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Are you sure those roses aren't real?!
Squires Kitchen Sugar Florist Paste
Member Name: Holland1
Squires Kitchen Sugar Florist Paste
Advantages: Good value, use straight from packet, ultra-fine for realistic finish, lasts a while
Disadvantages: Doesn't taste good if you eat it!
This Sugar Florist Paste is specifically designed for creating sugar flowers when cake decorating. It is used in preference to the usual fondant (sugarpaste) which is more readily available in supermarkets, because it is finer, and gives a more delicate and realistic finish. There are various types available, but I always use the Squires Kitchen SFP which retails at around £4.35 for 200g. It can be found in most cake decorating suppliers, such as Squires Kitchen (online), Lakeland, or Hobbycraft.
The paste comes in a range of different colours, mostly pastels, but I usually buy the white one and then colour it myself using the food colour pastes from the same brand. This means I don't have any waste, as I'm unlikely to use a pack of paste in a specific colour before it goes hard, due to not having time (or reason!) to make and decorate as many cakes as I'd like. Obviously, if you were doing cake decorating as a career, the coloured ones would come in handy for multiple uses. You can also buy bigger 1kg packs which work out better value at £14.50, but I've never bought these for the same reason.
This paste is billed as being "The Professional's Choice", and it is the UK market leader; from the courses I have attended, I would say this is probably true. It is an ultra-fine paste, which gives a very realistic finish. I guess if you think about what it's being used for, it would need to be rolled very thin to give the appearance of petals and leaves, which are paper thin. It gives a perfectly smooth finish, and doesn't break or rip when being rolled thinly. It dries rock hard and lasts for many years, which is nice for people like my mum who like to keep things I've made as keepsakes. I've got a lot of the flowers I made during my college course at home, and they have survived house leaks, house moves, and transportation, and are still in one piece having only lost the odd leaf or petal. The paste is very robust and your hard work won't go to waste, although it's very important to keep the paste dry so it doesn't go all gooey and melt into a Snowman type mess.
The paste can be used straight from the pack, which is worth mentioning because I did a course once where she used a different kind of paste (petal paste) which needed to be stored in the freezer and taken out in advance of using it. I am not organised enough to plan for this kind of thing, so being able to take this paste straight from the packet is a huge advantage for me. The package is re-sealable, and this keeps the paste soft and malleable so you can work with it easily. If it isn't kept in an airtight package or container, it goes hard and crumbly and becomes useless. I usually keep it in the pack and then put it in Tupperware, because the seal on the pack does become less effective over time. It does have a sell-by date on it, but I usually use mine up well before this as the date will be generous i.e. a couple of years.
It's worth mentioning that SFP is gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians. Although it's unlikely you're ever going to eat the paste, it's probably going to come into contact with the cake so this is peace of mind for vegetarians. You might be wondering why I say it's unlikely to be eaten, but this is because the paste dries rock solid so you'd probably break a tooth if you tried to eat it. Add to this the fact it may also have been heavily coloured (E-numbers alert!), and may have wires inserted to hold the flower together, most people providing cakes with sugar decorations advise not to eat the decorations.
Overall, this is a brilliant product which will give you a lot of use out of a small packet. As long as you store it in an airtight container, it will last a long time, and the finish is so realistic, my dad once thought I was winding him up by showing him real roses and passing them off as being made from flowerpaste - hence the title!
(Review may also be posted on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)
Summary: The UK market leader in this field
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