Sugar "glass" For Camera Cake! ... Help!!!

Sugar Work By solcito_the_cake_maker Updated 17 Jun 2014 , 2:17pm by ALCUL8R

solcito_the_cake_maker Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 1:45pm
post #1 of 28

Hi! I just discovered CC and let me tell you: I should have read that warning about this website being highly addictive! I have spent 2 days glued to my computer, researching all kind of topics for my upcoming creation: a camera cake.

I'm making this cake for a photographer, and the cake top will have a replica of his digital camera with some giant zoom lens attached to it. I'm using fondant to cover the carved cake.

I want to make the lens as realistic as possible; and I was thinking that maybe there is a way to create "sugar glass" for the actual lens. I have seen decorations of caramelized sugar that look like broken glass, but I need to have control of the shape as I need a perfect circle! And then, when the caramelized sugar solidifies, how do I prevent it from cracking? Seems to me that it is such a fragile item!

I don't want to use piping gel or anything that looks "liquidy-like". I would like to have something solid but clear, and that's why I thought about caramelized sugar...

Any ideas, suggestions or tips on how to achieve this "glass" effect our of sugar???


27 replies
leah_s Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 1:56pm
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Poured sugar is what you want. You can coat the inside of a round cutter and place that on a Silpat also very, very lighted coated with oil and pour! The ring will be removable when the sugar has cooled. Also Isoalt works better than sugar. And you don't want carmelized sugar, as that will be opaque. Stop well before you reach the carmelization stage.

MORSELSBYMARK Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 1:58pm
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Welcome! Isomalt could do the trick, so would clear poured sugar. Heat sugar, water and corn syrup to hard crack stage and then I would use an appropriately sized round metal cutter as the mold. Just make sure you grease it with kitchen spray.

solcito_the_cake_maker Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 2:09pm
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WOW! You guys are quick! thumbs_up.gif

I'm not familiar with Isomalt (but Google is my friend). Is it available at regular stores in the US such as WalMart and Michael's? I don't think I have enough time to order it online.

In which case, I probably will go with Option B: POURED Sugar icon_redface.gif (thanks for clarifying the term Leah)...

Do you have exact measures for that recipe?

Parable Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 9:38pm
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OK I am going to go out on a limb but why not use gelatin? Check out this thread and you will see where someone actually made a cellophane bag our of gelatin that looked great.


-K8memphis Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 11:07pm
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Using sugar I like the recipe on Lorann Oils .com which uses corn syrup. And I also like the Jacques Torres one on Food Network .com which uses vinegar.

I think something with this simple of a design, the cooked sugars would be ok.

If you add color add it while it's still boiling because otherwise it will be sticky.

To get it to release easy put a piece of parchment under your silpat. Otherwise the silpat adheres to the surface of the table and the piece cracks easy.

You'll maybe want to have a blow torch handy
(my favorite part!! bwsshhhoooowh)
so you can pour the sugar into the mold and torch it to remove air bubbles.
bwsshhhoooowh bwsshhhoooowh bwsshhhoooowh

Also you get the least air bubbles when pouring your stuff out onto vinyl.

Sugar thoughts for you.

Justbeck101 Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 11:35pm
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you dont have to use a silpat if you don't have one. You can use really anything round that wont melt. I used a square Tupperware container lightly oiled with cooking spray, it worked and it didn't melt! lol

solcito_the_cake_maker Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 3:50am
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Thanks everybody!

@ Parable: Those gelatin decorations are amazing! But I'm concern about the texture I'll get and if it will be kinda soft. I really need to have something as solid as glass, in which case, I'll stick to the sugar (had no luck finding Isomalt @ the local store)

@ K8: Loved your "sound effects" when using the blow torch!!! icon_lol.gif As exciting as it sounds, I'll pass on that one only because I don't have access to that toy (Christmas is coming, right???)

Thanks for the tip on adding the color. Maybe I'll use a hint of blue on it, even though I don't think it will make a difference as it will have black on the background. Oh well! Maybe the lens will fall off as soon as they cut the cake and everybody will admire the magnificence of my experiment... LOL

@ JustBeck: You are brave! That sugar thing gets freaking HOT! I don't dare pouring it into some tupperware container. Plus the shape of the original lens actually has a little bit of a curve and tomorrow I'll experiment with a mini plate that I have for serving dipping olive oil with herbs!


Thanks for all the great advice and links!!! thumbs_up.gif
As I make progress on this project, I'll post a couple of pics.

I'm short on time this week and I'm concerned because I want to make the camera and lens ahead, BUT I can't get started too early as the cake will be super old by Sunday. Since it's covered with fondant, I can't stick it in the fridge either, so, I'm outta luck there.

And, to make things more exciting, I must travel with my sugary camera and lens as carry on and finish the cake in Buffalo, NY (I live in Atlanta, GA) ... So, this is going to be interesting, but I'm excited about the challenge.

Again, thanks for all your help and advice!

Justbeck101 Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 11:26am
post #9 of 28
Originally Posted by solcito_the_cake_maker

Thanks everybody!

@ JustBeck: You are brave! That sugar thing gets freaking HOT! I don't dare pouring it into some tupperware container. Plus the shape of the original lens actually has a little bit of a curve and tomorrow I'll experiment with a mini plate that I have for serving dipping olive oil with herbs!


Again, thanks for all your help and advice!

Ya, I set it in the sink just in case!!!! lol

The reason I poured it in the tupperware was because I made too much and didn't want it to harden in my pan cause it is a pain to get out. So I poured it in the tupperware thinking i could just throw it away if it ruined it.

solcito_the_cake_maker Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 8:28pm
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Gotcha, JustBeck! Now everything makes sense!

Anyways, I'm glad to report that my sweet experiment was a complete success... icon_biggrin.gif

OK, maybe 1/3 of it went wrong but I fixed it on my second batch.

On my 1st try, temperature went up to 350. I was so focused on my thermometer that didn't even notice that the liquid was starting to caramelize!!! Nothing saved me from losing that one, but I poured it anyways on my "super mold", just to give it a try.

Then I had lots of fun cleaning the pot. (Thank goodness sugar is water soluble!@!@! It just takes a lot of time and boiling water to clean the sticky mess!)

So, on Take Two, I took things easier. Let it boil at lower setting (I did not use the microwave method, just a plain old aluminum pan) and kept an eye on the temperature. It went up to 275 and I was too chicken to see what would happen if I went higher... I poured half the mixture on a second mold and went back to the stove with the leftover sugar... This time I added a little bit of blue food coloring, warmed it up some more and then poured my 3rd mold... Let them sit for about an hour, et voilá!

Now I have 3 beautiful "sugar lenses" ready to go! Of course, one of them tastes like burned caramel (I'll discard it) but I also have a crystal clear one and a pretty blue one too to play with! icon_smile.gif

I couldn't have done this without you guys, so... THANKS AGAIN

I'll post a pic of my infamous cake next week. icon_smile.gif

-K8memphis Posted 14 Sep 2009 , 10:03pm
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Yay! Be careful that they might cloud some, so since you're so good at it now, you might get to do it again.

Justbeck101 Posted 15 Sep 2009 , 1:33am
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Alright! I am so happy for you!

solcito_the_cake_maker Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 3:07am
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Well, I may have to go for round 3 on this.
The lenses have been sitting on my counter for 2 days now, and the surface is now sticky!

I don't mind doing another lens, but now I wonder: is there a way to prevent sticky fingers on the candy?
Could I just stick them under some running water just to "polish" them? (The other option is to lick them! lick them! lick them! LOL... My dog has raised her paw as a volunteer and I loved chewing the left over drops of melted sugar on my counter... icon_lol.gif

-K8memphis Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 11:54am
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Yeah it breaks down--it's not like modeling with sugar pastes huh.

Lick maybe--your puppy is such a friend indeed to volunteer like/lick that. Blow torch or microwave will maybe stiffen it or possibly distort it but sugar's a last minute detail, can't really be made in advance too much.

I mean how does it look? If it's only sticky that's not so bad--just grab it on the sides with plastic gloves.

But practice on this one that's going south--blow torches are only like fifteen dollars-ish which totally is a lot of money but I mean it's not like an air brush amount of money either.

What about fondanting it? to make the frame that surrounds the lens? wonder if that would help? and some lense frames have all the little markings & stuff. I mean that would give you a 'handle'.

-K8memphis Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 11:59am
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Well wait though--if you can keep it sealed from humidity--like if you have y'know the little packs of stuff like so many little salt packets that they pack in purses n stuff~~but it's to keep things from getting too moist--umm can't think of the name of it~~that's another idea. Silicone?

solcito_the_cake_maker Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 4:21am
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Gosh! Thanks girlie! I think it's just this darn humidity that we have in GA these days! And of course, the lens have been sitting on my counter for days now so, that doesn't help either. This morning the edges were starting to disappear!!! It's like secret gnomes come at night and take little bites all around my sugar creation!!! LOL

But I'm not pulling my hair just yet. This is my first attempt on poured sugar and I guess it could be worse. I just didn't realize that the shelf life of a sugary product would be so short! (candy usually doesn't last for so long in my household!) So, thanks for the additional info K8! ... icon_wink.gif

PS. And those torchy-things... I'm telling ya! I was at Bed Bath & Beyond a couple of days ago and saw one for like $19.00. I always get coupons in the mail for that store, so yeah! Final price would be like $15.00 and that is not expensive at all! And! If I become a failure in blown sugar, I can always use it to melt the cheese on my loaded potatoes... icon_razz.gif

I didn't get it right away because I was after an electric carving knife that night. Gonna trim the heck out of my camera cake this weekend!!!! Buffalo, NY - Chainsaw Cake Massacre, here we gooooo! ... icon_twisted.gif

-K8memphis Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 3:55pm
post #17 of 28

I got mine at the hardware store.

Hope all goes wonderfully well!!!
Don't let anything bog you down.
It's extra difficult when traveling like that.
Build a lot of slack and forgiveness into your plan.

Take Care--Best of the best to you!!

solcito_the_cake_maker Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 3:41am
post #18 of 28

Hi all, just wanted to post a picture of the infamous Camera Cake. As it turns out, I wasn't able to get the sugar lens as planned! ... icon_cry.gif

As I reported earlier, the ones that i made ahead melted. And the one that I tried to make on site, didn't work. I think I didn't bring the temperature high enough to my sugar mix, leave alone the fact that I got all my measurements wrong!

So, I was able to melt and pour the sugar in my greased glass mold (same that I used for my original lenses) but hours later, when the time came to remove the lens, it was stuck... i mean STUCK! to the glass, and there was no human power that could rescue it, nor enough materials leftover to give it a second try.

Bottom line, all this drama and I wasn't even able to get the lens for my camera... But as K8 in Memphis said: lot of slack and forgiveness always helps!

Thanks for all the advice. I will keep practicing until I get this right! icon_wink.gif

-K8memphis Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 3:49am
post #19 of 28

Killer camera, great cake design and love the collage too.
You rocked it!

solcito_the_cake_maker Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 11:13pm
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Thanks K8!!! icon_biggrin.gif

I may have to repeat the cake soon as another friend owns that same camera, and now that he saw my edible version, chances are that I will play with sugar lenses again! (But at least I won't have to do it away from home!)

Big Hugs... icon_smile.gif

doitallmom Posted 4 Jan 2013 , 2:36pm
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ANice camera!

arlenej Posted 7 Jan 2013 , 12:46am
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Originally Posted by -K8memphis 

Well wait though--if you can keep it sealed from humidity--like if you have y'know the little packs of stuff like so many little salt packets that they pack in purses n stuff~~but it's to keep things from getting too moist--umm can't think of the name of it~~that's another idea. Silicone?

Silica gel

AZCouture Posted 7 Jan 2013 , 2:04am
post #23 of 28

I had to make a round curved piece of "glass" for a pocketwatch once, so I poured isomalt into one of the cavities of a mini half pan. I lightly greased it first, and it worked beautifully. Probably not big enough for this purpose, but if you have a metal bowl with a round bottom, that might work for you.

AZCouture Posted 7 Jan 2013 , 2:05am
post #24 of 28

Sorry, mini half ball pan, thought I'd clarify that.

AZCouture Posted 7 Jan 2013 , 2:06am
post #25 of 28

Oh shoot, you already made it. Well, NEXT time! 

cazza1 Posted 7 Jan 2013 , 3:18am
post #26 of 28

Ha Ha, only 3 years ago.  Sorry shouldn't stir!

AZCouture Posted 7 Jan 2013 , 4:38pm
post #27 of 28 kidding! Just saw the date. That's hilarious....geez!!

ALCUL8R Posted 17 Jun 2014 , 2:17pm
post #28 of 28

For the one I made I just melted some green Jolly Ranchers. Too much heat and they turn brown.

Pour in circular (for lens) or rectangular (for viewfinder or back panel) mold or cookie cutter on silpat or wax paper.

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