Step 7: Making the Hard Candy & Pulled Sugar

 This was a key element in my cake design. I have seen tons of fondant cauldron cakes, but all of them had buttercream icing for the "bubbling goo" and maybe some fondant body parts thrown in. I really wanted my goo to look more like a transparent liquid, and I knew without a doubt that it had to "glow". Well if I could do that, then surely I could make fiery ambers as well, right? This was my first time working with cooked sugar of this type, my goal here was for the solid top, the little spurts and splashed of green pulled sugar were just for practice and actually, came out surprisingly well for my first attempt.

Preparing the molds:

Finding a candy recipe was easy (there are tons on the net), but I had to figure out how to mold or shape it. For the green goo, I used a flat glass lid from on of my glass Pyrex bowls. Then I cut out pieces of a cardboard egg carton and trimmed them all lower than the lid then just taped them on the bottoms so they wouldn't move around. Next, I used heavy duty aluminum foil to cover the whole thing and made depressions in the foil. I didn't want this too thick so I kept the depressions shallow. I think it ended up being maybe 1/4"-1/2" thick. Be careful though, too thin and it will break during assembly, too thick and it will be too heavy. (my piece was pretty heavy as it was) After you're satisfied with the mold, spray lightly with a non-stick cooking spray.

Hard Candy (think lollipops)
1 C white granulated sugar
1/2 C light corn syrup
1/4 C water
3/4 tsp extract flavoring (I used pineapple flavoring)
food coloring
(you'll also need a candy thermometer)

Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Place your thermometer into the pan, keeping it from resting on the bottom. Heat to a boil without stirring, until candy reaches 295-300 F. (hard crack stage)  Remove from heat and quickly stir in your extract and food coloring. Immediately pour into molds. Let set at room temp until candy hardens. (it only takes a few hours) Store in a cool dry place (not the refrigerator) covered with plastic wrap until ready to use. 

For the green goo:
I used just a few drops of neon green food coloring. After I poured it into my mold, I poured just a portion of it onto a silpat mat. I let it cool until it was still soft but I could handle it. With gloves on, I pulled it just to get some sheen. Now, I really didn't know what I was doing here, I was just following how I've seen pulled sugar done. (This is a technique that is used to make sugar ribbons.)Then I pulled little pieces off and into long strands. For the spirals, I lightly sprayed a metal knife honer and as I pulled a piece off I quickly wrapped it around the honer. It set up rather quickly then I was ready to slide it off. I made some other quirky shapes just so I would have pieces to stand up in the cauldron goo, so I really didn't have to be so precise.

I did the green pieces way ahead of time (about 1 week prior to assembly), since this was my first time trying out these sugar techniques. If I use this technique again, I'll wait until it's closer to the time of assembly. My kitchen is really super humid and so some of the delicate pieces either broke, or melted. Which actually, I had expected anyway. This type of sugar art will take some practice but I will definitely revisit the idea at a later date. I waited until the entire cake display was assembled before attaching the spiral shapes to the top of the green goo. This was pretty easy because at this point, they were pretty sticky. It was just a matter of balancing them on there. 

For the coals:
I used the top plastic part of the egg carton, but this time, I crumpled up a large piece of parchment paper, then laid it over the tray and made some more depressions. Be sure to let the paper rise above the plastic tray, else the sugar may be to hot for it and melt it (plus I didn't want my coals too big) Spray the parchment paper with non stick cooking spray. I used the same recipe as above, only this time, I tried to throw in some powdered Koolaid mix to make an "orange pineapple" flavor. (this was a tip I found on one of the sites) However, I would NOT recommend this, the candy was really bitter and I only used less than a teaspoon. The green one tasted much much better and more like pineapple lollipos. Leave the coals in the paper mold until you are ready to use them because they will be sticky and they will melt and fuse together once they are touching. 

Again, although I completed this step first, I decided to add it in here, where I would actually do it the next time.
wow.this is awesome. i decorate cakes as a hobby also. Actually i have about 10 in the cupcake contest. It just says you are featured. You werent a finalist or a winner?? thats crazy.
Thank you danlynne07, and I won second place ;) Got beat out by &quot;Dexter Slides&quot; LOL <br>
You have done a wicked job, i have been looking for this tutioral thank you so much
It looks great!
I agree totally with ArcherAndy!! YOU&nbsp;ARE simply amazing, dahling!!&nbsp; Can't wait to see what your next creation will be...keep us up to date!<br />
Wow!!!!&nbsp; DD, you have done it again.&nbsp; My mouth still hangs open when I look at pictures of the fire helmet cake that you made for Jim.&nbsp; I wondered, how could you top that?&nbsp; Then you pull this one out of your trick or treat bag of talent.&nbsp; If this display doesn't &quot;take the cake&quot; for the win, then someone is hard to please.&nbsp; This is simply amazing.&nbsp; I showed it to Staci.&nbsp; She said, &quot;How does she do that?&quot;&nbsp; I don't know how you do it, but you are great at it.&nbsp; Keep of the edible good work.&nbsp; I'm impressed!!!&nbsp; Again!!!!&nbsp; You are a pro.&nbsp; Quite being so modest.&nbsp; I would say you have earned the right to boast a bit, even though it's not your nature.&nbsp; Simply amazing!<br /> -Andrew <br />
&nbsp;So Andrew, did you like the cake? LMAO &nbsp;Seriously tho, thanks, I appreciate all of the kind comments! (give Staci hugs for me!) luv ya!
Your tutorial is amazing, DeeDee...you are not only an artist, but a born teacher, too!
I love this!!! It is amazing. I have been showing to everyone.
Very professional and exceptional work! Good Job!
This&nbsp;REALLY&nbsp;is&nbsp;an amazing cake.....great work !!!
&nbsp;Thanks Cara, it IS my all time fav to date :)
Well if your not a pro .... that Cake show should be looking to hire you... this is totally awesome.... wish i could do an tenth of that...........Love it...
Awesome Cake, you should have won on CC!!! Thanks for posting all this!!!! You are great!<br />
AWESOME ddpie! &nbsp;Your attention to detail is amazing!
&nbsp;nooooooooooo!! after seeing the whole thing being &quot;born&quot;...and you have to destroy it? so sad :(
&nbsp;Bravo!!! great instructions and visuals...you did an amazing job.&nbsp;
&nbsp;you make this all sound like &quot;I can do it too&quot;....hahaha, but I know better!!&nbsp;
&nbsp;i love the cauldron!!&nbsp;
&nbsp;I love the effects the pulled sugar had....brilliant!!!
&nbsp;i love these guys...such character!!
i'm just in awe. to see her go from almost looking alien like...into this cool witch.
&nbsp;this is so amazing...to see how she started. I love the straw arms. why does &quot;terminator&quot; come to mind? LOL
omg...that is so cool!! seriously :)
&nbsp;very impressive! the lights are the perfect size!!
&nbsp;Great visual content
That little guy is clearly afraid of the big meanie pumpkin.<br />
Not only an excellent baker, but part electrician, builder also. You are a &quot;Jane of all trades.&quot;<br />
How sad to see it all deconstructed. That witch is really scary looking. <br />
DD, Totally Awesome Haloween Cake. I love all the detail in the cake and your instructions also! You rock girl and I'll be shocked if you don't win the contest. I give this cake &quot;5&nbsp;STARS&quot; Good luck!&nbsp; Debbie
&nbsp;amazing. Not only a very cool project, but a very thorough instructable, GREAT job! &nbsp;what a cool medium to work in!
&nbsp;Thank you sarahfish, I was a bit nervous with this being my first instructable and all.&nbsp;
Truly amazing.DD you are the best.
DD, this cake is so very creative. You have involved so many processes, what a truly amazing masterpiece. <br />
I don't know what is more impressive... your imagination or your baking skills! <br /> A real work of art!<br />
Fantastic!<br />
&nbsp;thanks guys, I really appreciate it!
Once again DD, You have totally outdone yourself.&nbsp; This is a 'wicked' awesome Cake!!!&nbsp;&nbsp; <br />
<p>AMAZING!!!&nbsp; Love all the detail!</p>
DD I will vote for you anytime my family will also vote for you you are a truly amazing cake lady. ha ha great job. carolyn from bakespace<br />
I soo love this cake, it's unbelievable in every detail.<br /> Every step and all the effort and knowledge you put into the construction is amazing. You must win, girl!<br /> Dajana
Awesome cake!! Luv the lighting effects!!<br />
Great job!!!!<br />
this is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!<br />
Amazing cake! This is a sure winner!!
Amazing detail in this cake - Great Job!!!
OMG! That looks amazing!<br />
Freakin Awesome... Are you a pro and do this for a living or is this something you did on the side?&nbsp;
&nbsp;Thanks cammel8! &nbsp;No, I'm not a pro, nor do I do it on the side. I only do cakes and sugar art as a hobby. ;)

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Bio: I'm happily married and have 3 grown daughters. Two of which are in college and one still at home (we're attempting to kick ... More »
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