Making edible bling for your cake or cupcakes sounds like a fun idea until you start! The first try usually goes something like this: Melt sugar, burn self, sugar turns yellow, gets crystals, gets cloudy, looks crappy. Get frustrated. Give up.
Not anymore! Sugar artists have been using isomalt for ages now because it works so well in any environment. Melt it down and it stays nice and clear! Get those shiny gems you have always wanted on your cakes!
Isomalt is actually a sugar substitute. It is used in sugar free foods and is gluten-free. It can however, cause upset stomach if you eat too much, kinda like when you eat too many apples. You know what I’m saying here right?
How much should you eat? Well the recommended amount is no more than 1.7 oz at a time so if you are using isomalt as a decoration that your guests might get one or two gems to eat and you’re not just snacking on your edible bling, then you’re good to go.
I attach my jewels with a dab of corn syrup and a clean brush
This is the cake I made with the pink gems. They were for an emerald themed wedding cake display. The lovely flowers where done by the talented people at Swoon Floral Design here in Portland
Ok time to make Gems!
Here is my video on how to make isomalt gems using a piping bag.
One Cup Isomalt (click the link to buy or check with your local cake store)
oven mits to protect your hands
candy making mold (buy here or your local cake store)
latex gloves to handle finished gems so you don’t get fingerprints
Gel based food color if you plan on coloring your jewels
Large bowl of ice water
Vegetable oil spray for the molds
How to prepare the isomalt
Place a large bowl of ice water nearby just in case you burn yourself. Dunk your hand or wherever into the bowl to stop the burning immediately.
Add water to Isomalt in the non-stick pot and stir until it is evenly distributed and resembles wet sand (about 1/1 ratio) Note: I do not add water to my isomalt in the video because it isn’t absolutely necessary but as a beginner, it is easier to add the water.
Place pot of Isomalt on burner set to HIGH and let come to a boil
Place candy thermometer in pot to keep an eye on temp
The mixture will bubble for a while and get stuck at 225 while the water is boiling out. It cannot raise in temperature until all the water is gone. Once the water is gone, the temp will begin to rise and you will notice not as much active bubbling.
Once all the water is gone, now is a good time to put in your color if you are coloring. The mixture will go crazy with bubbles as the newly added liquid evaporates, once all the liquid is gone, it will calm down again. Use a long wooden skewer to stir color throughout if not consistent.
Target cooking temperature is 338 degrees F. Remove pot from heat when thermometer reads 333 degrees F. allowing five degrees to compensate for the continuing rise in temperature as a result of carry over heat within the mixture itself.
Place bottom of pot in the bowl of ice water just until the hissing sounds stops and return pot to burner set in the off position or rest pot on a folded side towel to cool
Isomalt pours best at about 300 degrees so set your oven to 275 and place your pot in the oven for 15 minutes. This allows the isomalt to get to the proper pouring stage while allowing bubbles to leave the solution.
While your isomalt is chilling out, fold your parchment triangles as shown in the video, prep your cup and molds. Some people spray their molds with a little oil to let the gems release easier.
Remember to always wear your oven mits or burn proof gloves while working with isomalt. It may look cool but its 300 degrees of burning molten lava in a pot so take all the necessary precautions.
Pour the cooled isomalt into your prepared parchment bag using the cup to hold the bag for you. Dont hold the bag with your hand, you could burn yourself! Add about a half cup to the bag and put the pot back in the oven for holding. Quickly snip off the tip of the parchment bag and start piping into the molds.
Let cool 5-10 minutes. They will start to pull away from the mold once they are totally cool and should just fall right out
Store isomalt in air tight containers at room temperature for up to two years.
A little video on the colored isomalt gems
Another cake I made with the ombre purple gems. They were attached over an edible silver leaf wedding cake. I attached them with a little corn syrup.