So there’s this thing they do in Mexico where very talented people cast some gelatin and then use syringes to artfully inject opaque gelatin into it, leading to some lovely designs. Usually they’re flowers, but I’ve also seen some gorgeous and elaborate non-floral designs, like Lourdes Reyes’ “Captured in Time” cake (the only public photo I’ve seen of that is here. Reyes is a master who sells kits and classes that I have considered buying, but they’re professionally priced and since I rarely make money from my cakes and blogging, they’re out of my range.
I found some YouTube videos showing the basic process (here, here, here, here, and here, plus more, just follow the recommended links as you watch each one), plus a blog post with recipes. Clearly, it’s not all that different than gummy, so I’ve been keen to see if I can do the same sort of thing with my gummy recipes.
Short answer: yup, it works!
Long answer: I considered buying some syringes suited to the task by googling “gelatin floral syringe”, but then realized I had leftover, medical-quality, high-gauge syringes from infertility treatments many years ago. Ouch. You don’t want to know how bad they hurt. Trust me.
Anyway, I have a bunch of these:
And while it looks like gelatin floral art suppliers sell clear molding/serving dishes, I just wanted to play so I cast up some yellow gummy I already had lying around in a small candy mold:
I made several and let them set up at room temperature so they’d be firm, but not fridge-hard. Then I melted some other green leftover gummy I had on hand, put the syringe into the hot water just like I do all the time with the baster, and when it was warm, drew up some of the green. It was really difficult! I could only get a little bit in, and I had to rewarm the whole thing constantly. Either gummy is thicker than what the gelatina artists use, or my syringes were thinner, or both.
But it worked well enough for a trial, so I injected some green into the yellow, first doing a couple of simple stab-and-pull motions, then one of the sweeping motions they use to make petals. It’s hard to see the green against the yellow but here’s the result:
Next I tried some spare opaque I had around. It’s grey because it was in the form of some leftover Han Solos in Carbonite I took to the ICES demo the weekend before (leftover gummy that I’m dubious about eating is still good for proof-of-concept experimentation!). By now, all six of my regular readers aren’t even surprised that I have random Han Solos around the house for melting purposes.
I tried injecting the grey in one central stab, then some sweeping petal-like things around. It kind of looks like a multi-bladed death scythe. I mean…I deliberately made a cool multi-bladed death scythe! Woot!
Then I had an idea.
An awful idea.
A terribly, wonderfully, twisted, fantastic idea.
So I did one more test with the grey, trying to make a central wall of sorts. It kind of worked, but again, the grey is hard to see against the yellow (and yes I do have a recipe for clear gelatin, which I will post eventually, but for now is available in the Flexible, Edible Stained Glass ebook, but I didn’t want to bother with a whole fresh batch):
I switched to some black opaque I had leftover from making the stained glass book and tried the sweeping wall again:
Which from above looked like this:
And then I grabbed some spare fondant and did this to it:
That’s right: I took the craft that most people use to make gorgeous flowers, and turned it into a spooky eyeball! MUAHAHAHAHA!
But then I decided those lids were boring. So I put them aside, jabbed at them with a #10 Wilton tip, hit them with some fast black and green colour spray, picked the extra remnant of black off of the bottom of the gummy bit, and rearranged it all again like this:
For a final experiment with this methodology, I tried doing the stab thing repeatedly with some black:
Realizing that the syringe acts as a mini baster, I then tried some other experimentation with it. I dug out this Wilton gumpaste mold (which I’ve only ever used for gummy myself) and used the syringe to place teeny tiny drops in the pattern of one of the ribbons:
I also added some red centres, then let it all set up. Once it was definitely set, I flooded the space with green. I then added some green tiny blobs to the spaces in the ribbon above:
I then flooded the upper one with yellow and put the mold in the fridge for awhile. When I took the ribbons out, it was immediately obvious that the green flood had absorbed the yellow dots enough that they were indistinguishable, but that the green dots stood out okay on the yellow. So keep that in mind if you try this: small detail needs to be darker than the main body.
I retried the floral ribbon by putting some green dots, in, and then flooding it with yellow. But I didn’t give it much time to set up, and so in the photo of all three below (click it for a larger version), you can see that on one side of the third ribbon, the green blobs are visible from where they’d started to set up as I went along, but the ones that were done at the end and were still too soft just melted away into the yellow:
So that’s some proof-of-concept fun with using a syringe with gummy.
In case you’re thinking, “Hey crazy lady, I’m not going to go out and buy a syringe to make this weird stuff!” here’s a more basic gummy application I made during my ICES demo that turned out really cool. I found this mold at the grocery store; except it isn’t a mold, it’s a pot holder. But it’s made out of food-grade silicone so as far as I’m concerned, that’s a gummy mold!
I had some red and yellow going as part of the demo, so I used the baster to apply a random swirl of each, one right after the other so they’d mix. It came off like this:
Because the pattern bits are so much thicker than the flooded backing, this piece has a really cool multi-faceted drape to it. Cast larger, it could be cut to cover a cake really nicely for an awesome effect.
There you have it: fancy advanced gummy injections turned into creepy eyeballs, then back to super-easy basics you could slap onto a cake. Either way, if you play with this stuff, you’re going to get asked, “How did you do that?!” a lot. So go forth and play, then let me know what you make!
PS: For those who are like me and want to poke the eye to see how squishy it is, here’s a video of me doing just that on your behalf: