Rice crispy treats are a great medium for edible sculpting since they are pliable yet hold their shape. Plus, they are actually tasty to consume rather than most sugar-clay fondants and gum paste. Marshmallow crispy treats can be sculpted into animals, shapes, characters, flowers, symbols and even wording. They can then be covered with a colorful edible fondant, marzipan or gum paste layer to completely hide the treat underneath. Using rice crispy treats makes sculpting large items for cakes and other confections possible without relying on solid edible modeling clay.
Pour your hot rice crispy treat batter into a relatively tall pan so as to start with as thick a block as possible to allow easy carving. Let treats cool before sculpting.
Brainstorm ideas. What you sculpt is completely up to your imagination and artistic ability. Start with easy shapes to sculpt and work up complexity as you gain experience. Easy shapes such as a teddy bear, flower, tree, simple humans, or a cat are great starting projects. However, your sculpture should fit the theme of your project. If it is for a nautical themed cake, sculpt a mermaid or sea star. Keep the image of your intended creation in your mind during the whole process.
Start sculpting. If you are skilled with carving, use a small sharp knife to carve your creation out of one solid block, using the warmth of your hands and pressure to round out any areas.
Mold small pieces using your hands. If you are not skilled or comfortable enough to gently carve away at the rice crispy block, mold individual pieces with your hands and connect them together. Cover your hands in a light layer of flour or powdered sugar and cut up the treats into portions as if they are modeling clay. Sculpt by pressing and pulling the treat into whatever piece you are working on, such as a head, a body, a leg, petal, or arm. The more compact you make the treat (squeeze hard) the better shape it will keep. Connect the pieces together using toothpicks. Cut the toothpicks if you need shorter lengths.
Let the molded treat shapes dry for at least an hour before covering them with a candy cover. Purchase or hand-make a candy clay cover such as fondant, gum paste or marzipan. Refer to the Resources section below for recipes. Portion the fondant (paste or marzipan) into small sections based on the amount of variant colors needed for your sculpture. Color each portion with liquid or powder food dye.
Cover the sculpture in a thin layer of buttercream or royal icing to allow the fondant to stick to the crispy treats. Without a stick sweet layer, the fondant will fall off.
Roll it out to ¼ inch thin and drape it over the sculpture covered in buttercream or icing. Use your hands to smooth it out and press into the glue. Use small scissors to trim and excess and smooth the edges out with your fingers. Like modeling regular clay, the process is completely hands-on.
Paint small details onto the fondant if desired with a small pastry brush (or just a paint brush that hasn't been used for paint) dipped in food dye. Allow the sculptures to dry before placing them on the cake or serving tray.