You can achieve a metallic effect on cakes such as silver, gold, by using edible luster dust. These add a fantastic sheen to your sugar work, chocolate, cookies and more. In addition, they are easy to use and come in edible as well as non-edible mediums. This post will explain how you can use these luster dust products, as well as give you tips for best results.
The availability of edible metallic dust has created a big demand for cake with metallic effects. In fact, you can brush luster dust can be directly on to cakes or fondant cut outs. And, you also can brush it on the whole cake or just parts of the cake. As you can see in the photo below, the top tier on this cake is covered in gold while the white cake has pieces of silver added to it.
How does metallic dust look like?
Metallic dust now comes not just in powder but also in liquid form. Often we mix a metallic powder with alcohol, and then brush it on a cake.
How to use metallic dust - to create a metallic effect on cakes (pin)
There are many many ways to use metallic dust. And, the most common methods are to dilute it with alcohol or apply it dry directly on the cake.
For example - on this cake, I dry brushed the pieces before I added them to the cake.
On this cake, I hand-painted the pieces with gold metallic dust mixed in vodka - The purpose of alcohol is to evaporate quickly without making the fondant soft; leaving only the metallic powder for a smooth finish. If you cannot use vodka you can also use lemon extract or oil.
Non-alcoholic metallic effect on Cakes
If you are unable to use alcohol with your metallic dust you can still create a metallic effect on your cakes just by using oil instead. Try using a non-flavored oil.
Canola oil has no flavor so it will not affect the flavor of your cake. The disadvantage of using oil over alcohol is that when the alcohol evaporates it leaves a dry metallic finish but oil does not dry so the metallic effect is always shiny and wet.
The other obvious disadvantage of course is that oil has a shinny effect while alcohol evaporates leaving a powder / dry finish. The oil says tacky so I usually prefer to do it at the end, when I know I'm not going to touch or mess with it.
What color fondant is best used for metallic effect
Ideally, you can use any color fondant, however, if you use a darker shade of fondant the metallic effect will be more visible as compared to a lighter shade of fondant. See how I made this Gum Paste Crown/Tiara without any molds.
Important Note to always remember about metallic effect on cakes
Not all brands of luster dust are FDA approved or Food Grade.
Try to only buy the FDA approved/Food Grade. Some brands state non-toxic, not to be consumed. These can still be used but these decorations are meant to be removed from the cake before serving.
Edible gold / silver leaf
An Alternate way to obtain a metallic effect on cake is to apply edible gold or silver leaf. These are food safe and come in flakes or sheets.
The Sheets are tricky to use. It’s best to purchase these on acetate backing as it makes it easier to use.
An important point to know it that due to the nature of these leaves which stick to almost anything and everything; it is almost impossible to achieve a smooth finish like you can with luster dust.
Important Note: Not all brands of Luster Dust are FDA approved or Food Grade. Try to only buy the FDA approved/Food Grade. Some brands state non-toxic, not to be consumed. These can still be used but these decorations are meant to be removed from the cake before serving.
An important point to note about edible gold sheets
It is important to buy these from a food supply store as you do get non-edible gold and silver leaf sheets that are used for arts and craft purposes. Due to cost it is not very often that you get people who opt for the silver or gold leaf cakes.
Metallic Silver or Gold with edible luster dust – these add a fantastic sheen to your sugar work, chocolate, cookies and more.
- These can be found in powder or liquid form.
My personal preference is the liquid Airbrush colors.
- Luster dust can be directly brushed dry or added to alcohol then painted on. Both provide a different but fantastic effect.
- The purpose of alcohol is to evaporate quickly without making the fondant soft; leaving only the metallic powder for a smooth finish.
- These can be applied to any color including black and white. The base color will deepen the metallic effect. I personally like to add a similar base color.
For example - I often paint metallic Silver on grey fondant and metallic gold on yellow fondant.
Always inform your customers
It is very very important that you inform your customers if you use a non-FDA approved metallic dust on their cakes. It is your professional duty to inform the customer that these items must be taken off the cake before the cake is served. Often we tend to forget or skip these details afraid that the customer may opt out of using metallic dust that it is important to remember that we as professionals must give our customers the right information and inform them about it. It is a tough choice especially when we want the cake to look as real as possible sometimes.