For Margaret Braun, sugar isn’t just a food—it’s an artistic medium like porcelain. Which is why she’s just at home decorating elaborate cakes for a royal wedding—and writing about it all in her book, Cakewalk—as she is designing 2,000 cups for the Museum of Art and Design, made completely out of the sweet stuff. Her aesthetic takes late Renaissance and Rococo style and brings it on a journey to a fantastical novel that we want to live in. Frankly, we’re obsessed.

Here’s Braun’s sugar magic at work. She starts by mixing sugar with gum tragacanth into a gum-paste-like substance called pastillage, which is pliable to work with but sets firm like clay. She molds, twirls, and pipes her sugar paste into place, lets it set, then paints it with watercolors. The result? Something that’s structural but also edible, blurring the line between food and art to nilch. Watch the video above to see how she does it, then take a look at some our other favorite geniuses turning sugar into artwork—and vice versa.

margaret braun sugar sculpture