Gumpaste is an edible, pliable dough that dries hard. It can be used to make molded figures that will hold fine detail, or it can be rolled out to make fine flower petals and leaves.
Conventional gumpaste is made with egg whites or gelatin, gum powder, and sugar, making these edible works of art unavailable to those who can’t or don’t eat eggs and gelatin. Thanks to the wonderful folks at the Vegan Meringues – Hits and Misses Facebook group, we have learned that “aqua faba,” or the liquid drained from a can of beans, can be whipped into stiff peaks much like egg whites. It can act as an egg white substitute in many recipes, including gumpaste. For best results, use chickpeas or another mildly flavored bean, but they all work.
Vegan Gumpaste Recipe
- 1/2 cup aqua faba (the drained liquid from a can of chickpeas or other mild-flavored beans)
- 2 pounds powdered sugar (about 8 cups), divided
- 4 Tablespoons Tylose powder or Gum Tragacanth (use less if you don’t want it to dry quite so fast)
- 4 teaspoons shortening
- Reserve 1 cup of the powdered sugar and set it aside.
- Add the chickpea liquid to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed briefly, until liquid becomes frothy.
- Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and slowly add the remaining powdered sugar, making a soft consistency royal icing.
- Turn up the speed to setting 3 or 4, until the mixture reaches the soft peak stage. It should be shiny, with peaks that fall over.
- If you intend to color the entire batch a single color, add gel or paste food coloring at this point. Aim for a shade darker than your intended final shade, because your creations will lighten as they dry.
- Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and sprinkle the gum powder into the mixture slowly.
- After the gum has been added, briefly turn up the speed to high in order to thicken the mixture.
- Sprinkle some of the reserved powdered sugar onto a flat work surface, and scrape the gumpaste onto it. Rub the shortening onto the palms of your hands and knead the paste, adding the reserved powdered sugar as needed, until the dough is soft, but not sticky. Note: You may not need all of the sugar! The dough will be at the right consistency if you can pinch it, and your fingers come away clean.
- Wrap the gumpaste well with plastic wrap, and place in a well-sealed zip-top bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours to allow the paste to mature.
- Allow the paste to come to room temperature before use (you can speed this along by kneading a small amount in your hand). Before use, place a small amount of shortening in the palm of your hand and knead this into the paste. Gel or paste food colorings can be kneaded in at this stage.
- Gum paste dries out very quickly. Work with only a small amount of the paste at a time, keep all unused portions well-covered at all times. Always wrap the paste well and return it to the refrigerator after use.
- Store gumpaste in the refrigerator, or in the freezer (well-wrapped!) for longer storage. If you intend to freeze your gumpaste, allow it to mature for 24 hours in the refrigerator before freezing.