The Sugar Glass Cake

So, it’s been a while since my last post. But I have something rather special to return with, a cake I designed and made commissioned by The V&A Museum.

I always like to try new things and experiment with things I’ve seen or read about, and sugar glass was high on my list of things I thought looked insanely complicated, but was worth a try.

And you know what? It isn’t really that difficult to make, but looks incredibly impressive.

So, behold The Sugar Glass Cake

The Sugar Glass Cake

sugar glass

All good cakes meet a sticky end…

the aftermath

I first encountered sugar glass in the form of sugar sculpture; an elaborate form of artistry meets food in the form of some stunning sugar creations that almost look like glass; similar methods used in glass blowing are actually used in sugar sculpting, sugary fact of the day!


Sugar glass is typically a somewhat less glamorous affair, often being used in films as stunt glass in place of real glass; a less painful and tastier experience if you go crashing through it.

‘That’s all very interesting, but how do you make the stuff if it’s so easy?!’ I hear you cry! Well, observe.

You get to use the mysterious and magical ingredient I’ve always wanted to use: Glucose! Although having just said that I have now realised I have previously used Glucose in making marshmallows…but anyhow, with sugar glass, you get to use LOADS of glucose! I even had to buy a special sciencey looking tub of it from a proper cake shop, not Dr. Oetker.

Serious stuff.

To make sugar glass, you essentially just need glucose (interestingly, golden syrup is pretty much glucose by another name, we’re just talking liquid sugar here basically…) equip yourself with a sugar thermometer, water, and the final mystery ingredient, did you guess it yet? Sugar. Shocking I know.

Essentially you boil the lot to 130 degrees celcius (which takes ages, I got impatient, insisted my thermometer was broken, poured out my sugar and to no one’s surprise it didn’t set, so stick with your thermometer, let it do its thing, chill out, and be patient!)

At 130 degrees celcius, you pour your absolutely boiling liquid into a greased, foil lined baking tin (and by boiling, I cannot stress enough how boiling I mean by ‘boiling’, this is liquid sugar people, think molten glass and you’ve got an idea of how hot this stuff is. So, genuinely, keep out of reach of children. They may think you’re Willy Wonka, but you’ll be Willy Plonker if you let children near this stuff.)

After pouring, within minutes you’ll start to see the sugar hardening. It stays incredibly hot for a fair bit, but very quickly becomes rock solid, so if you’re planning anything fancy like teasing it into shapes or scoring shapes into it to snap off, it really has to be done instantly.

Here are some pictures from my adventures in Sugar Land

red spoon146 144 139a golden lake purple blue 073 072 sugar therm sugar liquid041 red foil

Now I wouldn’t show you all these lovely pictures and videos without giving you some cold hard facts about to make the stuff! That would just be mean. If you want to take on Sugar glass yourselves, simply follow the following…


500ml water

785g granulated sugar

A few drops of food colouring (can be gel or liquid, I used liquid)

250ml liquid Glucose

1//4 tsp cream of tartar


1 shallow baking tray, lined with foil with no gaps

Oil spray

Sugar thermometer

(If you don’t have oil spray, I found dribbling a bit of oil onto a clean sponge and using the sponge to coat the foil worked really well. You’re able to cover the foil completely and it doesn’t leave bubbles on your sugar glass when you’re finished.)


1. Spray (or sponge) your prepared baking tray all over with the oil at least 30 minutes before you want to use it.

2. Place the water, sugar, food colouring (if using), liquid glucose and cream of tartar into a pan with a sugar thermometer attached and stir to combine. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, until it reaches 150 degrees celcius – approximately 15 mins.

3. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool to 130 degrees celcius – approximately 10 minutes – then pour the mixture quickly and carefully into the oiled baking tray. Allow to cool completely.

4. Pop the sugar sheet very carefully out of the tray. Now, either leave it is as a massive slab and comically approach someone pretending you have a sheet of glass and proceed to smash it over their head (warning, it’s only comical after you’ve done it, the lead up to it for the victim of your hilarious sugary fun probably experiences mild terror upon thinking they’re about to have glass smashed over their head; good to emphasise how hilarious the whole saga is when calming down your victim…and to the police…)


If you havn’t scored it prior to letting it cool to make cleaner shards of sugar (as I did with my cake; scoring long triangles into the square of sugar in the tray then snapping when it cooled) you can use a meat tenderiser/hammer/brick/generic heavy object, hit the sheet of sugar carefully in the centre so it cracks into shards whereupon you can decorate cakes, cookies, yourself, to your hearts content with lovely pieces of sugar!

See this nice man doing all of the above here:

I will say this however, and it does somewhat contradict all of the above, like, every word of it. But sugar glass is horrible. As in, really, don’t eat it. Unless you can make it incredibly thin which in itself has its own problems because it becomes incredibly snappable. Sugar glass tends to come out quite thick, and I view it as just a really decorative and dramatic thing to create to embellish cakes/comedy smashing moments. Eating it is a whole world of pain, stuck teeth, and extremely happy dentists when you have to pay hundreds of pounds for new none-sugar coated teeth. It’s solid sugar people, and somewhat flavourless, so eat at your own peril!

But having said all that, it’s fun to make because you feel properly chefy fiddling with thermometers and glucose, and the end result is really rather cool, so I highly recommend giving it a go!

I’d love to hear from you guys if you try it out and see what you created with it x

Posted in January 2010 | Leave a comment

Annie Bell ~ Baking Bible



I recently received a rather large, rather inviting, and rather wonderful baking book dear readers.


Annie Bell’s Baking Bible; absolutely full of every delicious recipe you’ll ever need, as well as tons of intriguing recipes you’ll never have heard of or seen before, but once tried, will never be forgotten…

It really is a baking bible, with entire chapters dedicated to cookies & biscuits and my personal favourite, the Chocolate Cakes chapter! Page after page of delicious looking, gooey, chocolate rich cakes…you shall have to restrain yourself from baking everything on every page in one go…

And let’s not forget, each recipe has been triple tested so you won’t find yourself half way through the recipe, panicking because the recipe reads ‘now add a kilo of salt and 1 egg’

So obviously, no post about a new baking book would be complete without some baking! I chose two particularly tasty and unusual looking creations to try out, the first a ‘breton gateau’ a “cake-cum shortbread”; essentially a delicious biscuity victoria sponge.


If you’d like to try it out yourselves, you will need to forage the following:

Serves 8 (or 1, it really is quite tasty)

225g of plain flour, sifted

110g golden caster sugar

110g icing sugar, sifted

225g lightly salted butter, diced

5 medium egg yolks

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

125g strawberry jam

1 egg yolk blended with 1 teaspoon of water to form an egg wash


Food processor


20cm non-stick cake tin with a removeable base, at least 5cm deep

Pastry brush


Unsalted butter for greasing

Plain flour for rolling

Place the flour, two sugars, and butter in the bowl of a food processor and whizz until the mixture forms a crumb-like consistency. Blend the egg yolks with the vanilla in a bowl, add to the dry ingredients and whizz to a soft, sticky dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least a couple of hours.







Preheat the oven to 170C fan over/190C electric, and butter a 20cm non-stick cake tin with a removable base, at least 5 cm deep. Press half the dough into the tin, lay a sheet of clingfilm over the top and smooth out the surface carefully with your fingers. Work the jam in a bowl to loosen it and spread over the surface to within 1cm of the rim.


Roll out the remaining dough on a well-floured work surface (it will still be quite sticky) into a circle fractionally larger than the cake tin. Lay this on top of the jam and press it into place, tidying the edges using your fingers.

Liberally paint the surface with the eggwash and make a lattice pattern using the tines of a fork (I chose to go a bit mad and instead drew my fork round and round to make a big swirly spiral!)


Bake for 45-55 minutes until deeply golden, crusty and risen


Run a knife around the collar and leave to cool in the tin. To serve, remove the collar and cut into wedges. It will keep well for several days in an airtight container*
*I’d like to add here that Annie is somewhat optimistic at this idea of it lasting for several days, mine was gone in several minutes thanks to some peckish family lurking about waiting to see what I produced from the oven…



This is a really lovely sweet biscuity cake creation, very simple to make, and very quick to disappear! If you can keep it in an airtight container for several days, you are truly restrained/controlling over others being allowed at the tasty gateau…let them eat cake!


As well as this, quite fittingly it was my Grandfather’s birthday recently, and so I happened upon a recipe in the bible (the baking bible…there aren’t a list of the lords favourite recipes at the back of THE bible, but Annie’s bible is much tastier…) called ‘Grandpa Beard’s upside-down ginger cake’

I’d never made an upside down cake before, quite honestly I feared them…their upside downess mocking my total lack of baking savvy, but in actual fact, they are rather simple, and rather lovely! Nothing beats the surprise and sheer relief having turned it over and it not all falling into one big messy mound of tasty, but diastrous looking cake mess. Thankfully mine didn’t…

ose 006

ose 037

Just another example of the unusual and beautiful recipes to be found in amongst so many tempting recipes in Annie Bell’s Baking Bible.
What’s great about it is you’ll find everything from timeless, standby classics such as Victoria Sponges, to some really amazing looking French creations such as Rum Butter Macaroons and Eclairs. There’s chapters on Chocolate cakes, Cookies, Cheesecakes, Tarts, Pies, Celebration Cakes, Traybakes and Bars, Muffins, Cupcakes, Meringues, Fruitcakes, Ginger Cakes, Bread and even Pancakes! I’m not entirely sure why you would need any other baking book…

Here’s another little favourite part about the book; the photography. It’s as much a book full of beautiful images as it is recipes, and if you’re like me, 90% of the reason I buy a cook book is the photography! So I can drool over the image and imagine what it must be like to make something that looks so amazing, seriously, I don’t know how you can produce a book like this and not become morbidly obese…





Annie’s Baking Bible is available to buy Here

Posted in January 2010 | Leave a comment

20,000 views and Camden Market!

First of all, a HUGE thank you to all you guys, yes you reading this right now, and everyone who’s read, glanced at, re-blogged, re-pinned and reviewed everything that’s appeared on Cupcakesatemysoul since the very beginning! I do it all for you lovely people!

So, 20,000 views, here’s to the next 20,000!

And what better way to celebrate than a new blog post! And this one is deserving of such a special occassion I believe, for I had a stall at Camden Market…

(For those of you not familiar with Camden Market, it’s a rather popular market in good ol’ London town full of everything weird and wonderful, and now my cakes and cookies!)

So without further ado, I’ll let the pictures do the talking x


Posted in January 2010 | 1 Comment

Cloud Cookie


‘There is a cookie on a cloud, I like to go there in my sleep…’

‘It’s nice to eat and it’s soft to touch, I say, “Cookie, I love you very much.” –

Extracts taken from the bonus track version of ‘Castle on a Cloud’ from the Les Miserables musical… (I prefer the ‘Cookie on a Cloud’ version, thoughts?)

Posted in January 2010 | Leave a comment