If you’re going all-out princess for the day, don’t forget the royal cake! It’s easy to decorate your wedding dessert with sparkling gems and diamonds befitting the most elegant royal couple. You can match the gemstones in your necklace, earrings, or tiara. And here’s the best part of all: it’s all perfectly edible!
Using Old-Fashioned Rock Candy as Sugar Diamonds
Do you remember making rock candy as a science fair project when you were a kid? If you saturate water with as much sugar as the liquid can hold, then dangle a string into it, the sugar will naturally crystallize around the string and create beautiful candy “diamonds.” The simple recipe can be followed by anyone, even those who proclaim themselves hopeless at DIY projects. All you need is a good supply of sugar, a pot to boil it in, a glass jar, a string, and a stick (a pencil will do in a pinch). In just a week or so, you’ll find yourself the proud owner of a string of edible diamonds. It really couldn’t be easier.
Sugar diamonds are even pretty healthy, as desserts go. Unlike many conventional candies, sugar gems don’t have additives, preservatives, or artificial ingredients. They’re just pure, unadulterated sugar. Part of the joy of DIY cake decorating is knowing exactly what ingredients are adorning your cake, and being able to say that you approve of each and every one.
To make one string of diamonds, follow these easy steps: First, boil two cups of water. Second, stir in four cups of white sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Third, pour the sugar water into a glass jar (you may want to let it cool first so you don’t crack the glass). You can add a few drops of food coloring if you want, but use only one color per jar. Fourth, tie a string (natural fibers work best) around a pencil and rest the pencil on the lid of the jar. The string should dangle into the water. That’s really all there is to it; leave it undisturbed and by the end of the week, you should have beautiful, edible diamonds clustered around the string.
You can adorn your wedding cake with whole strings of diamonds, or you can crumble them off of the string to use them independently. Be sure to put your cake under good lighting to set off all of your faceted, sparkling gems!
Using Isomalt to Make Sugar Gems
If you’ve never heard of isomalt, don’t worry–you’ve probably already tasted it. It’s one of the most popular sugar substitutes for decorative baking because it’s much more resistant to melting than actual sugar. It also retains its shiny appearance more easily than sugar, giving it a harder, gem-like surface. Isomalt is made from beets, so it tastes sweet just like sugar, but only has half the calories. Before you get too excited about replacing all sugar from now on, though, consider this: since your body recognizes it as fiber, isomalt can cause an urgent run to the bathroom. Play it safe and only use isomalt gems as adornments to the dessert–not as the main dish itself.
You can find isomalt pearls and gem-shaped molds at many craft stores and baking supply stores, but if none are available locally, you can also find them online. Once you melt the pearls, you can use them to fill any mold you like–try a few molds and see which produces gems of the sizes and shapes you like best. You may also want to produce several shapes and colors of gems–that way, your cake will look like a royal stockpile of scattered jewels from around the world. You can make isomalt any color by adding a few drops of food coloring once you’ve melted it.
Melting the isomalt can be done on a stovetop or in a microwave. If you’re using a stove, add a little bit of water to the bottom of your pot and stir the isomalt until it looks like wet sand. Boil it until the mixture reaches 333 degrees Fahrenheit and pour it into your molds. If you’re using a microwave, don’t add water. Just heat your isomalt in a glass container in 15-second increments, stirring between each heating, until it melts enough to pour into your molds. It helps to lightly coat the molds with spray oil to keep them from sticking.
Do you want three-dimensional gems, or gems that are flat on one side? This will be determined by the molds you use. If you want your gems to look three-dimensional, find molds that can be stacked on top of each other (they will have tabs that interlock). Let the molds sit and harden for about a minute before placing one upside-down on top of the other, flat edges pressed firmly together.
After about 10 minutes, you can pop the gemstones out of the molds by lightly flexing them and pushing on the bottoms of the trays. If you want them to be extra-shiny, spray a bit of cooking oil or edible lacquer on the finished product.
Decorate Your Royal Feast
Your newly-completed gems can be used anywhere you’d like a little extra sparkle. You can scatter them around dessert platters, or even set them directly on tables as a beautiful garnish. You can also use them to decorate your cake. Try rimming each tier with jewels of different colors for a beautiful, edible masterpiece.
You may want to create a fondant purse or treasure chest with gemstones tumbling out. You may even want to create a fondant replica of your engagement ring or wedding tiara and set a sugar jewel right in the middle. However you use your gems, rest assured that your decorations will be fit for a queen and king–or a princess for the day, as the case may be.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.