I am working on a castle cake and the buyer wants a moat around the castle. I've seen Duff use poured sugar on the Taj Mahal Cake.. and wonder if it is easy to do or replicate or to use piping gel to get that "realistic" water effect.
All of the water & tea on the cakes on my site is poured sugar. Pretty darn easy, I think. I make the hard candy recipe in my cookbook - 1c sugar, 1/2c corn syrup, 1/4c water. Bring it to 290. If you're pouring it onto fondant, don't pour it right away, it will make the fondant bubble. I wait until it's a bit more syrupy, and then it works nicely.
I use blue and white buttercream with piping gel on top for shine.
On the cover of this month's Woman's Day (I think! maybe Family Circle?) magazine they did a cake with a lake and teddy bears all around. To make the water they used blue jello poured into the cut out of the lake shape. I can't recall how much water they used, but I know it wasn't the full amount. Sorry I can't be more precise, but I thought this would be a start!
I made acastle cake with a moat...I used colored piping gel. I would love to try the poured candy sometime though when I have time!
I've used Jell-o before, too, for that Woman's Day cake mentioned above. It was before I started doing cakes, so I might have an easier time with it now, but I had a hard time getting it to look nice. I also didn't like the berry flavor of the Jell-o.
I used piping gel on the top of a cake I just did last weekend. It was just on the flat top of the cake, so I didn't want to use sugar. That works better for me if the area for sugar has definite borders. It was OK, I think it looked nice.
My favorite is still sugar. It doesn't actually take terribly long. Maybe 20-25 minutes for the sugar to get to the right temp, but you don't have to be right on top of it the whole time. I usually set it to boil, and do other stuff in the area during that time.