Painting with Food Coloring on a Cake

Have you ever wanted to paint on a cake but didn’t know how? Well, this painting with food coloring on a cake article will show you just how easy it is!  So easy a kid can do it too!  This painting technique is perfect for adding detail, writing messages, or highlighting the frosting of your favorite dessert. The painting process can be completed in less time with the right technique and materials.  Check out our secret pro tip below to help bring more luster to the colors!

By the way, we’d like to welcome you here to our How To Ice A Cake website. Read on…

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Painting With Food Coloring on a Cake: The Tools Needed

Painting with food coloring is a great way to make cakes more colorful and fun. It’s easy to do, but you’ll need the right cake decorating tools. Here is what you will need:

  • Liquid food colorings
  • A frosted cake
  • Small bowls or a paint tray
  • Cake Decorating brushes; sterilized

How to Paint on a Cake With Liquid Food Coloring

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Image by Brides

Paint on a cake with food coloring? It sounds like the perfect way to create a masterpiece! This is just a quick painting with liquid food coloring for cakes introduction, but it should help get you started.  You’ll be painting your first cake before you know it!

Here are some painting tips for painting on cakes:

  • Rough sketch a design so you have an idea of what you want to do and colors to  use.  If painting on a cake with food coloring for the first time, try painting simple designs like stripes or dots.  Practice painting onto an extra frosted or plain round cake before painting on a finished piece of work like birthday, wedding, or baby shower cakes.
  • Prepare the liquid food coloring for painting on cakes. Begin painting with the liquid food coloring to create your design by painting onto a cake that has been frosted.  If you choose to paint onto a plain cake, make sure it is completely cooled.
  • Have clean sterilized brushes ready for painting on cakes. You can purchase brushes specifically for painting on cakes. 
  • A clean bowl of water to rinse brushes between colors and painting on a cake.  Have a clean cloth to allow the brush to dry off between colors and allow it to completely dry before using it for the next color.  Having several brushes on hand is helpful.
  • Paint from lightest color to darkest color to get an even distribution of colors on your cake. Take the food coloring and brush it over the area you want to paint with liquid food color, let dry for a few seconds before painting another section. Repeat until your design is complete.
  • You can use painting tools like brushes or the end of a toothpick to create designs on your cake.
  • Keep in mind that darker colors will need more than one coat. 

Liquid Food Coloring vs. Gel Food Coloring

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Many people wonder what the difference is between using a liquid versus a gel food coloring. There’s often confusion on how each works or when one should be used over another!

Let’s shed some light on this common mystery:

  • Liquid Food Coloring – is composed of water soluble dyes and works well for most foods. A great option for those who want more control with small adjustments.  Colors look more pastel and lighter when painting.
  • Gel Food Coloring – are oil-based, contains other ingredients in addition to the dye such as alcohols which can change the texture of certain dishes.  It is perfect if you want to color something but don’t want to add liquid.

If painting on cakes with food coloring is new to you, try starting with liquid paints before trying other techniques like painting with food coloring with gel.

Secret Pro Tip For Painting With Gel Food Colorings

Pssst, here’s a secret pro tip: use Vodka or other clear alcohol, or clear extracts such as clear vanilla and lemon to thin out the gel food colorings.  The colors will be vibrant and lustrous!  The alcohol will evaporate and help the gel colors dry faster on your cake.  Liquid food colors don’t need to be thinned out. 

Now that you’ve had a chance to see this painting technique, what are your thoughts? How do you think it compares with other cake decorating techniques out there?

See more of our cake decorating tips or read our cake product reviews