Thursday, February 23, 2012

Painting on Fondant

I hope you're not tired of seeing skateboard cakes, because I made another one.  It affords us a perfect opportunity to discuss painting on fondant.

First let's talk about the paint.  The paint mixture I use is very simple recipe with only two ingredients.  The first ingredient is food color.  My preference is powdered food color, but gel color works as well.  The second ingredient is vodka.  Vodka is a perfect thinner for the food color.  It is completely colorless and the high alcohol content will make it evaporate very quickly.  Don't feel as if you have to break the bank and purchase the best quality vodka.  The cheap stuff works quite well.
If you look closely at the picture above you can see how I set up my paint containers.  I put about a 1/4 teaspoon of color to one side and pour a small puddle of vodka.  Don't stir the mixture.

This paint acts very much like watercolors.  By not mixing the food color and vodka you can have a range of color intensity by where you dip your brush into the container.
For this design I cut out a template from paper.  Here you can see one of several template pieces for the design.

Using a very thinned color, trace around the template.  When I'm not using a template I like to use the thinned color to block in the design.
I like to start by painting in the lighter colors first.  It's easy to darken them later by adding more paint.  It can be difficult to go the other direction and lighten the painting.
The colors can be blended on the painting, just like with watercolor.  Traditional color theory applies, yellow and blue make green, etc.
Almost any color can be erased if you make a mistake.  I was able to erase a mistake that I made with black on this white fondant.  Red is probably the most difficult color to correct.  To erase a mistake you must act quickly.  Dampen a clean paper towel with vodka and use it to wipe the color off of the fondant.  The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove the color from the fondant.
In this example I'm painting on a horizontal surface.  On a vertical surface it is important to paint with a relatively dry brush.  You don't want it to run and drip.
As I mentioned in one of my recent posts, the vodka is perfectly safe to use on even children's cakes.  As the paint dries, all of the alcohol will evaporate.

I hope you'll give painting on your cakes a try.  I think you'll really like it.

Happy painting!