Tag Archives: what is cmc powder

Whats the Difference??? Tylose Powder…CMC Powder…Trag Powder….Gum Tex…

12 May

I receive many emails everyday regarding the different “Gums” as they are called available on the market! I know it’s all quite confusing especially to those who are just getting started in working with Sugarpaste also know as fondant or gum paste.

Let me point out that when I say sugarpaste I am referring to fondant or gumpaste, because both are made with is sugar and just a few other ingredients and is a dough like paste that is used to cover cakes, create flowers and my favorite of course which is creating hand sculpted figurines.

When I say sugar flowers as I do often times I am really talking about gumpaste flowers.

Now lets talk about all the different “Gums” as they are often called.

First one that we will discuss is Tylose Powder and the one that I always use. Tylose Powder is less expensive than most gums on the market however it can be tough to locate since it is mostly avail. through the internet, you can find it at some of the specialty cake supply stores but not at Michaels Craft Store or Joanns. Tylose powder is used in some gumpaste recipes but you can add it to plain fondant to create a quick version of Gumpaste for  my creating figurines and sugar flowers. Tylose powder is a  fine powder you can work into fondant to make a really quick transition to gumpaste.

To create a quick gumpaste with fondant just Add 1 -3 tsp of Tylose powder to 1lb of fondant. Dry humidity areas use less Tylose - High humidity areas use more Tylose. Knead it in very well to your fondant. If you are using a pre-made Gum paste you don’t need to add any Gums to your paste because it already has some form of Gums in it. I usually don’t use a pound of fondant at a time when creating my figurines so I use small pinches of tylose powder to my fondant until I get the consistency I am looking for.

Gum Trag or the long version of the name….. gum tragicanth is another gum additive used in many different recipes to make gumpaste and pastillage. It add strength and stretch to the final product.

 Gum Tex is more readily available to most and is made by Wilton. Like gum tragicanth, gum tex is an ingredient to make gum paste pliable, elastic & easy to shape.

Gum Arabic - a versatile hydrocolloid that has many applications. A superior emulsifier, widely used in the production of beverage and flavor emulsions and meal replacers. Its low viscosity and adhesive properties, meanwhile, make gum arabic an excellent ingredient for coating cereal, confections, and snack foods. For bakery products, the gum’s binding and emulsification abilities aid in the formulation of icings and frostings as well as baked goods like cakes and muffins. Beyond foods and beverages, gum arabic has been long used in lithographic processes and pharmaceutical products. A natural gum additive that can be used as an edible glue to stick pieces of modeling paste together when mixed with water. This additive can also be added into Royal Icing to give it more strength.
Mix 2 tsp. of Gum Arabic with 2 ounces of water to make a gum glue. Gum glue is used to Gumpaste figurines, bows and other objects together

CMC Powder or sometimes referred to as Super Gum and  CMC Gum, and the technical name  Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose Gum, or just Cellulose Gum is frequently used as a thickener and a texture ingredient in many applications throughout the food service industry. Food grade and industrial grade CMC Gum is also known as cellulose gum. It is derived from purified cellulose such as cotton linters. CMC Gum helps products retain moisture. CMC Gum is a man-made gum. CMC produces the highest cohesiveness (such as sticking together).  CMC is frequently used as a thickener and a texture ingredient in many applications used in the food service industry.  Also CMC gum helps products retain moisture.

Many are getting confused because I use Tylose Powder and they think that they cannot use any of these other gum ingredients…..Yes you can use any of the other gum ingredients INSTEAD of the tylose powder that I use. SOO if you have access to CMC Powder then by all means use that in your fondant…..if you have gum trag available to you then use that. Any of these listed can be used and added to your fondant.

Hopefully I did not confuse you even more with all this information, I know that many are not sure what each of these are for so I thought I would list each one to give you a basic idea, for future reference.

Gumpaste/Fondant Questions….Updated!

15 Oct

I receive many questions about Fondant, Gumpaste and how to work with it, how to store it and so on, as well as what I use to create my very popular sugar figurines so I have taken the most asked question and given the answers to them. I am not saying I have all the answers to everything but I am willing to share what has worked for me and what others are doing. Please know that being a cake decorator it is all about finding your style and what works best for you, so use my answers as a guideline and experiment for yourself to see what you like and whats best for your style of cake decorating and sugar sculpting. There are also many questions in the comment section below this article I, always try to answer those questions personally so check those out too. If you still have questions feel free to leave a comment with your question and I will answer just as soon as I can, but be aware I do not always get them answered right away so be sure not to ask about a cake you are doing in the next 24 hrs since I may not answer right away and I don’t want anyone to think I am ignoring them. Its just tough sometimes with all the questions here, via email and life on top of it all.

I wish you all my Best in your cake decorating ventures,

Donna

Now on to the Questions!!!

1.What is Fondant? Fondant is a sugary substance and when cooked certain ways can take on many different forms such as a dough that is rolled, a pourable form, and even candy centers. Those awesome little chocolates with a creme center that come in those pretty valentine heart boxes is one form of fondant. The gooey juice that gushes out of the middle of a chocolate covered cherry that most of us love to eat is yet another form of fondant in addition fondant is used as a traditional topping on French petits fours and then finally one of the most popular forms is called rolled fondant and is the smooth silky covering that is seen on many of the wedding and specialty cakes that have become very popular over the past several years.  Fondant, as you can see, is used in many of the sweets we have grown to love.

2. How do I attach fondant pieces to fondant, such as when making a figurine how should I  attach things to the body?  When attaching any fondant pieces including when making figurines I use just plain water and I apply with a clean paintbrush. If you prefer you can also use Gum Glue which is very simple to make at home to see the recipe click here.

3. How do I attach fondant to my cake board? Piping Gel is a great way to attach fondant to your cake board. Piping gel is a multipurpose transparent gel that adds shimmering accents, colorful highlights, and sparkle to cakes. It can also be used for applying decorations to fondant cakes and holding the fondant secure to the sides of a cake. I use Piping Gel to write on my cakes for a different look, the great thing is that it can be colored just like regular icing. You can find piping gel at many different cake supply stores locally and online. I usually purchase piping gel at www.fondantsource.com if you are interested in giving it a try. You can also use Royal Icing to attach fondant to fondant and I also use it to attach sugar roses to my cakes. To see a few Royal Icing Recipes click here.

4. Why do I get soo many cracks on my Gumpaste? Gumpaste is made with gum ingredients as well as others to get it to dry quicker and harder and this can cause cracks in your pieces. Another reason for cracks can be caused from not kneading your paste enough especially when you purchase it pre-made, it needs to go through the process of kneading to get it to a pliable state.  It does help somewhat if you use shortening when you are working with gumpaste to keep it pliable.  When creating figurines with fondant or gumpaste you really need to roll the paste in your cupped hands with some pressure and this will help work out some of the cracks. If you having alot of cracks in your pieces you can use a 50/50 mix of equal amounts of fondant and gumpaste together, this seems to give you a much better consistency for working with figurines, bows and other objects than just gumpaste. 

5. What is the difference in Gumpaste and Fondant? Gumpaste has gum ingredients in it such as gum tragacanth, cmc powder, xanthan gum,  gum tex or tylose powder. It dries much harder than fondant does. Both gumpaste and fondant can be molded, rolled, and sculpted but fondant taste much better than gum paste does and is usually used to cover a cake. Because of the gum pastes ability to be rolled very thin it is widely used to create sugar flowers. Fondant is used to create borders and different designs on cakes. If you need to create something for a cake that will retain its shape sometimes it may be best to use a form of gumpaste instead of just fondant which can be softer.

When making gumpaste you do not have to only use Tylose Powder, you can use any of the different gum ingredients that are available on the market, which I have named above!

6. What is Tylose Powder used for? Tylose Powder or cmc powder is a gum ingredient that is used in making gumpaste. I use tylose powder on a regular basis. I use the tylose powder and add it to my fondant to create a sort of instant gumpaste I guess you could say. I do not really measure how much tylose powder that I put into my fondant, so I will give you an example of what I do. If I am creating a figurine, I use Wilton or Satin Ice Fondant. I start will the ball size of fondant that I will be needing to create my figurine then I add a small amount of tylose to the paste. Once I start kneading the fondant I can tell if I used enough tylose powder, If I did not I will add a little at a time till I get the consisitency that I am looking for. There have been times that I have added way too much it can make the paste too dry, so in that case I just add a little more fondant. To make a quick version of gumpaste just add 2-3 teaspoons of Tylose powder to 1lb of fondant. In areas with dry humidity use less Tylose, in areas with high humidity use more. FYI: Cmc powder, gum tex, and gum trag are used in the same way as the tylose powder so if  its not available check to see if you can find these others that I have listed they are all gum ingredients.

7. Where can I purchase Tylose Powder?I purchase tylose powder online, it is available at most of the cake decorating supply stores as well as online. Here is a link to a site where I purchase it Tylose powder.  CMC Powder as well as gum Trag can usually be purchased online and at some specialty cake supply shops. Gum-Tex is made by Wilton and is more readily available than some of the other gum ingredients are. I know that Joanns, Michaels Craft stores and some Walmarts carry it.

8. How should I store my unused fondant or gumpaste? Any unused portion of fondant/gumpaste that you would like to save should be wrapped very well in saran wrap and then placed inside of a ziplock baggie. If you just use a ziplock baggie only,  the air will still get to it and dry it out. Once wrapped in a baggie I place it into a container with a lid to preserve it.

9. How do I store my sugar flowers and how long will they last? Sugar flowers should be stored in an air tight container. You can use a plastic container with a lid and store them on a shelf in a closet. You can keep sugar flowers indefinitely, I have sugar flowers that I have had for over a year and they look like I just created them. Since sugar flowers do not do well with moisture keep them away from water. Regarding how far in advance you can make sugar flowers, they can be made up to months ahead since they are not usually eaten, just store them in a cool dry place until they are needed….I usually place them into a cardboard box that has a piece of foam on the bottom so it is soft and they don’t get broken, also I wrap the larger flowers in tissue paper before placing in the box or container.

10. Is there anything I can do if my fondant has hardened up? Yes there is. If the fondant is not too hard just try adding some shortening to the paste and see if that will take care of it, if not then use some glycerin but only add a little bit at a time until it becomes pliable. If it is very hard and you want to get it pliable again just put into the microwave at 10 second intervals.

11. Can I store my fondant after it has been tinted or colored, and then re-use again at a later date? Yes, you would store it the same way that I described in question #8 above. I

12. Can I use Fondant to make figurines, and other objects? Yes you can, fondant is great to make sitting animals, people and such, but if I were making a person that is standing or and animal for that fact I normally add a gum ingredient to it such as the tylose powder or even the others I have listed for you above in question #5,they will make the fondant into a quick form of gumpaste and add  strength, or I could use a gumpaste that is pre-made or from a recipe.  Fondant is great for making bows, fish and other objects that you may want to create for a cake.

FYI: This is my rule of thumb when deciding whether to use fondant or gumpaste for objects and such…….

 If it will be eaten along with the cake it must be made in fondant….Example– the cake I made in the past that is a little girls sun dress that is laying on top of the cake, I would use fondant since it will be a part of the cake that will be eaten and the same goes for a cake with bows, a pattern, or an underwater scene with fish all over it and so on.

 Now if it can be removed off the cake then I can do that in gumpaste……Example– my sugar animals, kids shoes, high heels, tiara and people are made to sit on top the cake or around the cake and are usually removed before serving so those can be made in gumpaste if I choose since they will not be eaten.

13. What should I use to keep my fondant from sticking to my work surface when rolling out? This is one of those questions that can have many answers. I will share with you what works best for me since there are many people who do it different ways.

I was told in the beginning to use corn starch to cover my work surface, however my fondant never seemed to roll out like others did. It was so dry and I had all kinds of tears and rips.  Then I was told to use powder sugar(also called icing sugar in some areas), and that worked but not every time, then I decided to use shortening rubbed all over my work surface, now this did work at times very well but, to be honest not every time, at times my fondant would separate underneath which is a sign that too much shortening has gotten into my fondant. But the times it did work were great because my fondant was not all dried out and falling apart. So I have come to the conclusion after many experiments that it all depends on the weather. So I really cannot give you a clear-cut answer on this question. I included all the ways to do this so that you can experiment and see which way works best for you.

FYI: I will tell you my little way of deciding which method to use and how to know……..If the weather in my area is very wet and rainy or we have high humidity then I will use the powder sugar sprinkled on my work mat to roll out my fondant.

If it is dry and low humidity then I rub shortening on my work mat and roll out my fondant on that. By using these guidelines I have come up with a nice little system that I can use to decide which method will work best for me and my location….test this out and see what you come up with, try each method and see what kind of results you get. Now I will tell you to do this experiment I used a dummy cake so that I did not mess up a nice cake that I was working on. It is always best to experiment when you are not doing a cake for an order, just in case things don’t go so well.  

Another tidbit of info for you…..a word about using corn starch, I do not ever use just corn starch to roll out my fondant since it can cause your fondant to dry out, turn brittle and at times seems to change the texture too. There are some who use a mixture of  half powder sugar, half corn starch. I have tried this and feel that just plain powder sugar works best,  but please know that there is nothing wrong with the 50/50 mixture I just did not like the results…….but as always it is up to you to check it out for yourself!!

   14. Can I use marshmallow fondant to make figurines? I have tried this, but it was not a pretty sight, lol my figurines looked like a melting snowman, therefore I was not at all happy with the results that I had,  so I only use the marshmallow fondant to cover cakes and that’s it, really it should only go on cake since it tastes soo great!!! Now I will say that there are many decorators who are using MMF to create their figures and have no issues, but it is my personal choice to use a pre-made fondant….You could use one from a recipe,  homemade marshmallow fondant or a pre-made brand.  So I would advise you to give it a try to see how it goes for you. Just because I do not do something a certain way does not mean it is not the correct way of doing it. We all have our own style of how we create our cakes and other sugarcrafts. Some have written me and said they tried the MMF and it worked for them and they were happy with the results, so there ya go. It is up to the person!!

15. What kind of fondant do you use to cover your cakes? I get this question everyday it seems like….when I first started I was like many of you I scoured the internet reading all that I could, trying to figure out what to do and how to get started working with fondant. I ended up so confused about so many things to be honest. I read it was always best to make your own fondant from recipe since store-bought tasted soo bad, then I would read to use this or that….ugghh it was crazy. So here is what I chose to do. I started off making and working with marshmallow fondant which tasted soo good and people like it. Then I wanted to make objects and figures but as I said the mmf  just did not give me the results I was looking for so I decided to use a recipe to make my own and it was great. I had a good strong fondant and it tasted good. As time went on I got soo busy and having to make fondant each time was wearing me out quick, along with all the other things we do as cake decorators even though people think we just bake a cake and slap icing on it, ohh how I wish it were that easy, lol….

So to make more time I purchased different brands of pre-made fondant…..I got the Wilton, Satin Ice, Bakels Pettinice and Fondx so that I could test them all and see what worked best for me.

Well right away after testing the Wilton and having many others taste it, I knew there was no way I would ever put that on a cake with my name on it…uggh it was nasty, I added flavorings to it and still, it was not good that great it seemed to have a chemical taste to it……. I must add that I do use the Wilton brand of fondant to make figurines, it sets up so nice. In my opinion Wilton’s Fondant is a perfect medium for beginners who want to get started in making figurines since most people do not eat the figurines you don’t have to worry about the taste.

Bakels Pettinice. Ohh I really liked the taste of this one as well as everyone else I had try it, and it seemed to cover cake pretty well but the issue in the end for me was that it was more expensive to purchase and I would have had to add it to the price of my cakes.

Fondx, it tasted very good as well, and I must admit that I did like the way it rolls out and it covered my cake very nicely, I also noticed that it is very pliable and is easy to work with…… the only drawback I can see is the price it can be more expensive than some.

Satin Ice, it tasted great, and the best thing I liked about it was that it was just as easy to work with as the others and most importantly the price is very reasonable and you can find Satin Ice at so many places online and at cake stores.


My motto is to find what works best for you….take these guidelines that I have shared and give them a try to see what you think, then you can decide what works for you and what does not, that is what cake decorating is all about. Doing it your way!!

Hopefully this helps answer some of your questions, there is soo many variables in dealing with fondant/gumpaste so it can be tough to answer every different situation. I wish you all the best as you venture into the awesome world of fondant and or gumpaste……to be honest it is my favorite medium to use!

Happy Creating, Donna

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