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Hints and Tips on using Sugarpaste

Hints and Tips on using Sugarpaste

In this day and age sugar paste has become a vital ingredient for a cake decorator.

A very sweet edible sugar dough, sugar paste should not be confused with fondant and can be used to cover cakes, mold features and create fabulous cake decorations.

Our cake creatives work with it every day, producing amazing results, and you can too if you follow some of our handy hints and tips.

Let’s start with:

1) Kneading the sugar paste

This is the most important stage so make sure you do this on a work surface without any icing sugar.

NEVER knead on icing sugar as all you are doing is kneading it into the paste and therefore drying it out quicker.

The result? It’s more likely to crack on the edges when you cover the cake. Disastrous!

Make sure you knead your sugar paste until you have a crack free smooth paste. Do this and you will have a good finish on your cake, regardless of its shape.

2) Icing a cake board

First, make sure you have all your tools ready before you begin.

You will also need a cup of previously boiled water and a brush.

Next, take just enough icing to give a thin coat and roll out the sugar paste on a very fine dusting of icing sugar. Measure to make sure it will fit over the board and smooth with the smoother.

Damp the board by brushing some of the water over it.

Lift up the icing over the rolling pin and make sure you have no air trapped underneath by smoothing from the centre out. This helps expel any air.

Leave this to dry for approximately 48 hours before continuing to put your iced cake in position on it.

Before placing your cake on the board place a disc of wax paper under your cake to separate the cake from the iced board.

3) Sugar pasting your cake

Before you start sugar pasting your cake always look at the quantity chart for the icing. We will be adding a char soon to help you so that you work with the correct amount of sugar paste at all times.

Once you have a good smooth ball of paste you are ready to begin.  

If you are icing a fruit cake then you need to brush the marzipan all over with gin, vodka or previously boiled water to moisten it so the icing sticks to it.

If you are icing a sponge cake then coat the outside of your cake with a thin layer of cream for the sugar paste to stick to.

Measure your cake across the top, down both sides and the board; this gives you the size that your sugar paste needs to be.

At this point it’s time to start rolling out your sugar paste on a small dusting of icing sugar. Roll out until your paste is to the required size, trying to keep it in shape, and keep turning it to make sure it does not stick to the work surface.

If you find, as it gets larger, it’s difficult to turn then lift it by using your rolling pin to flip the icing over and if necessary sprinkle a little more icing sugar under it. Don’t be afraid, as you are rolling, to knock your paste back into shape with the side of your rolling pin. You will find this also means you have not got a lot of excess sugar paste so you will be able to keep the correct thickness to achieve a good covering.

Once you have rolled out your icing use your smoother and smooth all over to get rid of any ridges. When you rub your hands over it, it should feel smooth and silky.

At this point you are now ready to cover your cake and your board if you have not iced it separately.

Start by laying your rolling pin across the centre of your sugar paste.

You will find it an advantage if you have a longer non-stick rolling pin and not a short wooden one.

Flip your icing over your rolling pin and lift the icing across to your creamed cake or, if doing a fruit cake, the moistened marzipan.

If you are icing the board then moisten it by brushing with a little water.

Lift the icing to the cake and lay the edge of the icing against the base of the cake or the board if you are icing it.

Start rolling your rolling pin to gently ease the icing until it lays totally over the cake. This way you do not need to use your hands and have your fingers pressing into the icing.

Start in the centre of the cake. Use the ball of your hand and in a circular movement rub the top of your cake, gradually getting closer to the edge.

This expels all the air that is trapped between the layers.

Then using a smoother gently smooth over the top very lightly. Your top is now complete.

It’s time to think about the sides.

If you find you have excess sugar paste and you know you will not be using it again for a while wrap it up in cling film and put it into a plastic food bag. Make sure you place it in the freezer labelled with the date you put it in and what it is.

Follow our handy hints and your cake creation will be admired by friends and family. Good luck and have fun!

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