Sugar cages are delicate, lacy sugar domes made of caramelized sugar. Their decorative effect can be impressive and elegant. Sugar cages can be made large enough to cover whole cakes, bombes, Bavarian creams, and other desserts, or small enough to decorate individual portions.
Bowls of the desired size can be used as molds for large cages. Ladles are usually used for small, single-portion cages. Lightly oil the bottom of the ladle or other mold so the sugar can be removed when it is hard.
Other shapes can be made by piping or drizzling the sugar onto a silicone mat or oiled work surface. To create fine, even lines of sugar, use a paper cone, as described in the formula procedure. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the heat. For a rougher or more casual look, dip a spoon in the sugar and drizzle it onto the mat. The caramel shape decorating the panna cotta dessert pictured was made this way.
Sugar spirals make elegant garnishes for some plated desserts. These are made using the following procedure.