10 Tips to making a Stained Glass Cake
A stained glass cake has become a recent trend in cake decorating. It has been around for a long time and truly no one ever gets tired of seeing a gorgeous stained glass cake. I have made quite a few stained glass cakes so today I share my 10 tips for making a stained glass cake along with a brief how to. I hope you find it useful.
There are many ways to do a stained glass effect on cakes. Some do it with piping gel and some do it by painting. This one is done using the painted method using a brush and paint.
For the design
- You can draw the pattern freehand and then paint the black lines with a black marker.
- Trace the pattern on the cake, paint the design with colored edible paint mixed in alcohol or piping gel.
- Create an abstract design as you go.
- Airbrush the pattern on the cake.
For the borders
- You can either pipe the outline with black royal icing
- Use a black edible marker
- Or use a black gel food color with a paint brush.
Using piping gel
For this method, you trace the design on the cake, pipe the outline with black piping gel then fill in the patterns using the colored piping gel in piping bags. Not my favorite method as handling piping gel can be a messy job. Homemade piping gel recipe- 2 methods here
Using Black royal icing
Unless you are confident, I highly recommend you paint the design first then pipe with royal icing. Black color has a way of bleeding and sometimes the black royal icing can bleed into the colored icing when painting. If you choose to pipe the black royal icing first make sure the royal icing is completely dry before you paint the design. Black Royal icing recipe here
Using Gel food colors or luster dust colors.
My most preferred method as I have better control over the shades as how to paint. I can create a deep and light effect with one color just by the way you spread the paint. The colors dry faster too. This is usually done after you have painted the design so there is no problem with bleeding.
10 Tips for making a Stained Glass Cake
- Let the fondant covered cake dry overnight so you have a dry fondant cake as your canvas. Depending on the weather a chilled cake from the fridge can have bleeding issues due to condensation.
- Whether you choose to trace the pattern or free-hand plan the design first. Cleaning up mistakes especially with black can be a nightmare. If you must use a paper towel and vodka - see how to remove watermarks and stains on fondant
- Less is more with gel food colors so use only as much as needed. The effect of light passing through glass can be created with more liquid and less color.
- You can use water to mix with the gel colors but with some brands, water can create a shiny appearance while get colors dry out beautifully.
- If your piping with royal icing, make sure the royal icing is a medium consistency, not stiff consistency icing. A stiff consistency royal icing when dry breaks easily. When on the sides of the cake the dry royal icing can flake due to gravity.
- Let royal icing border dry completely before you paint the colored pattern to prevent bleeding.
- When using an edible maker ensure the fondant has had enough time to dry and use a very light touch or the tip of the pen can create holes in the fondant.
- When hand-painting with edible paint use a fine tip brush that has no stray hairs to create clean defined lines. Keep the strokes thin and dark or light and broad for a bold effect.
- Connecting the black lines in the design to create movement is the best way to get a dramatic stained glass effect.
- To create a light airy design with the stained glass effect aim for more white or light colors creating more open space.
How to create a stained glass cake
- Choose a design you have in mind or choose a random pattern if you are comfortable.
- Then choose the colors you want - prepare colors as explained above
- Trace the pattern on the cake or outline the design first.
- Start adding color using the methods explained above
- Add the black lines to your design using the methods explained above
- Finish the design with the decorations.
The Best tutorial - I learned from
Now I personally learned this technique in an online Craftsy class called Decorating in Three Dimensions by Maggie Austin. It's an amazing class packed with lots of information on how to do the Bas Relief cake I shared recently as well as this Stained Glass technique. She also shared how to make the flower sprays on both these cakes.
In her stained glass technique, she shows how to use a paintbrush and food gel colors as well as using the tissue paper and powder colors.
So if you buy this class you get to learn two very amazing techniques and a few variations on those too. Definitely worth every penny. Maggie is so talented and a cake designer that's known for her stained glass cakes. I truly loved learning from her. I have all of her classes on Craftsy and each and everyone is so packed with knowledge.
She shared great tips on how to make your design more attractive by simply using the black likes to make parts of the pattern more esthetic.