Chemicals on Cupcakes: Isomalt

Chemical Structure of Isomalt (

Ok, ok... So the word Isomalt may sound scarier than what the substance actually is...  Isomalt is simply a form of sugar containing alcohol that is commonly used in sugar art and candy making. It is also known as an artifical sweetener and is said to be half as sweet as regular sugar and contain only 2 calories per gram. Click here  to read more about isomalt.

Nevertheless, Isomalt is reasonably available in two forms 1) Crystalline (looks like granulated sugar) or 2) Sticks ( the crystals are melted and sometimes colored and molded into sticks), which I used.

The good thing about the Isomalt sticks are that they are easier to use and store (you won't get it mixed up with sugar, salt or the like lol). Another plus is that you can simply put the stick in a ceramic mug and "stick" it in the microwave for 10 seconds and it melts! I used the clear sticks along with regular food coloring to make various colored gems, with the help of a mold of course...

Melting and dying Isomalt

Isomalt poured into molds and stretch into  sugar wire

Using a spoon, I stirred a few drops of the food coloring into the melted Isomalt and drizzled it into the molds.

Then, I made a discovery! As the streams of Isomalt, running off of the spoon, cooled and I pulled at it, I ended up with what I call Sugar Wire (pictured on the right above the  gems). (I haven't figured it out yet, but I'm sure I can use that effect on another decorating project.) Forming this Sugar Wire, took me back to making polymers in Organic Chemistry...

Anyway... The gems took about a minute to dry. I greased my hands with cooking oil to remove them as Isomalt dissolves quickly in water; a plus as cleaning up is a breeze!  I used the gems I made to adorn a Royal Icing birthday sign I piped. (see picture below)

Isomalt jewels placed on royal icing.
I was so anxious to use this decoration that I didn't allow the Royal Icing to dry long enough and the sign cracked as I peeled it off of the parchment paper :(   But I know what to do for the next time! :D


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