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Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

Make cake decorations using candy or boiled sweets, like Jolly Ranchers. In this tutorial I’ll show you different ways to melt candy and how to make freehand designs using no tools or more detailed shapes using tools. Then I’ll show you how to attach the decorations to a cake.

If you prefer to watch a video of this tutorial, scroll to the bottom of the page.

To create a 2D shape like a silhouette, put a cookie cutter on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and arrange candy inside it to fill the shape. The more candy you put in, the thicker the shape will be and the easier it will be to remove it later.

arrange candy within a cookie cutter on parchment paper on a baking tray Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

Put the tray in the oven at 350F or 175C for five minutes and check to see if the candy has melted completely. If not, leave it in the oven for another 2 minutes and then check again.

heat candy until it melts and is liquid to make cake toppers Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

The melted candy might leak out from the cookie cutter but that’s fine – we’ll fix it in a minute.

make cake toppers using candy and cookie cutters Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

You can do this with a silicone mold to create a more detailed shape. Place the candy into the mold, and for narrow areas you can crush the candy so that you can fit the smaller pieces into the mold.

melt candy in silicon molds to make cake toppers Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

Bake the candy in the mold at 350F or 175C until it’s all liquid and bubbling. It will be HOT when it comes out of the oven so don’t touch it yet!

melt candy in silicon molds in the oven to make cake toppers Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

You can use a microwave instead to melt the candy, just in a bowl or using a mold. If you crush the candy you’ll be able to blend the colours more subtly than if you use entire candies, like in the previous mermaid tail. To crush candy you can put it in a ziploc bag and then smash it with a rolling pin.

crush candy to fill mold to make cake toppers Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

With crushed candy you have a lot more control over the coloring of the decoration, compared to using whole candies where you have large blocks of colour.

crush candy and fill mold to make cake toppers Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

Put the mold in the microwave for one minute, until it’s bubbling and there are no solid chunks of candy left. Look at those beautiful colours! But it’s easy to overheat candy in the microwave and if that happens, the colour will become duller as it cools.

melt candy in mold in microwave to make shaped cake toppers Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

To remove the candy from a silicone mold is easy. The mold is flexible so just push upwards from underneath it and you’ll pop the shape out. Now I want to show you the different effects of using the oven and the microwave.

push candy cake topper out of mold Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

Look at the difference in the colours of the candy – the bright colours of the tail on the left, which was melted in the oven, compared to the dull colours of the one on the right, which was melted in the microwave.

candy cake toppers melted in oven and microwave Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

To remove candy from a cookie cutter is a bit trickier. Once it’s cool, lift it off the tray and snap off any pieces of candy that have leaked out of the mold.

snap candy off from around the cookie cutter Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

Now, you’ll notice that the candy is down at the bottom of the cookie cutter, and intuitively, you’d push it out through that bottom side. But it’s much more likely to crack that way, than if you flip it over and push the candy out through the top of the cookie cutter.

push candy shape out through cookie cutter Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

Push gently all over the shape, nudging it out bit by bit, until it pops out of the other side of the cookie cutter. As I mentioned earlier, the thicker the candy the stronger it will be. If the candy is very thin it’s more likely to snap as you push it out of the cookie cutter.

push candy cake topper out through cookie cutter Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

When the candy pops out you’ll have a perfect candy cactus (or whatever shape you’ve chosen). Learn how to decorate this Taco Tuesday Cake on my online cake school!

make your own cake toppers with melted candy Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

If you don’t have cookie cutters or silicon molds you can create decorations without them. You’ll need a piece of parchment paper and I like to place this on a tray to hold it in place and make it easy to move around. Melt the candy in a bowl and then drizzle it onto the parchment paper.

Let the candy cool slightly before pouring it because then you’ll have more control over the design because the drizzle will be thinner and it won’t spread out like it does when it’s still REALLY hot.

melt candy in a bowl in the microwave to make cake toppers Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

Look at the difference between candy you pour immediately after melting, compared to leaving it to cool for just a minute, until it stops bubbling.

candy drizzle is more detailed if the candy cools slightly first before drizzling Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

When these cool, you can lift them easily off the parchment.

lift candy decorations off parchment paper after they set Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

To attach candy decorations to a cake, pipe details onto the top of a cake and this frosting will be soft and sticky so you can push the candy straight into them. I’m using a #104 petal tip to pipe these ruffles.

I suggest using a crusting buttercream for piping, like my 4 Minute Buttercream because when it sets, after about 30 minutes in the fridge, it gets very firm and it will hold the candy in place while you transport and serve it.

create intricate shaped cake toppers with melted candy Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

I used a 1M tip for this piping.

push candy cake toppers into piping to attach to cake Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

For LOTS of cake designs and cake decorating techniques, check out my online cake school. If you join my Club you’ll get access to ALL of my classes!

candy cake toppers Candy Cake Decorating Hacks

Here’s the video version of this tutorial:

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