Good Enough To Eat
While we wait for the competition in the Bake Off tent to heat up we thought we'd take a look at decorating some sweet treats with gemstone inspiration. There's no judging here, so whether a gemstone cupcake becomes one of your signature bakes or a technical challenge you'd rather forget it's a great chance to have a bit of fun. Make sure you remove your gemstone rings or bangles before baking to avoid damaging them.
The home of internet inspiration, Pinterest, has some seriously impressive bakes, but the most popular seems to be a geode cake. Geodes are rocks which have crystal formations inside them, which can only be seen when they rocks are broken open. In cake decoration form the geode is made by cutting a niche into a layered cake and decorating the inside with coloured rock candy or sugar crystals. For an extra hit when eaten, use popping candy for some of the crystals.
Marble, tiger's eye and other types of stone which have layers can be made using fondant icing with food colouring swirled through it and rolled out to create that effect. You could combine this type of fondant with the geode decoration idea to create your very own showstopper.
To keep things simpler, make a batch of cupcakes and decorate the top with boiled sweets which have the look of gemstones. The tops of Iced Gem sweets can also be used for decoration, while silver and gold sugar balls can be arranged in a mount. The only limit is your creativity. If you don't want to put a whole boiled sweet on top, consider melting some in the oven and cutting gemstone shapes out while it is still warm – but do be careful around boiling hot sugar as it sticks and burns! Jelly sweets are a softer alternative and much safer if the cakes are to be eaten by children, as boiled sweets can pose a choking hazard (not to mention the danger of cracking a loose tooth!).
For a special occasion cake, a gemstone inspired decoration can make it a memorable experience, especially if some of the gifts are gemstone jewellery. You could even try recreating a favourite piece of jewellery as a cake decoration, or take colour inspiration from the birthstone of the person celebrating.
There are hundreds of moulds for sugar work and cake decorating, so consider investing in some of these if gemstone cakes become part of your signature bake collection. With so many techniques and products for decorating cakes it's something everyone can try regardless of age or ability. Who knows, you might discover a hidden flair for sugar work and end up on Bake Off 2022!