Monday, May 16, 2011

Color Flow

This morning, as I sit at the computer, I cannot think of a single way to start this post.  I guess I'm brain dead on a Monday morning.  Maybe I need some more coffee.  Aren't weekends supposed to be restful?  Somehow, my family seems to have missed the memo on that. 
This is a post about color flow, as it is called in the States.  You might also see it referred to as run sugar work.  It is a great technique for detailed plaques or even decorations that stand up on a cake.  Shall we get started?

I like to find a picture that I can copy that has clear lines.  Coloring pages work really well.  Re-size it larger or smaller to suit your application and print it out.   On this example, I wanted a round design for the cake, but found a rectangular picture.  I super-imposed the circle over the design and made up lines where necessary.  Cover the image with some waxed paper.  I've used both parchment paper and waxed paper and officially like the waxed paper better.  Spray the waxed paper with non-stick cooking spray and wipe it off with a paper towel.  A very thin coating is all you want.
For the icing, I use the glace' icing recipe that I also use on cookies.  It's super easy, just 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons milk, and 2 teaspoons of light corn syrup.  This is usually the right consistency for the outline.  Thin with some corn syrup to get it thin enough for flooding.  Use the 10 second rule to get the consistency right.  Drizzle a little icing back on itself in the bowl.
Count to 10 and it should all flow back together.  If the drizzle has not gone away, add more corn syrup a little at a time.
Start by piping the outline of your design with some icing tinted black, or color of your choice.  If your deign is very detailed, you'll want to stiffen the outline icing slightly with some powdered sugar.  I piped using a #2 Wilton tip.  Let the outline dry until it forms a crust.  This will prevent the outline from bleeding into your fill colors.
One color at a time, flood the sections with icing.  Use a toothpick to work it into very tiny areas.  Be careful not to put too much icing.  You don't want it to overflow your outlines.
As you might guess, this icing plaque is for an Easter cake.  Just the lamb left to fill.
Let the plaque sit and dry, undisturbed, for several days.  The amount of time it takes to dry depends on how humid it is where you are.  Keep it out of direct sunlight, as it can fade.  Once it is dry, gently peal the paper from the back and it is ready to apply to the cake.
These plaques can be applied to the top or sides of the cake.  (Pay no attention to the teapot that is not smooth.  I've learned a lot since this cake.)
They are also stiff enough to stand up on the cake, like the Mystery Machine in this picture.  This technique also makes great butterflies!  My sister used this technique to make her butterfly cake.  I hope you'll give this a try.  It's a lot of fun!



  1. Fabulous, thanks! How do you attach to cake once it's dry?

  2. Didn't know I could do this with glaze. Thanks for posting this tutorial.

  3. Once dry, can mistakes be smoothed with a little water on a brush or anything?