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Sugar Paste vs. Gum Paste: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 13, 2024
Sugar paste is a pliable, sweet dough used in cake decorating, while gum paste is a more elastic, quick-drying paste ideal for creating fine, intricate decorations.

Key Differences

Sugar paste, made primarily from sugar, water, and a gelatin-like substance, is soft and pliable. Gum paste, though similar in ingredients, includes a gumming agent, giving it a more elastic and stretchy texture.
Sugar paste is best for covering cakes due to its smooth texture and flexibility. Gum paste dries faster and harder, making it suitable for detailed decorations like flowers or figurines.
Both are edible, sugar paste is more palatable and often used for elements meant to be eaten. Gum paste, due to its hardness and texture, is usually used for decorative pieces not intended for consumption.
Sugar paste cannot hold fine details like gum paste, which can be rolled thinner and shaped into more intricate designs without breaking.
Sugar paste decorations can soften over time, especially in humid conditions. Gum paste maintains its shape and texture longer, ideal for keepsake decorations.

Comparison Chart


Sugar, water, gelatin-like substance.
Similar to sugar paste, with gumming agent.


Soft and pliable.
More elastic and stretchy.

Drying Time

Dries slower, stays flexible.
Dries faster and harder.

Ideal Use

Covering and decorating cakes.
Detailed decorations like flowers.


More palatable, usually eaten.
Often for decoration, not intended to eat.

Sugar Paste and Gum Paste Definitions

Sugar Paste

Edible paste used to make decorations that are soft and flexible.
The sugar paste was perfect for creating the edible ribbons on the cake.

Gum Paste

A sugar-based dough with added gumming agents for elasticity.
She used gum paste to craft delicate flowers for the cake topper.

Sugar Paste

A versatile decorating medium that can be colored and flavored.
He added food coloring to the sugar paste to match the party's theme.

Gum Paste

Can be rolled very thin without tearing, unlike sugar paste.
For the intricate butterfly wings, she rolled the gum paste extra thin.

Sugar Paste

A pliable, sweet dough used for cake decorating.
She rolled out the sugar paste to smoothly cover the wedding cake.

Gum Paste

Less suitable for eating due to its hard texture when dried.
The gum paste figures on the cake were meant more for decoration than consumption.

Sugar Paste

Used for creating simple, edible decorations on baked goods.
For the cupcakes, she cut out small stars from the sugar paste.

Gum Paste

Dries quickly and becomes hard, suitable for non-edible pieces.
The wedding cake featured a beautiful, non-edible gum paste arrangement.

Sugar Paste

A popular choice for covering cakes due to its smooth finish.
The birthday cake looked stunning, thanks to the vibrant blue sugar paste.

Gum Paste

Ideal for creating fine, intricate decorations that hold shape.
The gum paste allowed him to make realistic-looking leaves for the cake.


What is gum paste?

Gum paste is a sugar-based dough with added gumming agents, used for creating fine, intricate, and often non-edible cake decorations.

Can you eat decorations made from gum paste?

While gum paste is technically edible, its hard texture when dried makes it less suitable for consumption.

How do you store sugar paste decorations?

Store sugar paste decorations in a cool, dry place, away from moisture to maintain their shape.

How do you prevent sugar paste from drying out?

Keep sugar paste covered or wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.

What is sugar paste?

Sugar paste is a soft, pliable dough used in cake decorating for covering cakes and making simple decorations.

Can you flavor gum paste?

Yes, gum paste can be flavored, though it's more commonly used for its structural qualities.

Can gum paste decorations be preserved?

Yes, gum paste decorations can be preserved for a long time if kept dry and away from sunlight.

Is sugar paste the same as fondant?

Sugar paste is similar to fondant but often softer and more pliable, making it easier to mold and shape.

Is gum paste better for outdoor events?

Yes, gum paste is more resistant to humidity and heat, making it better for outdoor events.

How long does sugar paste last?

When stored properly, sugar paste can last several months.

Do you need special tools for gum paste?

Working with gum paste often requires fine tools for detailed shaping and molding.

Is sugar paste suitable for intricate decorations?

Sugar paste is less suitable for very intricate decorations as it doesn't hold shape as well as gum paste.

Can you color gum paste?

Yes, gum paste can be colored using food coloring, similar to sugar paste.

What is the drying time for gum paste?

Gum paste dries quickly, often within a few hours, depending on thickness and humidity.

Can sugar paste be used for 3D decorations?

Sugar paste can be used for simple 3D decorations but lacks the strength of gum paste for more complex structures.

Can you mix sugar paste and gum paste?

Yes, mixing sugar paste and gum paste can combine their qualities for specific decoration needs.

How do you soften hard sugar paste?

Hard sugar paste can be softened by kneading it with a bit of shortening.

How do you fix cracks in gum paste?

Small cracks in gum paste can be smoothed out with a bit of shortening and gentle kneading.

Are sugar paste and gum paste vegan-friendly?

Traditional recipes may not be vegan, but there are vegan-friendly versions available for both sugar paste and gum paste.

Can sugar paste be refrigerated?

Refrigerating sugar paste is not recommended as it can become too hard and lose its pliability.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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