Thirty years ago, Ray Esmany took her passion for all things chocolate and created a thriving business selling cake decorations. Today, in addition to fine powdered icings, pearlescent ‘dusts’ and confectioner’s ‘diamonds’, Crystal Candy ( stocks an extensive range of innovative silicone icing moulds, allowing the home baker to create everything from cupcakes draped in cute fondant ‘doilies’ to a three-tiered ‘lace’-adorned work of edible art.

Here, Esmany, whose Crystal Candy product collection will be on show at Decorex Joburg over the Women’s Day long weekend, from 6th to 10th August, offers inspired ideas with icing, easy enough for even the most ham-handed of bakers to achieve.

  1. Piped dreams

A simple piping bag and butter-cream icing in an assortment of pretty colours is all it takes to create this eye-catching cake. Use a large star nozzle and fill the bag no more than two thirds with icing. Hold the bag vertically with the nozzle close to the cake’s surface, squeeze a little icing out to make a dot of the desired size, stop squeezing, push down and then draw up sharply. Repeat, alternating colours, to cover the entire surface of the cake, top and sides. 

  1. Rosy ruffles

The key to ruffling is to ice the cake first, so that the ‘ruffled’ decoration has something to adhere to when applied. To create the ruffle design, use a petal-tip piping tube, which is shaped like a teardrop with one end wider than the other. Hold the bag so that the wider part of the tip is against the cake and the thinner part points away from it.

Squeeze gently, in a backwards and forwards motion, up the side of the cake, turning it as you go until the entire surface is covered.

  1. Rainbowlicious

This kaleidoscopically colourful masterpiece can’t help but brighten one’s day. The secret to the getting an even coating of hundreds-and-thousands is to carefully roll the iced cake through a large tray of the sprinkles instead of trying to apply them by hand. Start by applying a buttercream icing to the sides of the cake only, leaving the top un-iced so that you can support the cake during rolling on either side with your hands. It’s also a good idea to chill the iced cake in the freezer for five minutes before applying the sprinkles in order to ensure they stick properly. 

  1. Sweetie dreams

Kit-Kat fingers and a mountain of M&Ms or Smarties are undoubtedly the makings of sweet heaven. Ice the cake on the top and sides (chocolate icing looks best as a backdrop) in order to provide a good ‘grip’ for the chocolate soldiers and colourful candies. For a grown-up version of this cake, replace the bright sweetie topping with chocolate Maltesers or Whispers, or forgo the sweet aisle altogether and choose sliced strawberries or glacé cherries (particularly moreish on a cheesecake).

  1. Bon appétit

Macarons are so on trend, darling, and what better addition to a velvety chocolate ganache than the crisp meringue texture and subtle almond flavour of these irresistible French morsels? Make your ganache by melting equals parts chocolate in very warm cream, stirring until the two blend to form a rich, satiny glaze. Pour the warm (but not hot!) ganache over your sponge cake and allow it to settle into a smooth finish. Before it starts to cool and stiffen, stick your carefully halved macarons to the ganache, and voilà… two cravings taken care of in one!

For more inspired ideas, not to mention the chance to view the Crystal Candy range of silicone icing moulds, be sure to visit Decorex Joburg, Gauteng’s biggest annual décor and design event, which takes place at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand. Tickets on sale at

Decorex Joburg details:

Dates: 6-10 August 2015

Public Access:

6th August: 1pm-6pm

7th to 10th August: 10am-6pm

Ticket prices: R100 for adults; R85 for pensioners and scholars; R15 for kids under 12

Trade Access:

Trade-only preview morning: 6th August 10am-1pm

Trade focused days: 6th and 7th August

To register as trade or to find out more about the trade programme visit

Where: Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand

Ticket prices: R100 for adults, R85 for students/pensioners, R75 for trade/exhibitors


Piped dreams

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Decorex Joburg forms part of the Decorex SA portfolio and is owned by the Thebe Reed Exhibitions.

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