If you crave marzipan and icing, as I often do, simply layer star or snowflake cutouts on top and use a traditional cake tin – much easier than a full covering and looks stunning.
Honeycomb, sea foam, cloud candy call it what you will…..it’s great cooking chemistry and makes a toothachingly sweet treat!
All you need is sugar, golden syrup and bicarbonate of soda and ideally some really good nonstick reusable baking parchment for easy serving!
If you are making this with children in the kitchen by all means let them watch the fun but don’t let them touch the pan, sugar or honeycomb until completely cool. Sugar gets very hot, sticks and gives terrible burns.
To prepare: line a baking tray with a re-usable baking sheet or good quality baking parchment and put to one side near the stove top. Measure out onto a small dish, 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda and have a whisk out at the ready. Choose a high sided pan as the bubbling sugar will rise quickly when you add the soda. Fill your sink with hot soapy water ready to plunge your sugar coated pan into straight away, this will help stop the sugar sticking to rigidly to the metal.
In a pan, stir 100g of golden caster sugar, 4tbsp of golden syrup. Place on a medium heat and do not stir. First the mix will melt, then go clear, then bubble a beautiful dark amber (this will take 4-5 minutes) at the dark amber stage remove from the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk in. It will transform in a caramel cloud and rise up the sides of the pan, I love this bit but be careful not to whisk too heartily as sugar burns! Pour on to your chosen nonstick surface and leave to cool completely (up to an hour) before breaking into pieces and storing on a tin at room temperature. Do not be tempted to refrigerate – the cold ruins sugar and it will become sticky.
When you break the honeycomb up reserve the large pieces to eat alone and the crumbs to top cakes and ice creams!
Tip: Lightly oil your tablespoon to make measuring golden syrup more accurate and easy to drop into your bowl.
Variety – I have a wonderful vanilla bean grinder and added several twists to the sugar mix, lavender sugar makes a spiced change and I love the addition of cinnamon too.
Preserving edible flowers in finest caster sugar will always be one of my favourite ways to while away an hour.
Always make sure you use edible flowers (see my list) grown without chemicals and pesticides. Pick when dry and check for bugs with your fine haired paint brush. When satisfied your blooms are ready to be candied, simply paint egg white onto petals and stems, leaving no gaps before dusting in a saucer of caster sugar. Transfer to a cooling rack to dry and harden.
These orange beauties were crystallised to decorate a croquembouche along with fresh lavender.