A very light and dry sugar coral that can be used as a filler or background material for many cake decorating purposes. This recipe is a simple microwaved technique which turns a basic pastillage piece in to dry sugar foam-like coral that increases the original piece of pastillage by 10 times it’s volume.

There is no better way to create eatable clouds, rocks, coral, trees and shrubs for your cakes. By chopping (maybe with scissors) and breaking the coral in different sizes, they can be joined (with royal icing or chocolate) to make larger arrangements. One of the great things with sugar coral is that you can mix color into the pastillage before microwaving it.

This idea was actually founded and developed by Chef Yener by coincidence. The original method of rock sugar is very old and tedious. Caster sugar has to be boiled with some water to a certain degree and then royal icing added, which caused bubbling and sudden crystallization. This method often ended up with failure and even if done properly, the result was too brittle (breaks and powderizes too easily and makes it difficult to work with) and slightly brownish in color (the microwaved method stays nice and white).

We hope the recipe works out for you and we would love to hear your comments below.


The weights in the recipe table below will yield the following 'weight per unit' and 'number of units'. If you would like to change the recipe to cater to a different 'weight per unit' and/or 'number of units', you can use the Recipe Calculator Tool below the ingredients table.
Weight Per Unit: 750
Number of Units: 1
A 500 2.1 cups Pastillage Recipe
B 250 1.1 cup Icing Sugar Mixture Icing sugar mixture, also known as confectioners' sugar or powdered sugar, is pulverised granulated sugar crushed together with a small amount (about three percent) of cornflour. This icing sugar is great to use when making icing for kids' birthday cakes or dusting sweet treats.

Recipe Calculator Tool

Using this tool, you can alter this recipe for your own requirements. Use the two fields below to generate new weights for the ingredients above.

STEP 1. Enter your Custom Weight Per Unit
The 'Custom Weight Per Unit' is already loaded with the weight per unit for this recipe but can be changed if required. If all you wish to do is change the number of units (or servings), just leave the current weight per unit.

STEP 2. Enter your Custom Number of Units
This is the number of units (or servings) you want this recipe to yield.

STEP 3. Click Calculate
The new weights for your adjusted recipe will be displayed in the table above.

Custom Weight Per Unit (grams) Custom Number of Units


1 MEASURE Weigh all the ingredients.
2 MICROWAVE Microwave the pastillage for 30 seconds to soften it. Warm
3 MIX Mix 2/3 (two thirds) of the icing sugar with the pastillage. Harder pastillage
4 MICROWAVE Microwave the pastillage for another 30 seconds to soften it. Softer pastillage
5 MIX Mix the remaining icing sugar with the pastillage. Harder pastillage
6 PORTION Portion the pastillage into 100g pieces. Golf ball size pieces
7 PLACE Line the inside of a coffee cup with grease proof paper and place one ball of pastillage into the mug
8 MICROWAVE The fun part! Put the cup into a microwave for 50 to 60 seconds and watch it grow. Foamy and very hot
9 STORE After the sugar coral has cooled down, it will be hard and brittle. Remove it from the mug, peel the grease proof paper and store in a plastic container. Your microwaved sugar coral is ready to use for decorating :)

Important Notes

  • When heating up the pastillage in the microwave to soften it, make sure you do not just grab it and start kneading. Sometimes some parts of the pastillage will be hotter than other parts so if you just check the surface and think its ok, and start kneading it, you may burn yourself with hotter parts in the middle. If it is too hot, either wait a little bit, or try to mix it with a wooden spoon or palette knife on the table till it cools down. Then proceed to knead it like normal.
  • You do not need to make a whole container of sugar coral if you do not need it right away. You can prepare the 100g pieces and store them in an air tight container till you decide to use them later on.
  • If your coral turns out a little brownish in color, it is probably because you are heating it up for too long. Different microwaves have different strengths so you may need to do some trial and error.
  • If you try to use pieces larger than 100g, the expanding foam may collapse before the crystallization takes place. In this case you may increase the microwave time, for example 200g for 100 seconds or 300g for 150 seconds. We recommend 100g as an optimum amount.


  1. Anika Bhatia says:

    I tried making the coral but my pastillage keeps deflating. I see it puff up in the microwave but either it deflates the moment I take it out or it deflates while still in the microwave after it puffed. I have tried several different time increments. Is it possible it’s the pastillage itself? It’s possible my batch didn’t come out right. Is there any troubleshooting to know when exactly I should take it out of the microwave? Thank you!

    1. Serdar Yener says:

      2 reason. One of these or both
      1. not enough additional icing sugar
      2. not long enough microwave

  2. Deirdre Kettle says:

    will have to try this great effect also love the other tutorial for fillers great ideas dont think even I could mess them up not being a natural artist (cant even draw a straight line lol) your tutorials are giving me some ideas on how to decorate when your not naturally artistic

  3. Adrian Gorman says:

    Hi Chef Serdar,
    I made your coral/clouds using your pastillage recipe, and changed the coral ingredients to 500 weight with your calculator. At . There seemed to be a lot of icing sugar to add to the pastillage (333g pastillage/167g icing sugar), but I continued adding the sugar in 3 parts and warming in the microwave after each. Eventually it all incorporated into the paste – The split into 5 pieces (100g) and microwaved for about 50 seconds each one. The first 3 turned out perfect, but the last 2 just deflated and were not not useable. – I guess I should have given more time ?
    Thank you for this recipe and method – It is so good.

    1. Serdar Yener says:

      You have to make sure that you do not open the microwave to check in between. Yes, it looks like you need to microwave longer.

  4. unique1 says:

    would you colour the pastillage before making coral or is it ok to colour it after with airbrush?
    Thank you

    1. Serdar Yener says:

      Before of course. You can air brush a little for some shading. Too much airbrush for deeper tone will cause some melting. Thanks

  5. Finita says:

    Hi,how much of icing sugar did you put into the pastillaje to make a rock,because I did 50% and dindt grow up to much,thanks.

  6. Barbara Wagner says:

    Can Sugar Coral be carved into ‘special’ shapes like vehicle tires/wheels, or must it only be broken into pieces?

    1. Serdar Yener says:

      It is very brittle. It can only be used as irregular broken pieces. thanks

  7. peggy Medas says:

    I will be practically trying this and already mentally working out the many things that can also be done with same i’m already excited ( in my minds eye I already see coral reefs,mountains,jagged edged stones ect).Thanks for sharing you are such a teacher.

  8. Debbie Meier says:

    It would be great if your Classes and website did things in United States information. Meaning pounds and ounces for weight. Its very confusing this way….or made it easier for us to figure this out. I love your work; and would love to try this recipe but I am lost with the measurements.

    1. Holly Zorn says:

      Hi Debbie,
      Don’t get discouraged, buy yourself a kitchen scale and make the recipes using the measurements provided. You will get used to making it with the provided measurements and find that it actually works better than our cups and ounces. I too live in the United States, and I encourage you to buy that kitchen scale and give it a shot. You’ll never go back to cups and ounces and will begin using grams. It is a FAR more ACCURATE way to measure and you’ll find your recipes coming out better than ever before! Give it a try, and come back and let us know how it’s working! Everyone will provide assistance it needed! Good luck! You can do it, and you’ll love the results in your baking!

      1. Serdar Yener says:

        I totally agree with this. Thanks, Holly, almost 50 years I deal with recipes and use Excel for multiplications. I use gram for absolutely everything even pinch of salt has a number in my spreadsheet like 0.001 means 1 g. Can you imagine if I start from a small recipe says 1.5 ts and I want to make 10 times larger recipe? Potential problem knocking the door.

  9. nadisha hosein says:

    this one really didn’t work for me. i didn’t see it grow. when it came out of the microwave, it was bubbling, but then it shrank. any suggestions? i used parchment paper in the coffee mug. dont know if that make a difference.

    1. Serdar Yener says:

      try adding more icing sugar in to recipe before microwave.

  10. Rachelle Slee says:

    How long does the coral last for once it’s completely made?

    1. Serdar Yener says:

      At least a year i would say. I never seen my corals get mouldy.

  11. Angie Dewey says:

    This sounds like fun and I am looking forward to trying it!! Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Serkan Yener says:

      Great! Please let us know how it goes and if you have any problems. Thanks 🙂

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