Modelling Paste is ideal for sculpting intricate decorations in icing - particularly things like flowers, animals and people. You can get away with making simpler models from ready to roll icing, but your results wont be as good if you try to use it for anything more detailed.
If you’ve never used modelling paste before, rest assured that it’s not difficult to work with and the results can be spectacular, especially if you follow these top 5 tips.
1. You Need to Knead
The modelling paste you’re using might be straight out of a packet, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be ready to work with immediately. You have to knead the slab until it’s warm and pliable enough to work with. If you skip this part the problem isn’t just that the paste won’t do what you want, it will also result in unsightly cracks on the surface of your model. You’ll see those surface cracks as soon you open the packet, and they’ll still be there on your finished product - unless you give the modelling paste the kneading it needs.
2. Consistency is Crucial
This might take some trial and error to get right, and inexperienced bakers might be a bit nervous about it, but combining modelling paste with ready-to-roll icing (50:50) can give a superior set. Doing this also gives you easy access to lots of other colour combinations - and is still less risky than doing your own colouring (more on that next). With a little experimentation - which is all part of the fun - you’ll arrive at the perfect consistency you need for your particular model, whether that’s a chunky animal or a delicately shaped flower like this.
3. Consider Colour Carefully
First of all, put all those jars of generic food colouring back in the cupboard. They add a lot of moisture, which will undermine the firmness of the paste, and could even make it impossible to work with. Dust colours have the opposite problem by drying the paste out. That leaves you with two options. The first is to use paste colours, either by kneading them into the paste or by adding a little water and then painting the surface of your finished model. The second, zero-stress, option is to buy ready-coloured modelling paste. You can buy it in a range of colours and, as mentioned above, you can knead different shades together for even more colour combinations.
Another key point is that the colours need to be considered carefully at the outset. It sounds obvious, but with your mind focused on the tricky sculpture you’re about to take on, colouring is easily overlooked. That’s until you cast your eyes on the finished project, at which point an oddly coloured model is impossible to miss. When it comes to modelling people in particular, experiment with a little modelling paste in order to get the skin tones right. Basically, you need to be careful not to make all your characters look like they’ve just been Tango’d.
4. Have a Ball
Most complex figurines and other intricate shapes start their lives as simple balls of modelling paste. As you gain more experience, you’ll find yourself making balls before you get started - almost automatically. As well as giving you the best shape to begin working on, you’ll also be making sure the consistency is right and that there are no cracks on the surface.
5. Patience Pays Off
If you’re on a deadline, factor in the 24 hours your model needs to dry and set firmly. It’ll be tempting to keep fiddling with your masterpiece during that time, so keeping your hands off might require some willpower. To help with that, imagine how you’d feel after accidentally snapping off a petal, especially if you’d come close to producing a cake as striking as the one at the top of the page.
When working with modelling paste for the first time, you’ll be impatient to let your creativity loose. Following these top 5 tips will help you avoid rookie errors and let you do just that.
I am a brand ambassador for Renshaw Baking and have been compensated for this post.
If you’d like to try out one of these cakes then why not try Renshaw Flower and Modelling Paste