Sugarpaste is known under many names around the world – fondant, easy ice, ready-to-roll icing, plastic icing (there’s no plastic in it by the way), rolled fondant and many more. All are fairly similar although the taste may differ slightly and some may have a firmer texture than others. Many supermarkets stock their own brands which are often a few pennies cheaper than named brands and can often be as good.
Your sugarpaste will come tightly sealed in airtight packaging to keep it soft and malleable. Once you have opened the packet, cover and reseal the leftover sugarpaste to keep it fresh and to stop it going hard too quickly. Small plastic food bags are ideal for this. Then store the bags of unused sugarpaste in a plastic food container with a tightly fitted lid. You can use plastic wrap in an emergency but be aware that as it’s porous, it will not keep the sugarpaste soft for as long as a plastic food bag will.
Ready coloured sugarpaste can be bought in many different colours and shades. You can also colour your own.
It is best to use food colour pastes or concentrated gels when colouring sugarpaste. This is because they are thicker than liquid colours so are less likely to alter the consistency of the sugarpaste itself. Too much liquid colour and your sugarpaste will become soggy and unuseable.
Apply the food colour paste direct to your sugarpaste using a cocktail stick then knead it it. (Try to avoid dipping the craft knife that you’re working with in the colour pot. By using a fresh cocktail stick you are less likely to contaminate the pot of colour with germs.) Alternatively you can color a small lump of sugarpaste a deep shade of your chosen colour then knead that in. Although most colours wash off the skin fairly easily, if you are at all worried about the colour staining your hands you can protect them with disposable gloves.
You can also knead different colours of sugarpaste together – a little red and yellow for instance will result in an orange paste.
If you have made your colour too dark, knead a little white sugarpaste in to lighten it.
You can add more than one food colour paste at a time to get the shade you want. For example if you knead a few dabs of blue and green food colour into white sugarpaste you get a turqoise paste.
Making a little icing person or animal doesn’t have to be terribly complicated. If you explode a model you will usually find that the shapes used to build the figure are pretty simple. The most common shapes being a sausage or string, a ball and a conical carrot type shape.
Make the body parts in sections, sticking the pieces together as you go. I use plain water for sticking mysugarpaste pieces together but you could use sugar glue to do this if you prefer. You can buy ready made sugar glue or you could make your own by dissolving a lump of sugarpaste in water.