Achieving a good metallic finish is something that may arise more often than you might think on cakes. With the trend for mixed media, textured and contemporary cake tiers booming strong, a metallic texture is a fabulous addition to utilise and mix with other textures, and if you’re a novelty cake maker – well rust, buckles, tools, bags… need I say more?!
The versatility of metal cake textures
Metal cake textures work well on:
- Steampunk cakes
- Toolbox cakes
- Bag cakes
- Car cakes
- Illusion cakes
- Contemporary tiered wedding cakes
Top tip! Think less literally and more laterally with metal effects on cakes. While knowing how to create a good silver buckle can be useful on a bag cake, metal effects can add great character to other novelty cake designs as well as providing a whole other level of chic to tiered cakes.
How to create metal effects on cakes
By Zoe Burmester of Sugar Street Studios.
Watch the video tutorial below or jump to the guides:
This dented copper is an ancient method of strengthening the metal. It’s an easy effect to achieve and looks beautiful on a tiered cake complemented with florals or edible prints.
You will need
- Medium sized ball tool
- Flat brush
- Clean sponge (optional)
- Black sugarpaste
- Lustre dusts (Zoe uses Magic Colours Bronze)
Top tip! Edible metallic lustre dusts are essential for creating metal effects. Mix regular petal dusts with metallic ones to play with tone. If you own an airbrush machine there are a good range of metallic airbrush paints on the market – both Spectrum Flow and Magic Colours have a fabulous choice of metallic colours!
1. Start with a black sugarpaste base colour. If you’re planning on covering a whole cake in this effect, cover the cake and then texture once the cake has been covered in the sugarpaste.
2. Using a medium size ball tool, start creating round indents all over the sugarpaste. Push the ball tool in fairly deep to create a pronounced dip – if you prefer a subtler look then don’t press so deeply.
3. Mix up a copper tone of your choice with lustre dust and alcohol. Magic Colours bronze or Fractal Colours copper (slightly redder) would work well here. Make up quite a thick paint and using a flat brush, paint over your stippled sugarpaste.
4. If you want to make the effect a little more mottled, take a clean sponge, wet it and wring it out before sponging over the top of the copper colour. This will remove small blotches of copper to reveal a little black speckle underneath.
Zoe’s toolbox cake showing aged metal.
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The sugarpaste has been corrugated to show you an effect but you could use the same blend of colours (grey, silver and black pearl) for a lot of silver work. The addition of the black pearl helps to age the silver slightly which is useful if you are after a more worn, realistic tone to your metal.
You will need
- Plastic dowel rod
- Soft brush
- Small brush
- Black sugarpaste gel
- Lustre dusts – silver, black pearl or colours of choice
- Edible varnish spray
1. Pre colour your sugarpaste to a mid-tone grey by adding in a few drops of black gel. To create the ridges, press a plastic thin dowel into the paste at equal spaces along the length of the paste. If this were going round a tier of a cake you could do this vertically against the side of the cake.
2. With a soft brush, rub silver lustre dust up and down the ridges.
3. Finally, take another small brush and use the black pearl lustre to rub into the indentations to accentuate the ridge effect. You could also randomly add some extra black pearl on some of the raised parts of the sugarpaste to give a two-tone effect.
4. For extra shine, you could spray the whole area with a lacquer of edible varnish and this will make the metal pop even more, as well as set the dusts.
Top tip! It’s not just about lustre dusts… don’t forget the importance of texturing, too! New metal may be smooth and shiny but rusted, hammered or patinated metal is a lot more interesting visually.
Zoe’s rainbow cake with smooth metal.
Patina is a thin layer that variously forms on the surface of copper, bronze and similar metals through a process of oxidation. It can create the most stunning effects and its free form nature means there really is no right or wrong way to create it.
Top tip! If you search online for metal patination you'll see that you can choose all sorts of colours, or go abstract and choose a base colour of your own.
You will need
- Bristle brush
- Flat brush
- Soft brush
- Two shades of sugarpaste (Zoe uses Magic Colours jade and turquoise)
- Lustre dusts (Zoe uses gold and bronze mixed together)
- Petal dusts in your colour(s) of choice (optional)
1. Start by choosing two colour pastes (one main, the other as an accent). Next, loosely mix these two pastes together. The more you mix the more they will blend.
2. Roll out the paste until you have achieved a marble effect as shown. Take a clean (food use only) bristle brush and use this to randomly texture the paste.
3. Now you want to add the metallic top. Take a lustre dust of your choosing and make a weak wash with it by mixing in some alcohol. Randomly start applying this in blobs over the marbled paste, making sure there are still areas where the marble can be seen. With a thicker mix of your metallic paint (less alcohol, more dust colour) go back in with either a brush or clean toothbrush and start to stipple thicker areas of gold/copper colour on top of the metallic wash areas. Allow to dry in between layers and build up until you're happy with the pattern.
4. As an optional ‘ageing’ extra, you could dust over (once dry) with a little chocolate brown petal dust in areas.
Zoe’s cake with patina metal.
Now you know how to create spectacular metallic cake effects, explore the rest of our cake texture series, starting with fur cake textures!