Looking for a way to create silver coloring or other metallics on cakes? Look no further than edible pearl dust. Whether you’re looking for something glittery, or an all-out realistic metal finish, these cool little vials of powder will do the trick.
The key to painting pearl dust onto cake decorations is a hard surface. Fondant icing works best, along with gum paste decorations. Buttercream may be used if a very firm crust has formed, and in that case, I would not recommend going for the ultra-shiny metallic finish, as it involves adding liquid, and that can be the death of buttercream. A very careful dusting of the powder is about the best one could hope for in that case.
When using fondant, you have two choices: Dry Powder, or Liquid Metallic. Begin with a fondant surface that has rested long enough to be dry.
White fondant before metallic effect
If you brush dry powder on your fondant (as shown on the top strip of fondant in the example below), you will end up with a glittery finish featuring the color of your choice (I used silver here). You can see that the base fondant color still shows through when using this method.
To achieve the opaque metallic look featured on the bottom strip of fondant, mix a good amount of the pearl dust with a drop or two of lemon juice, vodka, or clear vanilla. Use your paint brush to apply the color to your decorations.
Above: Pearl Dust brushed on fondant Below: Pearl Dust Mixed with Lemon Juice
Adding food coloring to fondant is a simple, albeit messy, process. My first suggestion is to wear rubber gloves unless you’d like to end up with purple hands! My second suggestion is to use gel coloring instead of liquid food coloring. Fondant can become very sticky, and using a gel instead of a liquid helps to keep the fondant as solid as possible.
Coloring Fondant with Gel Icing Color
Kneading the Food Coloring into the Fondant
Fondant finished and ready for use
Begin by covering your workspace in powdered sugar. This will help keep the fondant from sticking to your work surface (and your hands). The next step is to add a small amount of gel color to the fondant. The easiest way to do this is to dip a toothpick into the color of your choice and then swipe the toothpick along the fondant. Less is more when you begin adding the color; you can always add more later if you desire a darker color, but it’s not always easy to “de-sticky” your fondant when it becomes too wet. Knead the fondant thoroughly until you have achieved the color you want.
Let the fondant rest for about an hour before using so that it will harden a bit, and you’re ready to go!
I’m working on a cake design that requires decorations — sparkly decorations. I was wondering what to use when I remembered flipping through a 1960s cookbook that included information about “rolling out” gumdrops. Time to experiment.
Turns out working with gumdrops is simple… albeit sticky. Very, very sticky.
Supplies You’ll Need
Assortment of gumdrops (or similar candies such as “spearmint leaves”)
Assortment of fondant or cookie cutters
Gumdrop leaves rolled out, sugar for coating surface.
Keep plenty of sugar nearby and sprinkle it on the gumdrops every few passes with the rolling pin. Roll out multiple gumdrops. Once you’ve got them somewhat flattened, you can overlap them, roll them, and join them together. If you end up with a visible seam that you don’t want, simply fold over the flattened gumdrops and re-flatten them.
Once the gumdrops are flattened to your satisfaction, use cookie or fondant cutters to cut out shapes.
Two-tone gumdrop heart.
You can even mix gumdrops to get new colors — the leaf shown above is a green, a yellow, and a white gumdrop rolled together, several times.
And, as the two-tone heart to the left shows, you can meld two (or more) contrasting colored gumdrops together to make cutouts of multiple colors.