Are you confused about the many types of dust available in the land of cake decorating? Petal dust, pearl dust, luster dust, sparkle dust, highlighter dust, etc. Let's discuss them in today's tip Thursday.
Cake decorating dust is a huge family of different powders used for cake decorating purposes. They are tasteless and do not enhance, improve or change the food in any way.
The ingredients in these dust change from brand to brand, and color to color. Some of the most common ingredients in many dust are Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide, Carmine, and Mica. Additionally, some contain Iron Blue or Chromium Oxide which is why it is important to check for brands that are FDA approved or Food grade.
Types of cake decorating dust
- Petal Dust - Used to color the petals of flowers hence the name petal dust. They are usually in matt finish to achieve a more realistic look. Petal dust can be added to luster or pearl dust to add color and sheen.
- Pearl Dust - Usually comes in white and gives a pearlescent finish to fondant or gum paste such as fondant pearls. You can add petal dust to petal dust to achieve a colored shiny finish.
- Luster Dust - Comes in different colors and has shimmer added to it. When applied they have a colored shiny sparkly appearance. It can be applied dry or dissolved with alcohol to obtain two different effects.
- Sparkle Dust – Similar to luster but the grains of shimmer are larger.
- Disco Dust – grains are larger than sparkle dust. Contains shimmer and glitter and is used to give a bolder sparkly glittery finish.
- Highlighter Dust – Gold, silver, and metallic are supposed to be used for decorative purposes only which means they are not to be consumed. Objects with highlighter dust are to be removed before serving. Mostly used dissolved in alcohol to obtain a paint-like finish.
- Edible glitter or fairy dust - is tiny flakes of shimmer that can be white or colored. Most of these are said to be edible because they are made from gelatin.
Note : Most dust is labeled as non-toxic and non-edible. This means if consumed they won’t harm you but they are not to be consumed. An item with this dust is to be removed from the cake before serving the cake.
Luster dust is most commonly used on top of cakes, cupcakes, or cookies. You can use it on a small part of the cake or color the whole cake to make a shiny appearance.
The luster is to be dusted on with a brush. In some cases, you mix it with alcohol and paint it over fondant or gum paste with a pastry or art brush. When dried the alcohol evaporates leaving the dust behind.
Edible glitter can be brushed directly on fresh buttercream. The moisture on the buttercream helps it stick. You can also brush it on fondant or gum paste with the use of piping gel, edible glue, or alcohol. Glitter can also be used on chocolate exactly the same way. These days you can also find edible metallic spray in an aerosol can that can be easily sprayed over your decoration. The disadvantage of spray is that it can go everywhere!
Not all luster dust is edible. Even though a brand says non-toxic it is not be consumed in large quantities. So, you must be very careful and read the label correctly. To be safe only buy FDA-approved or food-grade brands of edible dust.
Because luster dust is not edible often it may be better to use other decorating items such as sanding sugar, edible gold leaf, edible sprays, etc. Make sure these are FDA-approved and food-grade safe.
Most cake decorating stores, candy shops, pastry boutiques, or online shopping have this dust readily available for purchase. Make sure to read that these are FDA-approved before buying.
These can be stored at room temperature in a cool dark place in a cupboard away from sunlight. Do not keep them in the fridge as condensation can ruin them. A dark place away from sunlight will protect the color pigments of some colors making sure they last longer.