By Amelia Allonsy

Sugar pearls can offer the finishing touch to turn a plain frosted cake into an elegant masterpiece. They can be applied directly to fresh buttercream frosting, hardened buttercream frosting and fondant-covered cakes. You can simply press them into fresh buttercream frosting, which acts as a glue as it dries, but hardened frosting and fondant cakes require an edible glue to hold them on the cake. Edible pearls are often made of hardened fondant, or a combination of ingredients including sugars, starches, syrup and dextrose. They come in a range of colors, sometimes with a shiny pearl finish.

Sugar pearls
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Sugar pearls and their attachment glue are completely edible.

Step 1

Make small indentations in the cake with a small fondant ball tool or the tip of a paintbrush to mark the location for each pearl. The indentations also help hold the pearls in place.

Step 2

Place your choice of edible glue in a wide shallow bowl or plate. For example, you can add water to a small ball of gumpaste a few drops at a time, blending the water to thin the gumpaste from dough to edible glue. Other edible glue options include tylose glue and thick royal icing. With tylose powder, add water a few drops at a time until you achieve a glue-like consistency. Royal icing is made by mixing water with powdered sugar and meringue powder to a stiff consistency.

Step 3

Pick up the first pearl with a pair of bent-tip tweezers, squeezing the tweezers firmly enough to hold the pearl but lightly enough to avoid crushing it. Grasp the upper two-thirds of the pearl, leaving the bottom third untouched.

Step 4

Dip the pearl into the edible glue. You don't need to completely cover the bottom third of the pearl; a small drop of glue is sufficient.

Step 5

Press the pearl gently against the cake inside the indentation. Small pearls should stick right away, but larger pearls might need to be held in position for about a minute until the glue sets, especially if applied to the sides of a cake. Release the tweezers. Repeat this process with the remaining pearls.