Sugar Paste Vs Fondant

Sugar Paste Vs Fondant

What’s the difference between sugar paste and fondant? In this post, we’ll break it down for you, so you can decide which is best for your next cake project. Sugar paste is a dough-like icing that is easy to work with and provides a smooth finish. Fondant is a more elastic frosting that can be sculpted into intricate designs. 

So, what’s the verdict? For simpler cakes, sugar paste is a great option. If you’re looking to create more elaborate designs, fondant may be the better choice. Whichever route you choose, we know you’ll create something beautiful!

Sugar Paste Vs Fondant

What Is Sugar Paste?

Sugar Paste is a modeling compound that’s used to make shapes and figures. It will dry into a hard, sugary form that you can then paint with acrylic paints or even craft spray paint for added durability.

There are three main types of Sugar Paste: tinted (colored), white, and clear. Tinted Sugar Paste is exactly what you’d expect it to be: colored sugar paste. White sugar paste is, well, white; it doesn’t have any food coloring added to it. Clear sugar paste can come in several different shades varying from dark (almost amber-like) clear sugar paste to light blue or aqua clear sugar paste. This is achieved by adding a small amount of colorant to the basic sugar paste and then mixing and matching until you get just the right shade.

Tinted, white, and clear sugar paste can be purchased by themselves or in pre-mixed packs with various levels of difficulty (easy, medium, hard). The more difficult the pack is to make, generally speaking, the better the figurine will turn out.

What Is Sugar Paste Used For?

Sugar paste is a very versatile product and can be used for so many applications.

The most common way to use sugar paste is to cover cakes.

Sugar paste gives a lovely smooth finish, which can be decorated or left plain.

You will need to use the sugar paste at room temperature for an even covering.

Under-knead the sugar paste when you are rolling it out so that when it is applied to the cake it does not rip or tear.

Sugar paste can also be used to cover and fill cakes, and for models and figures. When making a model the sugar paste needs to be well kneaded to make it supple and easy to roll. It is then rolled out very thinly before immediately applying it to the cake or figure that you are covering. You can also use the sugar paste to make flowers and other simple decorations.

For a stiffer product to be used for flower petals you can add CMC powder (Tylose) which is an added thicken up product that makes the sugar paste easier to shape. You can also use it as a coating for your cakes before applying fondant or piped borders.

Sugar Paste can also be used to make simple decorations to use on your cakes. They are easy to do and you can get so many different designs by using this wonderfully versatile product.

You can buy sugar paste in white or ivory, which is perfect for covering your cakes or figures, but if you want a coloured decoration then food colouring can easily be added.

The sugar paste will keep for months stored tightly wrapped in cling film or stored in an airtight container. It can also be kept for years if it is stored correctly, so remember to date your cake decorating bags and containers with a permanent marker!

What Is Fondant?

Fondant is a sweet and smooth sugar paste that can be used for cake decorating. It’s available in different flavors and colors, and it can be rolled to make perfect edges or it may be molded into shapes. Fondant is also versatile in what you can do with it: not only can you use fondant for cake decorating, but you can also use it to cover cookies or make chocolate truffles.

What Is Fondant Used For?

Fondant is a confectionery that is most commonly used as the icing or filling on cakes. It is a sugar-based dough that can come in a variety of colors and flavors, with vanilla being one of the most common. There are many uses for fondant besides cake decoration. And although it may be perfect for adding pretty decorations to baked goods, fondant has a variety of other uses as well.

Fondant can be used as a garnish for plated desserts. Usually, chefs will place the fondant in pretty shapes that coordinate with the design of the plate or dish itself. It can also be sculpted into fun shapes and placed on top of cakes to decorate them. Some pastry chefs even use fondant to make lifelike decorations and figurines that they place on top of the cake as well.

Fondant can also be cut into strips and used as a simple icing for cakes or cupcakes. This is a much simpler, mess-free way for those who don’t have access to pastry bags and tips.

Fondant can be rolled out very thinly, almost transparently thin, in which case it is used as a lining for fancy cakes that have a filling in between two layers of fondant instead of using multiple layers of cake. It can also be cut into shapes with cookie cutters and then placed on top of cookies as a simple decoration.

Fondant can also be shaped into thin strips and baked just like those used for icing cakes, but it is then sprinkled with powdered sugar so the pieces become translucent. These fondant strips are often used on cakes and desserts that need to glisten and shine.

There are also many other ideas on how to use fondant. It really just depends on the chef and what they want to do with it.

Fondant can be used for more than just cake decoration, though this is usually its most common function in the culinary world. A quick Internet search will yield many results for other uses of fondant.

Features Sugar Paste Vs Fondant:

Texture Of Sugar Paste Vs Fondant

Sugar Paste: Workable, but not as smooth or easy to handle. Takes an hour or two in the fridge to become firm enough to roll out and use.

Fondant: Smooth and pliable, can be rolled right away. If left at room temperature for a while it becomes sticky.

Definition Of Sugar Paste Vs Fondant

Sugar Paste: A mixture of sugar and water combined with a little lemon juice to make a firm paste, which is then kneaded well before use. Sugar paste dries hard, but will soften slightly if left at room temperature for a few hours. It can be stored for a day or two at room temperature, but if it is kept in the fridge, it will need to warm up and be kneaded well before use. It is sometimes possible to find sugar paste already coloured; this saves time and effort as no colouring needs to be done.

Fondant: A mixture of icing (confectioners) sugar and glucose syrup combined with water, which has been melted and boiled. Fondant sets hard and may dry out slightly over time, especially if left uncovered. It should be covered or wrapped until use, then kneaded gently before rolling out and handling. Fondant becomes sticky quickly and does not store well – either use it straight away or cover and refrigerate it immediately.

Edible Of Sugar Paste Vs Fondant

Sugar Paste: Yes, can be used as a cake covering or decorations on the side of the cake.

Fondant: Yes, can be used as a cake covering or decorations on the side of the cake.

Purpose Of Sugar Paste Vs Fondant

Sugar Paste: As models for work with fondant to create realistic looking sugar flowers and also other designs such as leaves etc. Also to use in conjunction with marzipan, to make fruit shapes and figures for Christmas cakes, etc. Can also be used as a filling between layers of a stacked cake covered with fondant icing.

Fondant: Can be used to cover a cake or to decorate the side of the cake. Can also be used for modeling flowers, figures, etc. and it can be colored and flavored in many different ways. Fondant works well with marzipan because fondant sets hard and firms up the marzipan so that it does not tear or soften too quickly.

Possibility Of Tearing In Use Of Sugar Paste Vs Fondant

Sugar Paste: It is possible to tear sugar paste, but only if it has been left out at room temperature for a long time, or if it is over-worked when kneading.

Fondant: Once fondant is kneaded, there’s less chance of it tearing.

Necessary Tools Of Sugar Paste Vs Fondant

Sugar Paste: Folding hook, scraper and some boards covered in cling film/plastic wrap for rolling out the paste on. A selection of modeling tools can also be useful.

Fondant: As with sugar paste a folding hook, scraper, and boards covered in cling film/plastic wrap are needed to roll out fondant icing on. A pastry brush can be used to push away excess cornflour from the board before rolling out the fondant icing, this will make it easier to handle without any lumps or bumps under the fondant icing. A smoother can also be used to smooth and flatten the icing. A selection of modeling tools can be useful too.

How To Make Sugar Paste Figures / Shapes

There are three steps to making a sugar paste figure: Making the sugar paste in a certain color, rolling it out in a thin layer, and then shaping it into your desired design.

First, you have to mix the sugar paste that’s specific for your color. There are usually three different colors in a pack: orange, white, and green (or brown). It is important to blend the colors well so that you won’t have any odd looking chunks or swirls of two or more colors in your finished product. Mixing the colors well will give you an even, smooth look to your finished sugar paste figure.

The next step is to roll out the sugar paste in a very thin layer (usually between 1/8″ and ¼”). This part can be tricky since it’ll usually take quite a bit of practice to get just right. If you roll it out too thick, the finished product will come out looking very bumpy and uneven. If you don’t put enough effort into rolling it out thin enough, you’ll have a hard time trying to mold the sugar paste because it won’t be pliable enough.

The final step is where all of your practice from rolling it out comes into play. You have to shape the sugar paste into your desired design. Sometimes, depending on what you’re making, it can be challenging to use just your hands or simple tools alone to get the exact results you want. I’ve found that using a toothpick and some small scissors can help accomplish just about anything!

It’s best to let the sugar paste figures dry at room temperature for about a day or so before you try to paint them. If you try to paint them too soon after making, the layers of paint will slide right off and ruin your design.

Sugar Paste Storage

You can store your unused sugar paste in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make sure it is stored in a closed airtight container so that it does not dry out. You should also keep it away from any other strong-smelling foods in the fridge, otherwise, you will find your sugar paste takes on a strange flavor…which is never pleasant!

If you are using sugar paste that has already been colored or rolled out, make sure you cover it with cling film to protect it from dust and insects.

How To Make Sugar Paste?

You can use either granulated white sugar or icing sugar for this type of past. Recipes are pretty much the same, but here are the differences:

1 cup/8 oz/225 g granulated sugar

2 tbsp water + 1 tsp glucose (or light corn syrup) pinch of cream of tartar (only necessary if using granulated sugar)

1 cup/8 oz/225 g icing sugar

2 tbsp water + 1 tsp glucose (or light corn syrup) generous pinch of cream of tartar (only necessary if using granulated sugar)

Ingredients/Materials You Will Need:

granulated white or icing sugar – see recipe above measuring cups and spoons small saucepan sieve or fine strainer rubber spatula or wooden spoon large mixing bowl cling film

You will also need a mold to make a shape with your sugar paste. If you do not have a specific mold, create a shape by pressing it into the sugar paste. Then remove the excess sugar.

To Make Sugar Paste:

Place your sugar in a saucepan and add just enough water to moisten it. Stir over low heat until the mixture starts to boil, then stop stirring and allow it to cook for about 10 minutes (it should be reduced by about one-third). Remove from heat and allow it cool. It can take up to an hour to reach the right temperature. When it is no longer hot, but still warm to the touch, use your hands to mix in any coloring at this stage.

Add glucose/corn syrup and cream of tartar (if using granulated sugar). A cream of tartar speeds up the dissolving process. Stir until you have a smooth paste with no lumps.

Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for an hour or so to firm up, making it easier to roll out. You can even leave it overnight in the fridge if you wish. Sugar paste is extremely pliable when warmed slightly, so feel free to roll it between your hands before starting to work with it. This will help warm the mixture slightly.

When you are ready to use your sugar paste, allow it to sit for a few minutes so that it is not too cold and firm. You can roll out the paste between two pieces of cling film if you wish, but I find this a little trickier with this type of paste as it tends to stick a lot more.

If you have a pasta machine, roll out your sugar paste to around inch/2 mm thick and cut into strips using a sharp knife, pizza cutter or even scissors (just be careful not to get too carried away!)

If you do not have such equipment, you can use a ruler and craft knife to mark strips measuring about 3 x 5 inches/76 x 127 mm.

Make sure you keep the strips covered with cling film or a clean damp cloth to stop them from drying out.

How To Use Sugar Paste And Fondant Together?

Method 1:

  1. Roll out your fondant to a thickness of 1-2mm.
  2. Place the sugar paste on top of the rolled out fondant.
  3. Cut your shapes using cookie cutters or cut free hand if you are more comfortable with this method, but ensure that each shape is slightly bigger than the size you want your finished pieces.
  4. Carefully peel the sugar paste away from underneath the fondant and place on a clean surface (or directly on top of another layer of rolled out fondant)
  5. Cut away any excess fondant using the same cutter or shape as before, but ensure that it does not go all the way through to the other side, otherwise you will see where you have cut!
  6. Allow to dry for 24 hours before placing onto cakes (the lighter the colour of your cut outs, the less time they need drying for).

Method 2: 

This method is probably most suitable for medium-sized shapes – larger than 50mm in height/width and with less detail than Method 1. It’s also a great way to get coverage without having to cut out loads of shapes.

  1. Roll out your fondant to a thickness of 1-2mm.
  2. Place the sugar paste on top of the rolled out fondant.
  3. Use a plate or other item with an edge (about 2cm) and rub over the sugar paste until the shape has been transferred onto the rolled out fondant, then carefully peel away from underneath leaving just a thin layer between you and your sugar paste shape!
  4. Use small fluted cutters/edible writers to add detail if desired, if not just leave as is!
  5. Allow to dry for 24 hours before placing onto cakes (the lighter the colour of your cut outs, the less time they need drying for).

Method 3: 

This method is a good one if you want to create a completely flat and smooth piece of sugar paste that will hold detail well, but don’t have any cutting equipment or desire to use them! I have used two different sized circles for demonstration purposes, but this works with any combination of shapes as long as they are all as deep as each other.

  1. Roll out your sugar paste to about 1-2mm thick – not too thin or it will tear when you try to lift it up!
  2. Place on top of your rolled out fondant, position in the desired location then gently press down with your finger tips ensuring that there are no air bubbles underneath. Carefully peel away from underneath just enough to take off any excess sugar paste that may have squished out during the process leaving just the visible outline/shape in place!
  3. Using edible writers/piping gel, write whatever lettering you desire in the lower half of the shape being careful not to smudge any lines you have just made.
  4. Allow to dry for 24 hours before placing onto cakes (the lighter the colour of your cut outs, the less time they need drying for).

Method 4: 

This method is great if you are using a deep/thick cutter, or don’t have any equipment to cut out shapes with but still want to have them on your cake. I use this method quite often as it’s so simple and effective! To demonstrate this, I’ve included two different sized circles – larger one is 100mm wide and smaller one is 60mm wide – both work equally well but require different amounts of fondant/sugar paste etc.

  1. Roll out your sugar paste between 1-2mm thick, place over the cutter/template you are using and cut out your shapes.
  2. Carefully peel away from underneath just enough to take off any excess sugar paste that may have squished out during the process leaving just the visible outline/shape in place!
  3. Allow to dry for 24 hours before placing onto cakes (the lighter the colour of your cut outs, the less time they need drying for).

Method 5: 

This method is a lazy one but still quite effective if done right! For this method I always encourage people to use a lot of pressure when cutting out their shapes as this will prevent them from tearing or sticking into other areas – especially important advice if you want symmetrical pieces! To demonstrate this, I’ve included two different sized circles – larger one is 100mm wide and the smaller one is 60mm wide – both work equally well but require different amounts of fondant/sugar paste etc.

  1. Follow Method 5 (including the part where you cut out your shape) up until peeling away from underneath, leave this for around 10 minutes or so (to allow the sugar paste to dry slightly) then press down firmly with the palm of your hand to make sure it sets in place.
  2. Allow to dry for 24 hours before placing onto cakes (the lighter the color of your cut outs, the less time they need drying for).

How To Cover A Cake With Fondant?

Using both Sugar Paste and Fondant together offers many advantages because they are both made from different ingredients which produce different effects so by putting them together, you get a cake that looks like it was made entirely from sugar paste, but it is actually made from both. This saves a lot of time and effort for the Decorator. In this tutorial we’re going to cover how to use Sugar Paste and Fondant together on a cake in simple steps:

  1. Prepare Your Cake As Normal – Bake your cake in a square or round tin then let it cool before leveling the top with a knife or turn it upside-down and level that way. You can also add support using dowels if you need to so when you place the covering on, there is no chance of sinking in the middle. 
  2. Crumb Coat Your Cake – After leveling, your cake will probably have crumbs which makes not smooth enough to apply fondant. So the first thing you need to do is apply a thin layer of butter cream all over your cake with a flat spatula, working from the center and moving outwards in circles so you don’t create crumbs. Then chill it in the fridge for about an hour to harden and firm up.
  3. Apply Sugar Paste – If you want to cover your cake entirely with sugar paste, then go ahead and follow these steps: Smoothen the butter cream using a pastry brush dipped in boiled water to get rid of any bubbles or marks on top of your chilled cake then place the sugar paste over that evenly by rolling it out directly onto baking paper then lifting that onto your cake. Smooth it down firmly using fingertips or knuckles and trim away excess from around the cake.
  4. Prepare Fondant – Take a small amount of fondant you can work with at a time. Roll each portion into a ball then flatten slightly using your palm and fingers to create a disc shape. Dust dry, clean surface with cornstarch or powdered sugar so it doesn’t stick to the surface as you roll out your fondant discs, this way they won’t leave any marks on the side of your cake when pressed against it later on.
  5. Cover Cake With Fondant – Start by placing one flattened disc over the cut section where you intend to start applying the sides, keeping in mind that after 3 discs, you’ll need to apply more butter cream before continuing to stick the fondant discs to each other. Press down firmly with your fingertips or knuckles around the cake, then using a small rolling pin, roll it over the sides of your cake starting from either side about 1 inch away from the cut section where you first placed your disc. Keep rolling until you reach the end of that section then lift up and move onto next section by pressing gently with knuckles at both ends to secure it. Continue all the way around then trim excess around base of cake one last time.
  6. Drafting With Sugar Paste – If you’re not too confident in drawing free-hand shapes with Fondant because it’s difficult to draw on smooth fondant surface, then try drafting out what you want (for example a heart, flower etc.) onto baking paper then place it over your sugar paste and trace around the edges with a heated ball tool so it melts the surface of the fondant enough to transfer the markings you need.
  7. Make It Look Professional – To mold Fondant into different shapes without much effort, especially for shaping flowers or other complicated designs, use gelatin glue which can be made by mixing water together with powdered gelatin to act as an adhesive since it’s not sticky but strong enough to hold its shape under fondant which is very easy to roll out then mold into any design you like making sure there are no air bubbles. Brush edible glue on top of one section of rolled-out fondant before placing another rolled-out disc over that. Apply fondant all around and smooth down with fingertips to secure in place. Trim excess from base of cake one last time using a pizza wheel or sharp knife.
  8. Decorate With Fondant – After your cake is fully covered, you can use leftover pieces of fondant to decorate the top and/or sides of the cake by cutting with small cookie cutters for example, then sticking them onto the surface using sugar glue. To make ribbon roses, roll out white fondant into long thin shapes with thickness about 1/4 inch then curve into half-circle shape (like bow tie). Then taking both ends of such curved strip together in between finger and thumb; twist one 180 degrees away from yourself while the other towards yourself to create a loop then curl it by winding it around your finger whilst still holding the loop. After you’ve finished making all the loops, brush with sugar glue and stick them onto the sides of your cake to look like rose petals.
  9. Keep It Fresh – If you want to keep any leftover fondant or sugar paste fresh for later use, apply a thin coat of Vaseline over surface before storing away in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out which will ruin its softness and pliable property that’s needed when working with during fondant/sugar paste crafting work.
  10. How To Make Edible Glue? – Take ¼ cup water in small saucepan plus ½ teaspoon powdered gelatin then bring to boil over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in ½ teaspoon Glucose syrup or corn syrup stirring with a wooden spoon until it forms a gel-like consistency, let cool slightly before use. This recipe is enough for glue which can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks so you always have some on hand when needed.

– If using gelatin mix as edible glue makes fondant hard to roll out, mix together 3 parts cornflour with 1 part water instead, making certain there are no lumps in mixture before applying onto fondant surface, this will not dry out as quickly as gum paste glue but is more difficult to apply since its thicker and tends to marks on the surface of sugar paste.

– Cornstarch Glue Recipe – In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 teaspoons COLD water until smooth without any lumps then place over medium heat in saucepan, stirring constantly to prevent from burning or sticking until it forms a paste. Cool slightly before use to allow it to thicken further. This recipe is enough for glue which can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks so you always have some on hand when needed.

– Gum Arabic Glue Recipe – Mix together 1 teaspoon of gum arabic powder with 6 drops of cold water then bring 2 teaspoons of sugar into another pan over low heat until melted and golden brown while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat once sugar is fully dissolved and add 1 tablespoon of water to dissolve sugar crystals, then stir in gum arabic mixture. Mix well by stirring with a wooden spoon over low heat until it forms a thick paste which is the edible glue needed for sugar paste. This recipe is enough for glue which can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks so you always have some on hand when needed.

– About Rice Flour – Mixing rice flour with Tylo powder (available from baking supplies) together equals binds fondant better making less stretchy and more firm which can be molded into flower shapes or other complicated designs like rose petals like true professionals do since its binds color better than cornflour/potato starch/cornstarch and it requires less moisture to make the paste pliable enough to use.


What Is The Difference Between Royal Icing And Fondant?

Fondant is usually softer than royal icing so it can be used for modelling shapes such as flowers and animals (royal icing can be used for this too if you add a few drops of glycerine to the mix). Fondant has a subtle taste and is moister than royal icing so it is easier to roll out and shape.

Where Can I Get Fondant?

As well as specialist sugarcraft shops, supermarkets stock white ready-to-roll fondant icing for covering cakes. This is not ideal as it lacks the elasticity of imported brands (particularly Swiss or Italian), but it will work in a pinch!

What Can I Substitute For Fondant?

You can make your own fondant by mixing icing sugar with water and cooking it until thickened, but this quickly becomes brittle if exposed to air so will only work if you cover the cake straight away. You can also buy white vegetable fat (shortening) and add vanilla essence and/or gel colouring until you get the desired shade, then knead well before use. The resulting fondant has a soft, stretchy texture. It is best suited to covering and sculpting shapes such as fruit, as it discolours slightly if allowed to rest for very long.

Can I Flavor Fondant?

If you knead a few drops of concentrated flavouring or coconut essence into your fondant, this will produce a delicious taste – don’t overdo it though, otherwise the fondant can become sticky and lose its elasticity! It is best not to add too much at first, then add more next time you use the icing.

Should I Use White Or Colored Fondant?

This depends on your design – if you don’t want any colour from the cake showing through underneath, use white; otherwise pick a colour that matches your decoration scheme. In general, it is easier to cover a cake with white fondant because you can trim off any excess; however white fondant will not show up well on dark or patterned cakes. Coloured fondants come in both creme and dust varieties, which are less sweet than white fondant.

How Do I Keep Fondant Fresh?

Fondant icing needs to be wrapped airtight so it does not dry out, otherwise it will “sweat” when you try to work with it. A small amount of glycerine added to the mix makes the fondant more pliable and reduces sweating on humid days, but too much of this additive may give your icing an unappetising sheen. Store at normal room temperature (no fridge

What Are The Main Sugar Paste Brands That Sell It?

There are quite a few brands out there that make sugar paste including Betty Crocker, CK Products, Glicks, JEM / FMM Sugarcraft, Eberno, Ace of Cakes, Modelling Magic, Cake Lace.

What Do The Different Sugar Paste Brands Taste Like?

All brands have a slightly different taste, but in general, I find them all to be very sweet and sickly with a hint of Jell-O or playdough aftertaste! Therefore I was so pleased when I discovered Dummy Paste a few years ago – this tastes amazing by comparison, it actually doesn’t have a taste at all!

How Much Does Sugar Paste Cost?

This varies from around £2 for 500g up to £15+ for 1kg. You can also buy your sugarpaste in bulk which is cheaper per kg if you buy 3+ kilograms at once. 

How Long Does Sugar Paste Last? Can It Be Frozen? 

I normally use a whole 2kg tub in a week, so I freeze my sugarpaste whenever I have half a tub left. It lasts for ages in the freezer – maybe even years. If you do decide to freeze your sugarpaste then defrost it overnight at room temperature and then roll out as normal. 

How Long Does Sugar Paste Take To Dry Out Completely If Left Uncovered? 

This is very difficult for me to answer! As every air conditioning unit dries the air at different speeds you will also find that some of them dry the paste faster than others – it’s impossible to know how long this will take until you actually leave your covered cake (with cellane or clingfilm) out for a few hours to test.


This blog post has introduced you to the differences between sugar paste and fondant icing, so that you can make an informed decision on which type of cake covering you’ll use. Each product has its pros and cons, but we hope this guide will help narrow down your search for the perfect one! Which do you prefer?

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