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Royal Kona Coffee

4 Different Ways To Pearlize Cakes

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The pearlized effect is very popular today, especially on wedding cakes where they add a subtle touch of shimmer to an otherwise monochromatic white cake making it spectacular. Shimmer dust or luster dust isn’t just for weddings; it’s a pretty effect that makes a cake look more feminine or delicate.  I also use the effect to tone down cakes that come out too bright. When the colors don’t quite come together, the shimmer has a way of pulling everything  together and giving the cake the nice effect of shine. Here are 4 different ways you can do this using edible luster dust:

1. Airbrushing

You can mix pearl luster dust with vodka and pour it into the airbrush nozzle. Then press down on the trigger, move the airbrush back and forth (left to right and right to left), turning the cake as you go. The key is not to spray in one place too long. You can always take another pass at an area you want to hit again. If you don’t own an airbrush machine, pearl luster spray comes in cans. You can find it in your local craft store. You just spray lightly while turning the cake. When spraying, you’ll want to have a cardboard box large enough to fit the cake in to prevent the spray from getting all over the kitchen. You can cut off one side and set the cake in on a lazy susan.

cake decorating powder

2. Brush on Powder

Peal luster dust is sold in small and large containers. Once you fall in love with it, you’ll end up wanting the larger containers. You can buy a brush that contains a compartment to hold the luster dust, but any medium size soft bristle brush will do. You simply brush it across the surface of the fondant or gum paste area. It works as a great alternative to cornstarch when you want to prevent the fondant or gum paste from drying out.

3. Paint On

When you mix the luster dust with either vodka or lemon extract, you can apply it directly to decorations such as butter cream, dried royal icing or areas of fondant and gum paste. The reason you use an alcohol-based liquid it to ensure quick drying. Mediums such as fondant and gum paste will become sticky if you mix the luster dust with water.

The effect of brushing the luster dust on this way is much more intense. Rather than a subtle sheen, the area will undoubtedly appear like a pearl.

4. Luster Icing Sheets

The great thing about luster icing sheets is that you can combine a color you want and the luster effect with just one step. If applying them to the surface of the cake, you would cut them to size and apply a light coating of piping gel, when applying to fondant. When applying to butter cream, they will stick if the butter cream is not hardened. But, you can also cut these sheets with punches, scissors, cookie cutters, die cutters or an electronic cutting machine to incorporate decorations on the cake that are pearlized.

If you sell cakes, you’ll find that your customers will ask for cakes finished with luster dust once they see how pretty they look. Pearlizing your cakes is just one extra, quick step that creates a big impact.

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Theresa Happe is a cake decorator and author of two cake decorating websites, and



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