A few weeks ago I uploaded a tutorial which showed you how to add shimmer and sparkle onto your cakes. In this tutorial I used pink diamond lustre dust mixed with dipping solution to create a metallic edible paint (If you haven’t seen it you can click here to watch that tutorial). So many of you have commented on the video asking for alternatives to the dipping solution and also alternatives that don’t include alcohol. Over the last few weeks I have been testing out different things you can use and things you can add to your lustre dust to create an edible paint and here are my top 6!
Watch the tutorial below ⇩
Edible metallic paint can be used on fondant covered cakes, royal icing; maybe you’ve added a royal icing drip onto your cake and you want to paint it gold. Or to add detail onto your buttercream cakes.
In the tutorial I had 5 options which used gold lustre dust and one option which was a pre-made paint. If you’re using lustre dust you can get them in so many different colours from so many different brands. You just need to make sure that the lustre dust you are using is 100% edible and not for decoration only. The lustre dust I’m using is the pure gold by Sweet Sticks, but you can use any lustre dust that you have.
So I know the question that I got was alternatives to dipping solution but I wanted to include dipping solution so all the different options could be compared. Also out of everything I tried dipping solution gave one of the best finishes if you are creating a metallic edible paint.
Dipping solution is 96% food grade ethanol (alcohol). You may also have see it in bottles called rejuvenator spirit. When alcohol is mixed with lustre dust as you apply the paint onto your cake the alcohol evaporates and leaves behind this really rich colour that has such a shimmer. It really looks like metal. With dipping solution it also returns back to the dust finish you started with, but dries onto the cake. Because it has this dust finish you can use a large fluffy brush to buff out any brush marks or get off any excess bits of dust.
With dipping solution because the alcohol content is so high that alcohol evaporates so quickly, meaning your paint will dry almost instantly and any residue that comes of if you touch it before its completely dry is just dust. Also I have never noticed it leave behind any kind of taste from the alcohol, so this was by far one of my favourite options and the method I myself use alot. I mean look at that shine!
Extracts are the small bottles of flavouring you might use to flavour your cakes, whether this is lemon, vanilla, peppermint etc. So if you didn’t know, alot of extracts contain ethanol (alcohol). When used in baking the alcohol evaporates, and the same happens when used to create an edible paint. Just like with the dipping solution.
For this example I used lemon extract, the Neilsen Massey lemon exact to be exact. On the back of the bottle the ingredients listed it to have 90% ethanol. Only 4% less than the dipping solution.
Different brands do differ slightly on the percentage of ethanol, but lemon extract usually has a very high percentage, similar to peppermint. Vanilla extract usually has less, around 35% from my research but its always worth checking the ingredients or check on the suppliers website. Now I have to mention that not all extracts contain alcohol. If on the back of the ingredients its not listed then it usually means they are using an oil or sugar syrup. I did test some of these out and if they don’t contain alcohol and you use them to create a paint it just didn’t dry.
You can see in the tutorial that using the lemon extract gave an identical finish to the dipping solution, it also dried extremely quickly. Dried with a dust finish and and also left behind a nice lemon smell.
Alcohol – Vodka
Vodka is what I used for years before I started using dipping solution to create my metallic paints and one of the suggestions I see people give alot. Vodka also is an alcohol based option and gives good results, but I didn’t find it was actually as good as the first two, so this is the third option in my list.
The vodka that I was using was a small bottle from the local supermarket by Absolute Vodka. On the front of the bottle it has 40% alcohol volume.
With the Vodka it create a nice smooth paint but didn’t have as thick of a coverage as the first 2 options. Now I was doing these on white fondant discs and one tip would be to colour your fondant first, maybe with a yellow. Some of that colour will then come through making it look less streaky, but for the purpose of comparison I used white. On white it would need a few coats.
I did notice with vodka that it took longer to dry than the other 2, around 10 minutes. It also wasn’t as shiny, it had a slightly duller finish to it, that didn’t catch the light as much and was a little lighter in colour to the first 2, but as a third option it created a really pretty gold finish.
One thing that was important was to find options that didn’t contain alcohol, as I had been asked quite a few times for suggestions. Lemon juice worked really well. It actually gave a similar finish to vodka, but with a small amount less shine.
The colour was a little lighter and it would definitely need a few coats. Also it dried without that dust finish which meant you couldn’t buff out any of the brush marks, so it did look a little more streaky than some of the others, but with a few coats this would not be as noticeable.
One of the downsides is it did take around 30 minutes to dry so if you are doing a few coats you will need to factor this in.
Now this is the option that really surprised me. If you want something to mix with your lustre dust that doesn’t contain alcohol, just regular water out of the tap!
Water actually created a thicker paint than the lemon juice but the finish was quite similar. It was easy to see brush marks so I made sure I took off any excess paint before leaving it to dry, which also took about 30 minutes.
It wasn’t as shimmery as the alcohol options and just like the lemon juice dried with more of a matt finish, but it definitely created a nice gold paint.
I would add that on buttercream cakes the options without alcohol don’t go on as well. For large areas they tend to separate slightly not giving a solid colour.
Pre-mixed edible paint
My 6th option you will see in the video is a pre-mixed edible paint. The paint is the Edibleart paint by Sweet Sticks in the same colour as the lustre dust. If you don’t want to be mixing your own paints this is a great option. This example contained 14% ethanol, but there are some brands of pre-made edible paint that don’t contain alcohol, just check the ingredients first if you want a non alcohol option.
This pre-mixed edible paint actually gave a similar effect to the vodka, it does stay wet for a little longer and felt slightly waxy when it was dry but gave a really pretty finish with alot of shine. I think this would also make it really easy if you just wanted to add small amounts of gold as its already pre-mixed. On large areas you may need 2 coats like the vodka.
So what should I use to make metallic edible paint?
Out of everything I tried these 6 options gave the best finish. I had read some people used vegetable oil, and I did test this out, but I found anything oil based didn’t dry. That oil always remained slightly wet and I like to know the paint has completely dried so you don’t get any finger marks. I also tried cocoa butter but found with lustre dust the finish was extremely waxy and very streaky. These are best with matt edible tints.
The 6 options did give slightly different effects but I really hope there is one in the list that you can use that gives you the finish you need. Also if you use something that I haven’t mentioned, let me know in the comments below.
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Tools I used
I have put a list below showing all the tools that I used throughout this video or if you would like to see all my favourite cake decorating tools just click here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/shop/cakesbylynz
SweetSticks Lustre – Pure Gold: https://tidd.ly/3zQaqHQ
Dipping Solution: https://amzn.to/3hEMyRH
Nielsen Massey Lemon Extract: https://amzn.to/3xtEojI
Renshaw White fondant: https://amzn.to/2Hvo1hK
Edibleart Pure Gold Paint by Sweet Sticks: https://prf.hn/l/rwNOyP4
Sugarflaire Pure Gold Lustre Dust: https://amzn.to/3vCTEtp
Happy Sprinkles Happy Sparkle: https://bit.ly/2SzI5FT (Use code HAPPYLYNZ10 for 10% off)
SweetStamp Fluffy Brushes: https://bit.ly/34hnvfL (Use code CAKESBYLYNZ for 10% off)
SweetStamp Frosting Set: https://bit.ly/35BSwvr (Use code CAKESBYLYNZ for 10% off)
~ Please note that some of links above may be affiliate links. If you click the link and purchase any item through that link, I will receive a small commission from the website but this does NOT add any additional costs to you. Thank you so much for supporting this blog x ~
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