It is always best to work with sugar on a dry day. When it is humid or rainy outside, the sugar will become sticky. To help combat the humidity, I use corn syrup in the recipe. Remember, the sugar is very hot and will burn if it comes in contact with your skin. It is a good idea to keep a bowl of cold water readily available. If you get any sugar on your skin, dip your skin in the cold water to stop the burn and easily remove the sugar.
- 7 cups sugar
- Scant 2 cups corn syrup
- 2 cups or 450 grams water
- Food color, liquid or paste, blue and white
- White vinegar
- Magic Flowers, see recipe for Magic Flowers (Show JQ1A03)
- 1 8-inch cake, see recipe for Classic Genoise (Show JQ1A03)
- Buttercream, see recipe for Basic Buttercream (Show JQ1A03)
- Simple Syrup, see recipe for Simple Syrup (show JQ1A03)
- Rolling Fondant, see recipe for Rolling Fondant (Show JQ1A03)
- Royal Icing, see recipe for Royal Icing (Show JQ1A03)
Cook the sugar, corn syrup and water to light caramel color (about 320 degrees F). Add 2 to 3 drops of the white food color mixing gently to make the sugar opaque. Add 2 to 3 drops of blue food color, do not mix completely. This centerpiece uses a 12-inch ring, a 10-inch ring, 2 (8-inch) rings, and a 4-inch cake ring. Spray each cake ring with vegetable cooking spray. Place the 12-inch ring on the baking sheet lined with silpat (a silicone baking mat). Then place the 8-inch ring inside the larger ring so that the sides touch. This will leave a crescent shape inside the 12-inch ring. Place the remaining cake rings on the baking sheet. Pour the sugar into the crescent shape (including the circle beside the crescent shape) and all of the cake rings completely filling the circles until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Reserve a small amount of sugar and pour on a second silpat lined baking sheet in a free form. This will be used to "glue" the centerpiece together. When the sugar has cooled, which will take 10 to 15 minutes, remove it from the rings. Break the free-formed piece into small pieces and place in a heatproof glass bowl. Use a clean towel dipped in white vinegar to clean any remaining cooking spray from the edges of the sugar circles and moon piece.
- Assemble the centerpiece: You need to first make the glue to stick everything together. Place the extra sugar pieces (those are remnants of the sugar that you poured freeform on to the silpat) in the microwave and heat until it begins to bubble. Watch carefully to be sure it does not burn.
- Next you need to make the sugar supports to hold the moon vertically and to support the 8-inch sugar circle that will be resting on and in the moon, creating the level stand for the cake. You will need 4 support pieces in order to build the centerpiece. To make the supports, heat a metal triangle or metal scraper on the burner of the stove. Place the heated edge on the 4-inch sugar circle allowing the heat of the metal to "cut" the 4-inch sugar circle into quarters. Use the heated metal scraper to also cut 2 to 2 1/2 inches off 1 of the 2 pointed tips of the moon. You will need to do this on an angle of about 90 degrees, in order to create a somewhat flat edge. This flat edge will provide a level landing spot for the 8-inch sugar circle that will be the cake stand attachment of the moon.
- Pour some of the melted sugar into the center of the 12-inch circle and "glue" the moon vertically into place. The end of the moon that you cut off is now the bottom of the moon. Hold the moon straight until the sugar sets. "Glue" the first 2 support pieces (these are the pieces that you cut by quartering the smallest sugar circle) at the wide, face of the moon, gluing 1 on either side. These 2 supports should be touching both the face of the moon and the base the moon rests on vertically. These supports will steady the moon in its vertical position on the round sugar base. Glue your third support piece on the narrow backside of the moon. This will create a bridge of support in the back, from the moon to the base. In other words it will prevent the moon from rolling backwards. Once all 3 supports have hardened you can "glue" the 8-inch sugar circle to the cut edge of the moon, creating a level cake stand inside the moon. The circle will be sitting on both the cut level area and the inner curve of the moon. Additionally, you might find that you need the forth support piece to steady the 8-inch level stand. Glue it into place wherever you think more support is required.
Use the melted sugar to "glue" the Magic Flowers into your desired positions all over the moon and the base it rests on. Now, the centerpiece is ready to accept the Celebration Cake.
Jacques' tips: The ideal work surface for this centerpiece project is silpat placed on top of a piece of marble or granite. Stainless steel as a surface will absorb the heat and expand/contract with the temperature changes. If you do not have marble, work on a wood surface instead. Silpat will keep the surface of the sugar shiny. If you work on parchment paper, the sugar surface will be matte.
Assemble the cake and centerpiece: Use a serrated knife to slice the cake into 3 layers. This task will be easier if you use a turntable. Flavor 1/3 of the buttercream with raspberry jam, to taste, and use this as a filling. Set the first cake layer on the cardboard cake circle. Douse the layers with some of the simple syrup. Apply the raspberry buttercream filling between the cake layers. Frost the cake with a thin layer of the unflavored buttercream. The first application does not have to be perfect. Place the cake in the refrigerator for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and apply the second layer of unflavored buttercream. It is easier to get a smooth appearance if you apply the buttercream in two applications.
Cover the cake with the Rolling Fondant as described in the recipe. Place the Royal Icing into a cornet and decorate the top and side of the cake in any way that you desire. If you make a mistake, simply wipe away the royal icing and begin again.
Carefully place the cake on the sugar cake stand part of the centerpiece.