All About Sugar Diamonds
and Candy Jewel Cakes by Renee Shelton
Ingredients & Recipes, Special Molds, and Decorating Them
Okay, you want a little bling or sparkle for a cake, and don't know where to begin? There are special molds made just for that - molds for creating edible candy jewels for pastry.
Depending on the material of the mold, they can be made with just about anything. If they are high temperature molds you can use them with a boiled sugar or isomalt mixture for hard candy-style diamonds and jewels. The molds can be made by yourself at home, too. If you feel a little less ambitious but still want sparkle, purchase ready-made candy diamonds and jewels to easily decorate your cake.
Here are great resources and examples for candy jewel cakes, and how to apply sugar diamonds and candy jewels to cakes.
A cake fit for a princess.
Image courtesy Flickr.com
User: DominusVobiscum through a creative commons license.
What Are Candy Jewels Made Of?
Candy jewels and edible sugar diamonds can be made from many different materials. The hard candy ones, while they are completely edible, may be a choking hazard to the little ones so avoid giving those out or serving items with them placed on top for decoration to anyone who you wouldn't otherwise give a gumball to, due to choking hazards. Here are some examples of what the candy jewels can be made of.
Isomalt - Isomalt is a chemically-produced sugar substitute perfect for candy-making as it creates a more humidity and moisture-resistant product. When it is being boiled, it doesn't need any anti-crystallizing ingredients as it does a great job of resisting crystallization on its own. Isomalt is sugar-free and lower in calories than regular sugar, but is made from sucralose.
Boiled Sugar - Simply a mixture of sugar, water and sometimes an anti-crystallizing agent (like glucose) or an acid to help prevent humidity or make it stronger (like tartaric acid, vinegar or cream of tartar). Some recipes call for both an anti-crystallizing agent and an acid, while some actually call for neither.
Fondant - Fondant is a pliable sugarcraft dough, that can be pressed into the molds.
Chocolate Plastique or Candy Clay - Candy clays can be pressed into molds just like fondant. These can be purchased or made at home with corn syrup or glucose and confectionery coating or chocolate.
Molds for Candy Jewels
The type of mold being used limits what they jewels are made of. Plastic molds are great for use with fondant and candy clays. Silicone molds are used with boiled sugar and isomalt recipes, and are great are great at removal since you just press up from underneath the mold for release. High temperature plastic candy molds are made of a special plastic that can be used in the oven up to temperatures of around 350 degrees and are strong enough to withstand poured sugar being placed inside the cavities. Certain high temperature molds are made for use many times over, while others are thin and inexpensive and may not last as long. The benefit to either one is that the more expensive ones will obviously last longer but with the cheaper ones you can buy a wide selection of jewel shapes for your cake.
Decorating and Coloring the Candy Jewels
Color the isomalt or sugar - Use food coloring in the hot sugar after it has boiled, or stirred into melted isomalt.
Paint the candy jewels - Using a mixture of luster or sugar craft dusts and either vodka (or other flavorless & colorless straight alcohol) or a pure oil such as lemon oil, the colors can be painted on the jewels. This works very well with fondant.
Spray edible lacquer - This helps to set the jewels and protect them from humidity.
Brush with luster dust - Use a small and soft sugarcraft or confectionery brush to apply a bit of dust to the jewels for a little sparkle.
Example of a high temperature plastic
candy jewel mold that can be used
with both candy clay and boiled sugar.
Example of a plastic jewel mold
for use with candy clay and fondant.
All sugar pictures were taken in our studios and are copyright 2010 Renee Shelton.
Pastry & Baking Charts _______________________