A beach themed cake for any occasion looks more realistic with seashell decorations that come out remarkably similar to real seashells. Seashell candy molds allow you to achieve the veining and color marbling of seashells you might collect while strolling the beach. Seashell decorations can be made with fondant or melted candy coating, though the process differs slightly with each medium. Make the seashell decorations up to a few days before assembling the cake to allow sufficient time for setting and drying, and to save time on the main cake-decorating day.
Things You'll Need
- Double boiler
- Candy coating chips
- Decorating bag
- Seashell candy mold
- Gel food coloring
- Seashell fondant/gum paste mold
- Bench scraper
- Luster dust
- Vodka (optional)
Candy Coating Seashells
Melt the dominant color candy coating chips in a double boiler until smooth. Remove the melted candy coating from the heat.
Chop the secondary color candy coating chips into small pieces. The amount of chips depends on how much of the color you want to show through -- usually about 12 chips of the secondary color for moderate marbleizing of a standard 12-ounce bag of candy coating chips in the dominant color. To make white seashells with minimal streaking of brown color, for example, try a 12-ounce bag of white chocolate candy coating and six to eight chocolate candy coating chips. For orange seashells with moderate white marbling, use 12 white chocolate candy coating chips for a 12-ounce bag of orange candy coating.
Fold the secondary color chips into the main melted candy coating, but do not stir at all. Allow about 5 minutes for the chopped candy to melt; then stir gently and minimally to marbleize the dominant color without completely blending the two colors.
Scoop the marbleized candy coating into a decorating bag. Cut the tip from the bag to make a 1/4-inch opening.
Squeeze the candy coating into the seashell candy molds, filling each mold completely. Repeat this with a second tray if you're making three-dimensional seashells.
Lift the seashell mold tray about 6 inches off the work surface and drop it. Repeat two or three times to remove any air bubbles in the candy coating so it fills in the molds without any air pockets.
Place the tray in the refrigerator or leave it on the counter until the candy is completely hard.
Twist the candy mold tray gently to pop the seashell decorations out of the molds. This action is similar to twisting an ice tray to remove ice cubes. Alternatively, flip the mold tray upside down and press down on each mold to pop out the seashells. For three-dimensional seashell decorations, align the corresponding shell pieces from the two trays, and press the flat sides together. If the heat from your fingertips doesn't soften the candy enough to fuse the two pieces, leave them at room temperature for a few minutes and try again. If this still doesn't work, press one of the pieces against the side of a glass filled with hot water to melt the surface slightly.
Tint fondant two to three different coordinating colors with gel food coloring. You might try white, tan and brown, or white, orange and pink. Use real seashells for color inspiration. Add a drop of food coloring with a toothpick, and knead the fondant until the color is thoroughly incorporated.
Knead the two or three pieces of colored fondant together to create a marbled effect. Do not knead too much, or you'll blend the colors without much marbling.
Press the fondant firmly into the seashell molds. Press down with your fingers across each entire mold to make sure the fondant fills in all the space. You can use a special fondant and gum paste seashell mold, if desired, but a seashell candy mold also works well.
Drag a bench scraper tool across the top of the mold tray to scrape off any excess fondant so the decorations have completely flat backs.
Pop the fondant seashell decorations out of the tray. Leave them out uncovered at room temperature to set and dry. Store in an air-tight container when the surface is completely dry.
Brush each finished seashell with luster dust so they sparkle in a way similar to sand sparkling on a real seashell. Luster dust can be applied dry, but try the vodka technique if you want a thin, even coat. Mix luster dust with a few drops of vodka or clear grain alcohol to create a wet paint. Coat the fondant seashells with the luster dust paint. The alcohol evaporates quickly, leaving the luster dust on the fondant.
Tips & Warnings
- Unlike candy coating seashells, fondant shells don't require a resting period before you remove them from the molds.
- If a seashell tears while you're removing it from the mold, simply press it back into the mold to reshape it.
- For three-dimensional fondant seashells, make the seashells in the two corresponding seashell mold trays. Pipe a small amount of royal icing "glue" on one of the corresponding pieces, and press the two pieces together.
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