Going for glamour? Adding a luster finish to your fondant can really give your cake some added wow factor. Learn how to apply a flawless, pearlized finish with this simple tutorial from Vincent Goh.
Luster Finish Tutorial
by Vincent Goh
- 95% proof alcohol (rose spirit), lemon extract, or vodka
- Two flat brushes
- Luster dust of choice
- Parchment paper
- Paper towel
To prepare the cake, cover the cake tiers with white fondant and allow the fondant to set overnight so that it is firm to the touch.
Vincent notes: It is important to avoid using vegetable shortening to roll the fondant out, as any excess oil could affect the finish of the luster.
Step 1: Put two tablespoons of luster dust into a bowl (enough for two tiers of cake), and then pour four tablespoons of alcohol into the same bowl.
Step 2: Mix the luster dust and the alcohol together to create a paint. If the mixture has little clumps, add more alcohol to it. If the mixture looks thin and appears streaky, add more luster dust to it and continue to mix.
Vincent notes: As alcohol evaporates quickly, you may need to top up the luster with more alcohol as you work, or the mixture may become too thick and difficult to work with.
Step 3: Place the cake onto a turntable and using a flat brush, start painting the cake from the top.
Vincent notes: I tend to go in singular directions at first, as this leaves a smoother, more consistent finish.
Step 4: Slowly work your way now to the sides of the cake, holding the brush on the side of the cake and rotating the turntable using your other hand.
Step 5: Once covered, allow the cake to dry. Once dry, inspect the cake to make sure the color is even and consistent. You may need to add another coat or even several coats of the paint. Repeat the same processes from step 4 until you are happy with the end result.
Step 6: Using a dry brush, gently brush all around the cake to remove excess residual luster dust that is on the cake and lightly buff the surface.
Our Top Tips for Working with Luster!
You can mix your own custom luster shades by combining several different luster dusts together, for example, mixing a light gold and a pink pearl dust will yield a rose gold. Mixing a pearl, brown, and gold dust together will provide a deep bronze color.
You can recycle any leftover or unused dust. Simply allow any leftover paint to fully dry, then tip or flake the dust onto a piece of folded parchment paper and return to the pot.
You can use pearl or luster dust in some airbrush guns, but make sure the dust is very fine and fully dissolved before using in an airbrush, or the nozzle can become blocked.
To stencil a luster finish onto your cake, mix luster dust with clear piping gel and spread over the stencil for a clean, vibrant finish.
Avoid placing cakes with a luster finish into the refrigerator, as the humidity can affect the finish of the cake—especially where the luster has been applied with a stencil.