I'm wondering if I can melt sugar on top of cupcakes like you do for creme brulee. Has anyone ever done it? I've been asked to melt either red or black decorating sugar to accommodate a party theme. I told the birthday boy that I would take the question to the experts and see what I can find out!
I thought about possibly freezing the cupcakes before applying the heat??? I found one recipe for creme brulee cupcakes that caramalizes brown sugar on top of Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
I'd try to make caramelized decorations separate from the cupcakes and then let them cool and add them later. Does that make sense???
That does make sense, MBoyd, but he wants it to be like the top of a creme brulee. I don't think decorating sugar will melt right, but I told him I would try. In the meantime, he is thinking of other ideas.
This is probably a moot point as it the 20th, but have you considered making a topping that resembles creme brulee? You can take pastry cream and fold heavy whipping cream into it (for better flavor and texture) you can even add gelatin to make it more stable and pipe it like you would frosting. This would hold up fine under a torch. There also the idea of using bubble sugar (isomalt melted between two silpats) which you can make any color you want. I am a pastry chef at Spago in Las Vegas, and we have used bubble sugar on our creme brulees.
Zem42, did I see correctly that I got your first post? That's cool and welcome to Cake Central. Based on this one, you are going to be very popular here!
You are right that it is too late for this party, but what fantastic suggestions. Thank you so much and I may be asking you some questions when I get ready to try these in the future. Actually, here is one. Where would I get pastry cream? He would have loved that, but we went with pretty basic cupcakes and sugar sprinkles - not melted. Red velvet cupcakes, tart cherry/cranberry filling, red buttercream and sugar sprinkles -- dark chocolate cupcakes, dark chocolate ganache filling, black buttercream and sugar sprinkles. I'm sure there will be enough alcohol consumed for them to be a great hit when he brings them out!
Maybe you can send me some directions for bubble sugar ... and actually for using the pastry cream/gelatin too. Pretty please? Did you come to Cake Camp at the Riviera? I don't get to Vegas very often, but I may have to visit Spago the next time I am there!
Lol mbt! You certainly did get my first post I love baking and pastries of all kinds, but I pretty much spend all my free time day dreaming about cakes, and looking at 'cake porn' as I call it, and hope to start my own cake business one day!
I'll answer your questions here in case anyone else is curious:
You can probably buy pastry cream somewhere, it is used for so many things! But it is so cheap and easy to make (with some practice) and I'm sure tastes waaay better than any kind of bag filling. A simple recipe is:
2cups milk (you can use half cream for added richness)
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
5 Tbls cornstarch
Place the milk and first sugar in a sauce pan and place over low heat. Not to get confusing but if you were going to use a whole vanilla bean for flavouring you would add it to the milk as well, scraping the pod and placing the whole bean in too. You would warm the milk and then take it off the heat and let it sit for a half hour to infuse the vanilla flavor into the milk (you can also infuse coffee beans, cinnamon sticks, orange peels or use your imagination). Now back to the recipe!
Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together egg/yolks, cornstarch and second until really thick and light yellow (you can also do this with a mixer to save you from not having the use of your arm later). You will know when it's ready because it will form a ribbon, the ribbon should stay for 8-10 seconds.
Bring your milk to scalding, this is not a boil but it will be very hot and you will start to see steam coming off the milk. Next you want to temper the hot milk into the eggs (if you infused your milk strain out the solids before doing this). So slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture while whisking until it is all incorporated, then pour the mixture back into the sauce pan. Return to low/medium heat and whisk constantly (making sure to get the corners!) until it is thick and bubbly. Once it is at this stage continue whisking for 1 minute to cook of the corn starch flavour. Remove from heat and whisk in butter until completely melted and if you chose to do an extract/liquid flavouring, add it at this step too.
Line sheet tray, cake pan or large bowl with plastic wrap and pour the pastry cream into it (it will cool quicker the more surface area there is) then refrigerate. It will start setting up fairly quickly, the thickness varies from recipe to recipe and is also affected by cooking/time and temp, it may take a couple tries to get it right, so don't get frustrated. It is such a versatile thing to have, it is what fills eclairs and cream puffs, it's the filling for Boston Cream pie, and like I said you can fold whipped cream into it to make diplomat cream, which is used to fill St Honore Cakes. And in case you did know, St Honore is the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs, so you should become good friends with him .
As for the gelatin, I'm just familiar with sheet gelatin, I do not know how easy this is to obtain, but you can used powdered gelatin as well. I just kind of eyeball how much I need depending on how much I'm making and how stiff I want it. Sorry that isn't too helpful lol. For the recipe above I would use probably two sheets of gelatin (about 5 grams powdered gelatin). After I bloom the gelatin I squeeze out the excess water then melt it in it's container over some hot water, or in the microwave. I then whisk this into the already made diplomat cream. This is a great filling for cakes, especially if you put some fresh raspberries or strawberries in there, so pretty to cut into!
Whew, that was much longer than I thought it would be! I don't know what the proper etiquette for posting recipes is, I hope I don't get a slap on the wrist for not being in the recipe forum. I'll just post another reply for isomalt so it easier.
Thanks for the kind words and your cupcakes sounded absolutely delicious!
Ok, so isomalt is what professionals use to make those fancy sugar sculptures, it holds up better than regular sugar and it can be remelted, amazing!
Again I'm not sure where you can buy it from as I am lucky enough just to head over to dry storage to get these fancy things! I'm sure you can order it online though, but I think it may be on the expensive side.
To make bubble sugar (which is the flat holey sugar you see on sugar sculptures) you take a silpat and pour a VERY thin layer of isomalt on it, you don't want it to be covering all of the open space because it melts and spreads out a lot. If you use too much it will look like stained glass (also cool, but not quite the effect we're going for). Place another silpat on top of the isomalt and place into a 350Â° oven until all of the sugar has melted (usually about ten minutes) you can lift up the edges of BOTH silpats and look in between to tell, or if you have a darker color you can see it through the silpat.
To dye the isomalt you can use powdered candy coloring, or liquid candy coloring (I have used cake colors such as chef mate too, but I know there are certain colors that shouldn't be used) Place the isomalt in a bowl and use only a few drops of liquid coloring or a tiny amount of powdered coloring, it goes a very long way. Stir until all of the isomalt is coated, it should be very pale in color, but it will be much darker after it is melted. When using liquid coloring it tends to ball up, so find the color balls and break them apart, this is easiest to do with a pair of (gloved) hands.
Let the isomalt cool completely before removing the silpat and break off desired pieces.
*TIP* if the isomalt has melted all the way to the edges, when it cools it will harden to the sheet pan (not fun). You can flip out the silpats when it comes out of the oven and let it cool, or if you're not feeling brave just don't put the isomalt near the edges.
I hope this answered some of your questions, although I don't think it answered all of them. Feel free to message me with anything I didn't answer or if you have any troubles trying out this cool stuff!