Wonderful Watercolour Cake Tutorial

Image credit: Image: ©Satu nape from Fotograf Satu AB. Cake made by Lisa Lundqvist-Obing from Sockerrus

Turn your cake into a masterpiece by giving it a glorious watercolour painting effect. It not only looks fabulous, but achievable too.

Wonderful Watercolour Cake 

You will need For the cake
  • 3 x 25cm (10in) round sponges
  • 3 x 15cm (6in) round sponges
  • buttercream
  • filling of your choice
To decorate
  • white sugarpaste
  • teal, purple and pink lustre dust or food colouring
  • dark pink flower paste
  • clear alcohol, lemon juice or vanilla extract
  • royal icing
  • wired flower centre
  • florist tape
  • florist wire
  • 15cm (6in) and 25cm (10in) cake boards
  • cake smoothers
  • dowels
  • rolling pin
  • palette knife
  • pieces of sponge
  • variety of paintbrushes with different bristles
  • peony cutter
  • impression mould
  • foam pad
  • ball tool
  • cocktail stick
  • paint palette


  1. Start by levelling the tops of all the cakes until they’re flat. Put one 25cm (10in) sponge on the same size cake board, cover with a layer of buttercream and filling, then add another sponge on top. Repeat with the third layer, crumb coat the whole cake with buttercream, then place in the fridge to firm up. Repeat with the 15cm (6in) cake and cake board.
  2. Once the cakes are firm, roll out the white sugarpaste on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to around 5mm (¼in). Using the rolling pin, lift the sugarpaste and use to cover the 25cm (10in) cake. Use the icing smoothers to get a smooth finish. Remove excess. Repeat for the 15cm (6in) cake.
  3. Place the 25cm (10in) cake on a cake stand or drum, then dowel with five dowels. Spread the centre of the cake with a little royal icing and place the top layer on top. Leave to set in place.
  4. Now it’s time to mix colours. If you’re using lustre dust, mix it in a paint palette with clear alcohol, lemon juice or vanilla extract to make a paint. If you’re using liquid food colouring, you can use this as it is, if you’re using a paste, dilute it a little as for the dusts.
  5. Load a sponge with some teal paint. This is your base layer, so you need to apply a thin layer of paint all over the cake by dotting the sponge onto the surface. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bit patchy, that adds to the watercolour effect. If it’s looking a little too perfect, dip a paintbrush in the clear liquid and brush over small areas of the cake to dilute the paint and expose the white sugarpaste a little.
  6. Now’s the important bit in the watercolour process – leave this layer to dry! The way to get the perfect finish is to let each coat dry before building up the next colour.
  7. Once the paint is dry, load up a brush with quite thick bristles with paint and brush over the cake randomly to create nice texture. You want to use quite a lot of paint on some areas and leave others a little more sparse. Alternate between brush strokes and stippling to create different looks. If you put too much paint on an area, you can remove with a paper towel, which will add to the textured effect.
  8. Once you’re happy with the teal layer, leave to dry, clean your brushes, then add a layer of purple paint along the bottom of the base cake. Leave to dry, then paint pink over some of the purple. Use a clean brush with just a little clear liquid to blend the purple and pink together at points. Leave to dry.
  9. To make the flower, work the flower paste until pliable. Roll it out on a worksurface dusted with icing sugar until about 3mm thick. Using a large peony cutter, cut out 10 petals. Carefully insert a length of florist wire through the centre of each petal. Press each petal into an impression mould to create texture marks.
  10. Place each petal on the foam pad and roll the ball tool around the edge to thin out and create ruffles. Use the ball tool in the centre of the petal to curl the petal slightly. Leave to dry in a foam pad or flower former.
  11. Now it’s time to assemble the flower. Start with the ready-made flower centre, then position five petals around it at equal distance. Tape the wires together with a little florist tape. Attach a second layer of petals around the outside, positioning them in between the first layer of petals and fixing the wires with more tape. Wind tape all the way down the wires to create the stem. Bend and shape the petals to shape the flower as you wish.
  12. Either attach to the top of the cake with a little royal icing, or place in a posy pick and push into the top of the cake.
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