What a surprise…halal flower paste?

cream flowerpasteHave you ever asked yourself what’s in your cake?  For discerning eaters or if you are vegetarian or Muslims or allergic to certain foods or preservatives, do you accept that all cakes are permitted?  If you buy birthday or wedding cakes from the store or from your cake decorator, would you ask for the sorts of ingredients they use?  The list of ingredients are never published or listed.

I was recently surprised when I bought a container of cream shortening (for icing a cake) and on it was written animal fat. The cake shop owner could not tell from which animal.  I would usually assumed that it would be from the milk of a cow or sheep.  What if it is made from animals which are not acceptable to Muslims or non-Kosher? Anyway, the store bought shortening was very grainy and thickly greasy.  Never will I use store bought again! Will make my own from now on.

A few good sites for recipes:

Craftsy – http://www.craftsy.com/recipe/marshmallow-fondant
Craftsy – http://www.craftsy.com/recipe/swiss-meringue-buttercream
Edna de la Cruz – http://goo.gl/IaM6vE (making sugar paste using a mixer)
Cooking with Candra – http://goo.gl/gdohAB (using a lot of elbow grease)

Thought it also worth noting down the difference between fondant and gum paste:

It is a dough-like paste which is extremely versatile. It can be rolled out and used to cover cakes, cupcakes and sometimes cookies.  The basic ingredient for fondant is confectioners/icing sugar with the addition of gelatin, corn syrup and glycerine to provide a malleable sweet paste. Fondant gives the cake a beautiful porcelain look surface that can be painted, piped, stamped and quilted.  If you wish to make the marshmallow fondant from scratch visit link below.   If like me, who is terrible at working with buttercream, fondant is great for incorporating designs such as:

  • some sugar decorations
  • cutouts
  • plaques
  • frills
  • impressed patterns
  • little flowers
  • cupcakes toppers

It is used primarily for hand modelling figures and can be rolled very thin for petal flowers, leaves and very detailed decorations. It is similar in texture to fondant but it dries very hard and you do not cover a cake with gum paste.  The basic ingredients for gum paste are egg whites, powdered/icing sugar and some sort of gum agent like tylose powder, gum tex or gum tragacanth.   The recipe from Candra uses icing sugar, gum tex and light corn syrup (or you can use liquid glucose).

NOTE: I have included a recipe for Modelling Paste, which we did in class, in my blog – “Succumbed to the need to know more..”.

You can use gum paste to make :

  • flowers
  • 3 D figures
  • bows
  • cake toppers
  • straps for hand bags
  • belt buckles
  • shoes

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