Making Flames/campfire From Pulled Sugar Or Isomalt?

Sugar Work By frankdiabetes Updated 11 Jan 2011 , 12:51pm by Reimagining_Confections

frankdiabetes Posted 1 Jan 2011 , 3:30pm
post #1 of 11

Hello all

I am trying to make campfire flames from sugar. I'm trying to decide what would be the best way...to use isomalt crystals, color them in the three colors I want to use (red, yellow, orange) and pour them freehand onto a silpat in curvy shapes. The curves I will then stand upright in the cake to give the appearance of dancing flames.

Another option I'm considering is pulling sugar in the three colors and twisting the colors together in an icicle-like shape. I would then also poke these into the cake for the effect of fire.

Which would work better/be easier? I've never worked with pulled sugar or isomalt before and I'm a little worried. How far in advance can I make these if I don't have a desiccator? If I cook the isomalt crystals and color it, can I re-melt this when I'm ready to work with it (when I've made the other 2 colors?) Or do I have to pour right when it's done? I'm sorry if these are stupid questions, nothing I've looked up seems very clear- I know the isomalt sticks can be re-melted but I don't have them. Thanks!

10 replies
idgalpal Posted 1 Jan 2011 , 3:48pm
post #2 of 11

I did campfire flames out of fondant mixed with tylose on a three tier retirement cake . I used three colors as you described. I think isomalt/pulled sugar would be harder to work with. Please post pictures when you finish!

DianeLM Posted 1 Jan 2011 , 4:00pm
post #3 of 11

I made the flames for this glass of Sambuca from clear isomalt that I pulled, let dry, then dusted with luster dust.

http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1862693⊂=1862694

-K8memphis Posted 1 Jan 2011 , 4:12pm
post #4 of 11

Several different colors give me pause because you really need to bubble (boil) each one to reduce the water content of the coloring. And when you're just using a little bit--makes it more challenging not to waste too much. But all that to say--you can air brush it too. So you could do one or two colors and then air brush the red highlight for the tips of the flames.

You could even pour the yellow then stripe orange food color into the hot poured piece with a toothpick and pull it to shape it then air brush the red on there.

If you have a heat lamp you can hold the different colors in the heat of the lamp and work with them all at once.

Make yellow. Take a bit of that and make orange. What I'd do is pour the yellow flame shape and then pour a tid of orange within the borders of the yellow--let it cool then airbrush the red tips--that would be easiest for me if no heat lamp was available to hold your colors.

frankdiabetes Posted 1 Jan 2011 , 5:03pm
post #5 of 11

Diane, those flames are exactly the look I was hoping to achieve.

K8, that is a lot of valuable information, thank you. So you would recommend pouring the isomalt for a clear, transparent look versus pulling? I figured I wouldn't have enough time to pull all 3 colors by myself, I was thinking of recruiting my husband to help me, but it might be too much even for 2 people. I really like the idea of striping color directly into the hot poured isomalt and it would definitely be easier to do just 1 color.

idgal, I considered using fondant/gumpaste but I thought the look of the sugar would be more striking. If this doesn't pan out, though, I will definitely be using that.

Thanks everyone!

saberger Posted 4 Jan 2011 , 8:02pm
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by DianeLM

I made the flames for this glass of Sambuca from clear that I pulled, let dry, then dusted with luster dust.

http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1862693⊂=1862694




I am interested in trying this for an upcoming cake. I love it! I have never worked with isomalt - any tips? I tried pulling colored sugar once and it remained SO sticky that I didn't use it. How long do you think I could make one? How far in advance can I make it and how do I store/transport/attach it?

Sorry for all of the questions.

DianeLM Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 8:17pm
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by saberger

Quote:
Originally Posted by DianeLM

I made the flames for this glass of Sambuca from clear that I pulled, let dry, then dusted with luster dust.

http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1862693⊂=1862694



I am interested in trying this for an upcoming cake. I love it! I have never worked with - any tips? I tried pulling colored sugar once and it remained SO sticky that I didn't use it. How long do you think I could make one? How far in advance can I make it and how do I store/transport/attach it?

Sorry for all of the questions.




You'll find tons of useful info here http://www.makeyourownmolds.com/. There are several possible reasons why your sugar was sticky - 1) it wasn't heated to a high enough temperature, 2) the climate was humid, 3) it wasn't stored properly.

If you have further questions after looking at the link, let me know.

frankdiabetes Posted 10 Jan 2011 , 2:24am
post #8 of 11

Thanks everyone for the help! Especially Diane's tip about wearing cotton gloves under the latex gloves- saved me a lot of blisters because that sugar is H.O.T.!

My use for the pulled sugar was very simple (and very amateur) but now that I've tried it, I think it will be such a cool medium to do more with...I'm already imagining pulled sugar flowers and blown sugar bulbs and fruits. Definitely need to get a heat lamp, I was disappointed at how much I wasn't able to use because it cooled and became less pliable.

DianeLM Posted 10 Jan 2011 , 3:58pm
post #9 of 11

I'm glad you were successful with the isomalt. Can't wait to see the cake!

Until you get a heat lamp (which can be VERY expensive!), you can pop your cooled isomalt into the microwave for a few seconds to make it pliable again. It may be a bit tricky with color added because ideally, you should knead it after you nuke it, but it's definitely worth a shot since you're going to discard it if it's too cool anyway.

And be sure to save all your unused isomalt, whether it's been heated or not. Stored properly, with dessicant, it will last for months.

lauriekailee Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 12:03pm
post #10 of 11

I have never done pulled sugar or blown sugar, but it intrigues me! Can anyone suggest the best book to read up on it first, or a great website to offer to beginners on this? I'm a little scared to try it! I have seen some of the sugar burns, and I am worried about under estimating how hard it is! Help?

Reimagining_Confections Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 12:51pm
post #11 of 11

Love Isomalt. I just finished a topper for a wedding cake display out of isomalt. I don't have a heat lamp either(yet). I just kept nuking the isomalt in the microwave to re-melt. Also, I had it in a glass pyrex jar. If you make a large enough amount, it shells a bit on top but stays a little hot and pliable underneath. I pinched off the top and pulled some warmer isomalt under neath to work with. You can't pour it at this stage but it is great for shaping and pulling. I pulled many flames by accident. You can also use kitchen siccors to cut while its still warm.

I also used a kitchen blow torch to glue pieces together. A torch over a sugar piece also removes the bubbles. You definitely need to use the silaca gel packets. The isomalt will cloud if not stored properly out of humidity and the packets help.

I will post pics if I can ever get them from my brother in law and the wedding photographer. My hubby forgot our camera(can you believe it!!!). I will take a pic of an extra topper I made later and post. Not the one I used but lots of techniques just in the topper.

Have fun!!! I did and not too many burns either
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