I went for a class at Cake Alchemy which (unknown to me) is featured on a US TV cake show. They decorate cakes with blown and pulled sugar, a technique I've never seen before that is very pretty. I love the coloured bubbles.
The first technique we did was making rock sugar, which rises up like cinder toffee and sets into a honeycomb (it is the "coral" on the photo below). The next trick was pouring melted sugar into silicon moulds to make leaves, shells and a butterfly. This was fairly easy. We also made and coloured the blue stand and green base for the montage below.
Next up was pulled sugar, which was used to make these sugar roses. I've made roses plenty of times before but always out of florist paste. Working under a hot light with pliable sugar that burns your mitts was different. It would have helped to have had what Heather calls "mammy asbestos hands" - a mother's ability to lift a casserole straight from the oven without oven gloves or flinching. I am not blessed with mammy-asbestos-hands so my work was broken by little cries of 'ow' and 'bollocks' as the brittle little petals shattered in my fingers.
The last technique was blowing sugar. I managed to make some bubbles but didn't even attempt to make a fishy - this one on the photo was made by the instructor.
This is entirely made of sugar. It may well look like a tacky seaside ornament, but it was a useful exercise in several new sugar crafts. Plus I can gift it to someone as a delightful gift for his apartment. That'll teach him to pooh pooh my handbag cake.