Ingredients for the sugar paste

Ingredients and additives for sugar paste | CMC | Tylose powder | Gum arabic

Sugar paste sometimes needs a little help depending on the temperature of your room and especially on what you want to do with it. Make it harder, more malleable, less dry. There are a lot of ingredients or additives that will make your work easier.

Gum arabic, gum tragacanth, CMC, etc. are all edible gums used in cake decoration. However, some powders all look the same and can lead to confusion as to their use. So we explain it all to you!

What is Tragacanth gum?

Tragacanth is a natural ingredient used to emulsify and thicken foods like mayonnaise and liqueurs. But it is its strength and elasticity that allows you to create flowers worthy of a botanical garden in cake design!

Tragacanth is a powder that can be added to sugar paste (2 tablespoons of powder for 500 g of sugar paste) to obtain a softer consistency for modeling flowers and figurines. It will be easier for you to work with sugar paste. It allows decorations to dry quickly and harden more. Knead the gum into your sugarpaste. Then leave it overnight (you can start to feel the difference after a few hours).

Alternatives to tragacanth gum:

CMC or Carboxymethylcellulose, E466, Tylose are a single additive. It is the synthetic cousin of the tragacanth gum.

The great thing about using CMC in cake decorating is that it's more or less instant. This is great for last minute needs and class situations, however, as stated above, I prefer to work with the real thing!

What is gum arabic?

Gum Arabic, also known as gum acacia or E414, is harvested from two types of wild acacia trees found in the African Sahel, from Senegal-Sudan to Somalia.

This versatile product can be used in many ways in baking and cake design:

In pastry

Add gum arabic powder to dry ingredients when making sponge cakes. Add 2 teaspoons of gum arabic to a 6-egg recipe. It will help the cake rise and add natural soluble fiber to your cake.

As glue and icing

Mix gum arabic powder with hot water (10ml/2tsp gum with 60ml/2fl oz water) to create an edible glue for sticking sugar cubes together.

It can also be used as a glaze for marzipan or sugar paste. One coat of gum will give a slight shine and subsequent coats will give a high gloss finish. Be careful, each layer must dry before applying the next. The gum arabic glue can be stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for a few months. 

Gum Arabic powder is used to make edible glitter. These are colored sugar flakes that can be sprinkled on cakes to decorate them. To make the glitter stick to the surface, brush food glue or egg white on the area to be decorated and sprinkle with glitter.

Food glue

Today all the cake design brands offer ready to use food glue: Squireq Kitchen, Rainbow Dust, Fractal Colors, Funcakes etc. These edible glues save you time in your cake decoration work. 


Glycerin's function is to hydrate in that it is very effective at retaining moisture for a long period of time. In the case of sugar paste, it will help keep it soft for longer and prevent it from drying out too quickly when working with it. It also slightly helps sugars not to crystallize, because as you can guess, sugar paste has a lot of sugar in it!

Adding just a small amount of glycerin to your sugar paste can help bring it back to life. Start with a few drops, then stir it into your sugarpaste until it is soft and smooth again!