Sugar Bubbles ? Anyone Ever Done It ?

Sugar Work By eve Updated 22 Sep 2006 , 12:32pm by boring

eve Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 5:46pm
post #1 of 60

icon_smile.gif Has anyone of you ever done the Sugar Bubble ??
they look little balls made of blown sugar ? I would love to learn that..I know you melt sugar up to a certain temp then blow them up using a small air pump...very interesting

59 replies
ThePastryDiva Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 5:52pm
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This was the first cake that I had to turn down, someone brought me the pictures out of a Martha Magazine, way long ago and asked me if I could do the cake.

I 'fessed up and said I didn't know how to do the balls and the closest that I could come up with was to use clear Christmas balls, but that I would NOT recommend using glass anywhere near the cake.

So, we talked and I did give her a tasting cake. She decided that she wanted me to do the cake anyway and was happy to do without the "SUGAR BUBBLES".

Now, so many years school...we are going to be learning how to make pulled sugar. I can't wait!

SugarCreations Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 11:05pm
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Its not hard.

ThePastryDiva Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 11:13pm
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Cake Rookie, if you know how, please feel free to post the instructions!

It would be a great help not only to Eve but to others!

SugarCreations Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 11:23pm
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This for a cake you have to have now?

BlakesCakes Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 11:47pm
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Making sugar balls/bubbles isn't rocket science, but it's tricky. I've taken Intro & Advanced sugar at the Wilton School in Chicago.

To make the balls. you need a hand pump--basically a blood pressure bulb & tubing, a wooden blowing tube (preferred by the instructor to copper or stainless), an open flame, and sugar cooked to the appropriate consistency.

The cane sugar is mixed with cream of tartar & water, cooked on the stove (in a stainless steel or copper pot) to about 310 degrees, poured on a silicone mat to cool, and then colored (if you want). You heat the wooden tube (which is applied to the end of the rubber tube attached to the air bulb), pinch off a walnut sized lump of warm, pliable sugar, make a deep hole in the center of it, apply it to the warmed wooden tube, and pump air into it slowly. When the ball is the size you want, you cool it completely using a cold air dryer. You then hold the neck of the ball over an open flame (alcohol burner) and cut it off carefully. You keep the sugar warm & pliable in a warming box using a heat lamp.

You can see my final project in advanced sugar in my photos. I love doing the sugar work but I won't be investing in the equipment for quite some time. Right now, I'm just nursing 3 large friction blisters on my right hand--even though the sugar is melted, the crystals in it do a job on skin!

Hope this helps.

SugarCreations Posted 20 Sep 2005 , 11:51pm
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You can use a silpat, roulpat, marble slab or large cookie sheet pan. If you use the marble or sheet pan make sure they are greased well. I am kind of hesitant about getting involved in this thread to be honest. I can help you with recipes and the other informational stuff.


ThePastryDiva Posted 21 Sep 2005 , 12:23am
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Sorry to hear about your blisters.

*Diva applying burn ointment to Rae's blisters!

Hit your local home improvement shop when they have a sale, you can find a lot of the equipment there...cheaper than at a Pastry Specialty shop.

We will be working with our chocolate shopieces over the next 3 days and after that we will be doing the sugar showpieces. I can hardly wait, as a matter of fact there is a sugar school here in Florida that I'm going to treat myself to as a Christmas/birthday present! woo hoo...the only thing is they have changed the curriculum and they don't teach the geisha doll or clown anymore.

*Diva sobbing

For our chocolate showpiece my luck will have it my group picked the hardest one, luck of the

If I wanted to work this hard I had wanted to pick the DALI grandfather clock not the CUBIST one. It looks like a big pole of yellow post it note all over

If you're interested in looking at our Chocolate showpieces you can find them in the book...

"CHOCOLAT L'ENVER DU DE'COR" chocolate behind the scenes.

I don't know if I can post the finished product since 3 other people will have had a hand in it. but, I will for sure have it posted

SugarCreations Posted 21 Sep 2005 , 12:39am
post #9 of 60


adven68 Posted 20 Oct 2005 , 3:09am
post #10 of 60 are very informative....thanks!

bonniesido Posted 20 Oct 2005 , 4:17am
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BlakesCakes...I have just been looking at your photos and wanted to say I hope you have been able to get everything you need to do more sugar work! Your Snowman Christmas Cake is so special. It is just beautiful! Good luck and thanks for the information.

BlakesCakes Posted 20 Oct 2005 , 5:34am
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Thanks, all !

I thought I could wait a while to get my equipment together, but I said to myself, "Self, why waste perfectly good calluses (they took over when the blisters healed)? The next big pile of dishes you wash could slough them off and then it's back to square 1" I'm almost up and running. My wooden tubes & pump are on their way and my DH & DS are helping me construct my warming box. I found a place locally to bend a piece of Lexan into a 3 sided box. We go to buy wood to make the lid tomorrow. I can't wait!

I'm making a cake for a new minister's ordination reception on 11/13 and I'm hoping to be able to make the red stole out of pulled sugar. I plan to drape it on a 3 tier stacked white fondant covered cake. I may also do a descending dove in sugar as a sort of topper.

I'm delighted to see the new forum site just for sugar work and I'll do my best to contribute.

See you all around!


ThePastryDiva Posted 20 Oct 2005 , 8:01am
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That sounds totally awesome! I can visualize your design concept!

Make sure to post pictures!! and hope that it's not too humid on that day for you.

I still have my Sugar apples hanging around, I want to see how long before they "die" in Floridain humidity.

So far, they are still nice and "appley" looking but no longer "clear".

I"m in the process of building my own box too, but I"m going to attach the 3 panes of plexiglass with a piano hinge so I can store it flat when not in use!

I just wish that Isomalt wasn't so expensive!!!!

adven68 Posted 20 Oct 2005 , 1:45pm
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I think I asked this once before, Diva....I can't remember the answer....sorry...

Is the "box" just to hold the heat in? Thanks.....

ellepal Posted 20 Oct 2005 , 1:52pm
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Here is an easier question: does anyone sell sugar balls already made that one can order? If so, where? Ellen

ThePastryDiva Posted 20 Oct 2005 , 2:08pm
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Originally Posted by adven68

I think I asked this once before, Diva....I can't remember the answer....sorry...

Is the "box" just to hold the heat in? Thanks.....

this is for Ellen and Advent.

No, unfortunately no one sells the balls already made, sugar is just too fragile to ship. Unless someone in your area makes them and you can pick them up.

This technique is a "CIRCUS SHOWPONY" technique...( that's what I call it....a circus showpony is not good for much else but to work in a 3 ring It's basically for show's hard to master, hard to work with.....the heat lamp burns the eyes if you are working all day after day at the station...I felt that they should've given us tinted safety goggles at

It's an expensive technique..a pound of Isomalt is over $165.00 for a 55 pound bag. I think they sell them as small as 15 pound bags but not so sure.

But good news....for those of you that would like to add the elegance of "SUGAR" to your work. I found a site that sells "pieces" You will be VERY happy to place your gumpaste roses with one of these elegant pieces!

Here is the link....Go to ALBERTUSTER.COM... or

I sure hope this helps!

ThePastryDiva Posted 20 Oct 2005 , 2:10pm
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oh darn forgot to answer advent's heat box actually is there not only to hold the heat in but to hang the heat lamp from.

The sugar remains pliable under the heat lamp...but it's hot...250 watts of exposure...I felt like I should be using my sun screen lotion and

ellepal Posted 20 Oct 2005 , 2:31pm
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darn......i don't know of anyone in Youngstown who makes them; although I'd drive to Cleveland for them if Blakes Cakes would be so willing! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

Thanks for the site....loved the sugar pieces.

adven68 Posted 20 Oct 2005 , 2:56pm
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Diva...that site is're is 'spensive!!!!! No wonder each rose costs so much!

Thanks for the answers....

BlakesCakes Posted 20 Oct 2005 , 6:19pm
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Hi, Everyone!

Diva is right, these are much too fragile to ship. Any water or high humidity near the shipment would leave you opening a box of melted goo.
To store them well, they actually need to be near a desiccant like limestone or calcium carbonate--in an airtight box or bag without a desiccant, the pieces go from clear to opaque and then melt down like the Wicked Witch of the West!

Alber Uster ( is a great site for equipment & isomalt pieces, but golly, their colored Isomalt bits (Venuence, or whatever) is outrageous.

As to Isomalt, it is expensive. You can probably order some from the Wilton School in Chicago for (as I recall) about $7.00/lb. plus shipping--the price may have gone up slightly, but it's still a good deal. You need to call the school in Darien (630-985-6077) and talk to the Sandy or Mary Beth. Since Isomalt grains can be melted, stored, re-melted (as long as they have NOT been colored or adulterated in any way), as my instructor there says, 2lbs. will last a lifetime.

Diva, you can protect your eyes a bit by putting a wide piece of wood or canvas across the front top of your box attached to the lid. My top is flat with a hole in the middle for the heat lamp and channels of moulding to hold in the sides of the lexan. Applied to the front of the top will be a flat strip of wood or canvas that hangs down 6 inches and spans the 24 inch opening of the front of the box. With this in place, you can't even see the heat lamp bulb but the work area is clear. This will work if you are sitting up high in relation to the box and counter.

Ellepal, I'm not ready to make any offers as yet--I still need to get up and running and then some practice--but if I reach that point, I'll let you know. We could meet in Hudson at the I-80 interchange.....on a dry day under 75 degress when there are no potholes on 271....we'll see..

Have a great day!

ThePastryDiva Posted 20 Oct 2005 , 6:26pm
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I would love to be in that car on that day of delivery!

I remember driving miles to competition with my cakes covered in delicate gumpaste flowers...I can take my pasta machine all the day down to a 7 to make them for

and the clinking, chinking and chimming was giving me a heart attack!


SugarCreations Posted 20 Oct 2005 , 9:02pm
post #22 of 60

Sugar is hygroscopic meaning that it will attract moisture. Isomalt is used because it is resistant to moisture. It also has a higher boiling point than regular granulated sugar. As it has no caramelization point per say. It is a member of the polyols family, a sugar alcohol. Regular granulated sugar begins to caramelize at 320F it turns amber or straw color and as the temperature increases it gradually gets darker and turns into sugar cement. Basically good for nothing. Isomalt is hotter to work with than granulated sugar because of the higher boiling temps. Some professionals will not even use it because it is harder to pull. Most had rather deal with the hygroscopic problems of granulated sugar.


While Isomalt shares a commonality with sucrose in its texture and appearance and is based on sucrose, thats where the similarity ends. It does not cook the same, taste the same, or digest the same as regular sugar. Chemically you cannot caramelize Isomalt it will not brown so do not waste your time.

If you can afford it go for it. But for the average everyday practice I would not spend that kind of money when regular granulated sugar will work just has good. Not belittling or downgrading here, just an opinion thats all.

Sory Posted 21 Oct 2005 , 12:12am
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Hello.. ladies!!

I was reading all your posts and some of you were explaining part of the process to work with this beautiful art. Is it okay to get some instructions? I also would like to ask a few questions.
Can anyone help me please!!

1). Are this peaces edable? If not: What recipe can I use to make them edable?

2). Can they be store in the refrigerator?

3)And, a member of this nice forum, which I love said if using regular sugar clean the impurities, what do you mean by that?

Thank you very much in advance, for any inconvinient. icon_redface.gif


ThePastryDiva Posted 21 Oct 2005 , 12:30am
post #24 of 60
Originally Posted by Sory

Hello.. ladies!!

I was reading all your posts and some of you were explaining part of the process to work with this beautiful art. Is it okay to get some instructions? I also would like to ask a few questions.
Can anyone help me please!!

1). Are this peaces edable? If not: What recipe can I use to make them edable?

2). Can they be store in the refrigerator?

3)And, a member of this nice forum, which I love said if using regular sugar clean the impurities, what do you mean by that?

Thank you very much in advance, for any inconvinient. icon_redface.gif


1, they are edible if you make them out of sugar

2. No, you shouldn't store them in the refridgerator.

3. When you cook sugar, sometimes a greyish scum rises to the top, nothing to worry about, just take a small strainer and scoop this out!

Feel free to ask any thing else! I hope this answers your questions.

Sory Posted 21 Oct 2005 , 12:43am
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Madam, thank you very much, for answering my questions. thumbs_up.gif
That was quick!! icon_lol.gif


ThePastryDiva Posted 21 Oct 2005 , 12:54am
post #26 of 60
Originally Posted by Sory

Madam, thank you very much, for answering my questions. thumbs_up.gif
That was quick!! icon_lol.gif


Sorry I didn't answer late last night as I was tired and today school and job interviews, but hope I helped!

But, at least you got the

SugarCreations Posted 21 Oct 2005 , 1:02am
post #27 of 60

The answer to your question about putting them in the icebox is no they cannot be stored in the refrigerator.
And yes they are edible. You can add vanilla flavoring, oil of peppermint to the boiling sugar.
Impurities are found naturally in sugar. You usually cannot see them in the sugar. While it is boiling you can take a paper towel or small strainer and skim the top of the sugar a few times.You are not going to get it all. You can use regular granulated sugar such as Dominos or Dixie Crystal they have fewer impurties than other granulated sugars. If you cannot get them any granulated sugar will do. Just make sure that it is granulated sugar and that it says so on the package. You do not want beet sugar. If it is beet sugar it will just say sugar on the package. You can store the pieces in an airtight container using sodium chloride, limerocks, or silca gels. Sodium chloride is nothing more than ice melt. If you use it, you can only use it one time and you will have to trash it. Just insure that your pieces do not come in direct contact with the drying agent.Place a piece of wax paper between your piece and the drying agent. You can add coloring to the sugar such as food coloring, powdered colors, or gel coloring.
There is a pulled/blown sugar equipment list in the forum. This is things you are going to need if you plan to work with this stuff. Below is my basic boiled sugar recipe.

Basic Boiled Sugar Recipe

1 3/4 cup water
3 Cups sugar granulated
2 Level Teaspoons Cream of Tarter

Place all ingredients in a stainless steel or copper pot over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has come to a boil. Insert your candy thermometer and do not stir anymore at this point. Wash down the sides of the pan with warm water and a pastry brush at least three times during cooking. This elminates sugar crystals from forming on the sides of your pan. If you want to add coloring do it when the mixture reaches 260F, kind of move the pan back and forth over the heat to get the color mixed well. Continue cooking to 305F. DO NOT LET THE MIXTURE GET ABOVE 320F OR ELSE YOU WILL HAVE A CARAMELIZED MESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At 305F remove from the heat and plunge the pan into a pan or bowl full of cold water. I prefer to use the sink since the water must come at least 1/2 way up the sides of the pan. Hold it there for 10 seconds. Remove and completely dry the sides and bottom of your pan careful not to let any of the water into your mixture. If you are going to pour the sugar for a mold or something you can leave the acid out (Cream of Tartar). The acid makes the sugar more pliable,doesn't work well for pieces that have to support other pieces in a show piece. If you are going to pull the sugar pour it out onto a greased marble slab or cookie sheet, or silpat.Silpats do not have to be greased but I have found a light coat of vegetable oil on it makes it easier to work the sugar. Use your metal spatula or dough cutter(metal) and begin turning the sugar in toward the center continue this until the sugar is cool enough to handle. Pick it up and pull it, then double it and pull it agian, continue this until the sugar takes on a silky sheen. I would not pull more than 20 times or you run the risks of recrystallizing your sugar. This stuff never really gets cool enough to handle! But it must be handled. So prepare for blisters!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you have any questions posts on the forum or PM me I will help all I can. And thanks for the interest.

Sory Posted 21 Oct 2005 , 1:30am
post #28 of 60

Hello, Madam.
SugarCreations, thank you sooo much!!!
You`ve been a great help to me. I have to thank you sooo very much!!
I really appreciate it! thumbs_up.gif

ThePastryDiva, it`s okay. I understand, it was a little late.
Sorry if I cause you any inconvinient, taking some of your time to rest, I didn`t mean to. icon_redface.gif
And, yes Madam, I received the pictures.
Thank you sooo very much, to you too Madam, for all your help!! icon_razz.gif


ThePastryDiva Posted 21 Oct 2005 , 1:30am
post #29 of 60

or you can just move the sugar on the silpat by lifting the silpat and pressing the sugar together and pulling the silpat away like you're pulling off a waxing strip..quick and fast.

We bring our sugar up to 280 and add the colors. There are 2 recipes for sugar. One for pulled and blown sugar and one for casting sugar.

ellepal Posted 21 Oct 2005 , 3:36am
post #30 of 60

Blakes Cakes.......I don't feel hopeful about the potholes on 271! Have you ever considered perhaps offering a lesson?

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