Notice my contact info to the right, if you want to contact me with any questions. I would also like to say that I do attempt to give credit where credit is due. I do not make any claims to cakes in my blog except the ones in my slideshow. If I show a cake I will try to post some type of identifer with it, however, if I don't know who posted the cake it is impossible for me to do that. I am only using the cake to illustrate a specific technique.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What is the strangest thing you have put on a cake?

Well, in answer to my own question, I have used brown sugar for sand, homemade hard candy waves, and green fruit by the foot for seaweed just to name a few.

If you have never worked with hard candy, you may find it is something you enjoy. If you have the proper molds, you can make candy gems to put on your cakes or just make lollipop for the kids. Or like I can use it to make waves come right out the sides of your cake. There are a couple of ways to make hard candy. You can use a commercial product called Isomalt or you can use regular sugar. While the isomalt candy is supposed to be more stable, the sugar is more readily available.

Isomalt is used commercially to make the candy less sticky and have a longer shelf life. You can order isomalt online, I'm not certain where you could purchase it otherwise (unless places like Michaels or Hobby Lobby would carry it). I have never worked with isomalt to make hard candy, but if you would like a recipe here is one I found on the website (they carry the Isomalt as well on their site for $4.99/pound):

ISOMALT Hard Candy Recipe

1 cup Isomalt
4 Tablespoons Hot Water
Liquid food coloring as desired

Combine Isomalt and water in a 1 quart heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat while stirring with a wooden spoon until dissolved. Dip a pastry brush in water and wash down the sides to prevent crystallizing. Insert a candy thermometer to monitor temperature. You may have to wash down the sides with water one or two more times. Cook until mixture reaches 320 degrees and remove from heat. The syrup is VERY HOT! Take precautions to prevent burns.

When syrup stops bubbling, slowly add flavoring and food coloring if desired. When using molds, make sure they are the proper molds for candy and not the ones for chocolates, as the molds for chocolate will melt. Prepare your molds by spraying them with Pam or lightly oiling them. Pour hot syrup into molds and allow to harden 10 minutes. Unmold onto waxed paper. If the weather is humid, wrap in candy bags to prevent the candy from becoming cloudy.

The use of a candy funnel will make this job much easier. Please remember that large candies can be a choking hazard with children.

If you would like a recipe using regular sugar, here is one from "The Joy of Cooking" cookbook:

Hard Candy or Lollipops
makes about 1-1/2 pounds
Bring to a boil in a large, heavy pan:
1 cup water
Remove from heat. Add and stir until dissolved:
2 cups sugar
3/4 Cup light corn syrup
1 Tablespoon butter
Return to heat. When boiling, cover for about 3 minutes so the steam can wash down any crystals on the sides of the pan.
Uncover and cook at high heat without stirring until the thermometer reaches 310 degrees. Prepare a slab or molds by brushing them well with butter or oil. If you are going to make lollipops, have stiffened lollipop cords on the oiled slab ready to recieve patties. Remove candy mixture to low heat and add:
a few drops of coloring matter
(Here is where you would add your LorAnn Oils...see note below)
Choose a vegetable color suitable to the flavor you have decided to use. An alcohol-based flavor like vanilla will evaporate in the intense heat. So be sure to use a flavor based, instead, on essential oils. For the above recipe, for instance, we suggest one of the following:
1/4 teaspoon, or less, oil of peppermint or
1 teaspoon, or less oil of orange, lime, or wintergreen
1/4 teaspoon or less oil of cassia or cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon oil of anise

Some of this recipe may sound was orginally printed in 1931. My suggestion would be to use some LorAnn oils of whatever flavor you like best and add about a teaspoon (which is about all there is in the small bottles I think).

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