Decorating with Gems

Sugar jewels are a hot trend in decorating right now, as consumers are looking for more "bling" for their buck.

Kathy Scott, certified master sugar artist and owner of Sweet Expressions in Abbeville, SC, is at the forefront of the jewel trend. At the Connecticut Cake Competition in February, Scott offered some valuable tips on creating gems from isomalt.

  • Don't be afraid of sugar! In order to get the best result, you must cook it to the point of bubbles.
  • But if it comes out yellow mean you've cooked it too long. "When you first start out, you'll learn to love amber," Scott says.
  • Use silicone dishes and molds—the isomalt sticks to glass and too much will go to waste.
  • Yellow gems on a blue cake will come out green. To avoid this, brush the bottom with "reflect" dust. It will block out the color of the cake.
  • For an onyx or dark color, add white gel food coloring.
  • When your sugar starts to "string," it's time to reheat.
  • For tiny gems, use a "sili spoon" to drop into a tiny mold.
  • Some like to put glitter into the isomalt as it sets. Don't do this—it will clump and can burn the mold. Besides, it doesn't look natural. "Nobody ever gave me jewelry with glitter in it," Scott says.

You can purchase silicone tools such as molds and the "sili spoon," or a "Bling" Starter Kit, at Sweet Expressions. Just visit www.sweetexpress.net for more information.