Why I will never use edible liquid gold paint again

Purple and gold ribbon cake

Purple and gold ribbon cake

I created this cake for a 30th birthday. The client was someone who liked a bit of bling, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to use the edible gold paint I’d bought recently and had been itching to use. She was also not a girly kind of girl, so pastels and pale colours were out. She struck me as someone who would appreciate bold colours so I chose royal purple and gold.

I had quite a limited time scale (2 days) for this project, so I opted to use real ribbons instead of making them from fondant (FYI: Just so you know, in Australia we refer to sugarpaste as fondant, so that’s what I’ll be calling it from this point on). I’d done several cakes previously with fondant ribbons and bows and wanted to branch out and do something a bit different while still retaining the kind of “gift” look as the client quite liked it. Also, I didn’t have enough time to find the right paste colours to achieve a nice deep purple and proper shiny gold, and certainly didn’t have time to experiment with trying to achieve it. The safest option was to find ribbons in the exact colours I wanted. Thankfully, Cakes-4-U is relatively close to my location and they are a wonderful source of ribbons and other cake decorating needs. They had exactly the ribbons I needed.

The client wanted a carrot cake, so I made that then let it cool overnight. The next day I split the cake and filled it with delicious cream cheese icing, which was also spread around the top and sides of the cake. I then made the fondant, rolled it out and covered the cake. I let the fondant dry a little bit then measured the ribbons and placed them on the cake, measuring to make sure they were evenly placed, and used a little bit of edible glue to secure them.

I wanted to use white flower paste to make the detailing on the sides and paint them with the edible liquid gold paint. I find the fondant I make doesn’t eject so well from detailed cutters as it is very soft and tends to stretch out of shape easily. I rolled out the flower paste and cut out the “figure eights”, using paste ejectors to get them out of the cutter cleanly. I let them dry a little bit before attempting the painting.

Now this is where it started to go slightly wrong. Firstly, the edible gold paint was not quite the same colour as the gold ribbons. It had a kind of orange hue to it rather than a yellow gold. Not a huge disaster, though it was disappointing. Secondly, it was the dickens to use! It was very very gluggy and seemed to dry very quickly and form little solid clumps which were impossible to get out without leaving a messy hole where the clump had been. Very frustrating! I had to make several of the figure eights to get perfect looking ones.

The next annoying thing came when I went to clean my lovely sable paint brush. Perhaps naively, I went and ran it under running water from the tap. This made the gold paint completely solidify and cling to the hairs of my brush! It was impossible to get out with water! In the end I had to get a paper towel and literally scrape it off. Not too many of the brush hairs came out fortunately.

All very frustrating. Fortunately, the client loved the cake so it was worth the pain. However I have learned a valuable lesson – stay away from edible liquid gold paint! I’ll definitely be using lustre powder with a bit of water from now on (it comes in a variety of shades of gold too!).

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7 Responses to “Why I will never use edible liquid gold paint again”

  1. Zegemtefs says:

    hi. great article!

  2. Lori says:

    Hi there, love your blog!
    You use alcohol to clean up edible gold paint, it is not water soluble. Methylated spirits works too. Hope it is not too late for your sable brush.

  3. thank you very nice article and idea

  4. jade says:

    Hi! I am doing a video shoot whereby a liquid gold needs to be able to stream over/onto a woman’s pregnant belly. I tried using non toxic gold body paint, but it was disappointing in that ir looked more matte bronze, not metallic gold, and also the texture was muddy and clumpy not fluid.
    So as I need to use a chemical, lead free substance on her skin, I am now thinking of using an edible gold of some kind. So far it all seems very expensive and specialised as flakes or foils for desserts.
    I’d like to know what this ‘lustre powder’ you mention here, is and where I can source it in Australia?
    I think mixing it with oil instead of water may enhance it’s shiney glistening qualities…and perhaps bring out the actual gold colour more?
    Any help/advice here would be nice!

    • Hi Jade,
      You can buy the lustre powder from cake decorating supply shops. It is non toxic and edible. I usually mix it with a tiny amount of clear alcohol like vodka to use it as paint. It often comes in small jars of 2g – 15g and you’d have to use a LOT of it to make it pourable. Something I would suggest trying instead is some edible gold airbrush colour, I like the Lucks brand. It’s already liquid and shiny and comes in bottles of 113g or more. These are also available from cake decorating supply shops in Oz. Hope this helps!
      Charmayne from Delicious Cake Design

  5. LTC miner says:

    HAHA 😀 very funny and cool website.

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