Sugar Crystals

My gorgeous and amazingly talented friend Milligan Beaumont had an exhibition curated on her in Covent Garden on Thursday. I was so inspired by the intricate, over-the-top beadwork that she does that I begged her to let me turn up with a cake. I then spent the next week worrying about how to pull off a cake that would shine when placed next to her huge kimonos glistening with Swarovski crystals.

Please be careful with this recipe, third-degree sugar burns are no fun and will probably end in a trip to the hospital.

Equipment you will need: loads of tin foil, a pastry brush or kitchen roll, a sugar thermometer, and a pan with a pouring lip.

And to make your crystals out of this world... order in some edible glue and edible glitter, its not compulsory- but glitter makes everything better!


Ingredients (per block of sugar glass)

250ml water

392g caster sugar

Gel food colouring

125ml liquid glucose

1/8 tsp cream of tartar 

Get out a 25cm x 10cm baking tray. Rip large tin foil squares from your roll and then fold to create miniature baking trays about 10cm x 5 cm rectangles (alternatively if you have tiny baking trays, just line these with tin foil. Brush with a small amount of veg/sunflower/olive oil. Leave for 30 minutes. 

Place all your ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan (make sure it has a pouring lip- or ensure you have a friend that can help you later). Stir in your food dye, and adjust until you have the darkness you want. 

Place on a low-medium heat and boil the mixture (using a sugar thermometer) until it reaches 150c. This will take about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and watch carefully until the mixture reaches 130c then pour into your tinfoil baking tray. 

Repeat this step with different colours until you have as many colour as you want. 

Leave your sugar glass to cool into thick slabs. Then peel off the tinfoil. 

Place a large sheet of tin foil on the floor, gently fold up the sides to catch any fragments of broken sugar. Then drop a slab onto the floor from a height. Keep dropping pieces until you have shards that are differing heights and shapes. Repeat on different tin foil sheets with the other colours. 

Temper some white chocolate or dark depending on the colour of your cake (search for my recipe on how to temper chocolate.) 

Dip the shards into the white chocolate (the sides that you think will be touching the buttercream once decorating the cakes) and leave to harden on a sheet of baking parchment. Then paint the shards with edible glue and sprinkle over your glitter. Leave to dry and then decorate your cake! 

Happy Cooking

Cicely x