete Cakes but you could easily make it). Is more like a pastillage in that it sets super hard & strong but can be rolled really thin so works well in flowers & delicate modelling. Doesn’t taste great as it has a low ratio of icing sugar compared to the flours so I add a few drops of flavouring, but this recipe is the favourite of many I’ve tried, as it gets extremely humid here & I’ve previously had flowers dissolve into gooey puddles. Good luck!

    • Hello,

      Thank you so much for the great insight. My apologies for taking this long to respond as I have had a heavy hectic full time work schedule and health issues. Will try the next time. I have someone who posted on my site asking what can replace the potato flour. Would you have the answer?

      Thanks and regards,

  4. JCsays: Reply

    Ok, this is a dumb question I’m sure, but I’m new to doing this kind of stuff. What does 3 x egg whites mean? Thanks

    • Hello…am sure you must be Joshlyncarlson :-). No question is dumb. If you don’t ask, you don’t know.. that’s my motto.


  5. Joshlyn Carlsonsays: Reply

    Juliana, I’ve never worked with gum paste but I want to give it a try. I found your site while searching for recipes. Your cakes and flowers are beautiful. Can you please explain to me what the x means? The recipe calls for 3 x egg whites from 3 eggs. I don’t understand the x. Thank you.

    • Hello,
      My apologies for taking so very long to respond. I have not been updating my website this long due to extreme full time work pressures and health issues. I do hope that you had your answer. It just meant egg whites from 3 eggs – put aside the yolk perhaps for making custard or creme brulee :-).

      My apologies again, and thanks for visiting my site.


  6. Enobong Etukakpansays: Reply

    Thanks for sharing. My name is Enobong. I live in Nigeria. I can’t get potato starch. What can I use as a substitute?

  7. Enobong Etukakpansays: Reply

    I found it very very sticky. Had to use corn flour instead of potato flour cos I couldn’t find it. Did not give me a ruffled finishing.

  8. Miriamsays: Reply

    Hi Juli, great site you have here. Please can the gum tra be substituted for cmc

    • Hello Miriam, thank you for your comment. You can replace gum tra (natural gum) with CMC or tylose (chemical substitute).

  9. Claire Townsendsays: Reply

    What is the icing sugar mixture please. I’m really keen to use this. Does it work with dried egg white too?

    • Hi Claire,

      Icing sugar mixture, also known as confectioners’ sugar or powdered sugar, is pulverised granulated sugar crushed together with a small amount (about three percent) of cornflour. If you are making sugar paste, the egg whites are for binding the sugar mixture together. Hope this helps.Thanks.

  10. Sitisays: Reply

    Hi Juli,

    I just made a batch with corn flour (not corn starch) and the gum paste turned out yellow in colour (like pastry dough). Was I suppose to have used corn starch instead? Would you mind sharing what corn flour brand you use? Thanks!

    • Hello Siti,

      Am not sure where you are. Here, in Australia, corn flour and corn starch is the same. The cornflour must be 100% maize, no wheaten. The brand which I used is “White Wings”. I just made another batch from “Inspired by Michelle” gumpaste recipe a couple of weeks ago. This time, I followed her recipe to the letter and found it to be very stretchy and sticky – not sure why. I am going to make another batch and will update if it is a much better consistency. Good luck to you!

  11. Maryannesays: Reply

    Hi I just made the gumpaste by Michelle and it is extremely sticky, help please.

  12. Maryannesays: Reply

    Hi did you work out why it was so sticky, mine is to, thanks.

    • Hello Maryanne,

      Apologies for the delay. I have been travelling for work. I am actually using Michelle’s recipe gumpaste now. Yes, it is sticky due to the weather – winter and rainy. However, with a little corn flour, they work fine and it does get stretchy too, so that you can roll it really thin. I dont usually use the gumpaste immediately. I would put them in the freezer and they dont take long to soften up once they are outside. However, do bear in mind that with the current weather in Sydney, they do take a little longer to dry up. Hope it works for you too.

    • Hi,

      I used corn flour as per my previous post. I do hope that it would work for you. Good luck!

  13. Sharifah Sharifahsays: Reply

    Hi Juli,

    Mine turn out to be sticky.should i add more tylose or one of the flour to make it more stiffer? Or should i add more crisco to make it more pliable?

    • Hello Sharifah,

      Yes, I have used Crisco when it gets sticky. Use sparingly. Once it is less sticky, roll it clingfilm (break in 4 separate pieces) and put them in the fridge. I would also put them in the freezer for future use. Hope that helps.


  14. Thanks for the recipe.
    Can I used tapioca starch.
    For this recipe.
    What can be the proportion.
    Will the paste become pliable and strechy?
    It’s heavy raining in India.
    Is it good for this weather??

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