Fantasy-cake designers use sugar in a variety of ways to create flowers, figures and shapes. Blowing melted sugar is similar to blowing glass. Blowing sugar can be dangerous, because the sugar must be hot while it is shaped. Blown-sugar art adorns cake tops or can stand alone as a centrepiece. With proper care, a blown-sugar sculpture lasts for weeks. But if the sculpture gets wet, or is stored in a humid environment, the piece will quickly disintegrate.
Mix 1 227gr. of sugar with 236ml. of water in a large heavy saucepan. Stir the mixture until all the sugar crystals dissolve. Boil the mixture, skimming off the foam as it develops. Use a small pastry brush dipped in water to wash any sugar from the side of the pan.
Cook until the sugar reaches 110 degrees Celsius on a candy thermometer. Add the corn syrup and cream of tartar. Stop stirring and heat the mixture until the sugar reaches 300 degrees. Remove the pan from the heat and place the pan in a larger pan filled with ice water. Do not allow the cold water to touch the hot sugar. Let the pan cool for 30 seconds.
Pour the sugar onto a silicon sugar mat or a well-greased marble slab. Using Kevlar heat-resistant gloves, fold the edges of the sugar toward the centre. Continue folding the sugar into itself until the entire piece is cool enough to handle with the gloves.
Stretch the sugar by holding one end in one hand and pulling with the other hand. Fold the sugar in half, then pull again. Repeat folding and pulling until the sugar has a glossy, satiny appearance. Place the pulled sugar under a heat lamp to keep it warm.
Cut off a 2 inch piece of pulled sugar and flatten the piece out with your fingers. Curl the edges to form a ball with an open centre. Pinch the open area together until it is just big enough for the sugar-blowing tube.
Heat the inside of the ball with the pastry torch. A pastry torch is a small blowtorch used to add colour to creme brulee and other desserts. Heat the metal sugar-blowing tube and insert it in the hole of the ball. Seal the edges by pressing the sugar around the tube.
Squeeze the sugar-blowing pump, blowing air inside the sugar ball. The pump used to blow sugar is a valved hand pump similar to the type used in a blood pressure cuff. Shape the ball as it inflates. If the sugar cools too quickly, heat the outside with the torch or a heat lamp.
Set the finished piece to one side to cool slowly. Blow and shape the remaining sugar following steps 5 through 7.
Experiment with different household items to shape the warm sugar such as springs, wire, blunt knives and scissors. The blown sugar is very fragile even when cooled, so handle all pieces carefully.
Cooking the sugar and handling hot sugar can be dangerous and may lead to burns. This is not an activity for children.