Painting like a Pro

Laura Dodimead of Cakey Bakes Cakes  brings us our Cake of the Day.  This glorious hand-painted design features butterflies and flowers in a rainbow of colors. We talked to Laura to discover the inspiration behind her gorgeous “stained glass” cake, and to get the low down on how to achieve her eye-popping results.

Photography by Christine Jordan Photography

Laura’s floral design was painted entirely free-hand, based on a selection of colors and themes provided by her client. Laura explains, “I don’t use a template, I work freehand, which allows me to adjust the design as I need.” Laura likes to stack and dowel her cakes before painting, which allows her to keep the flow of the design. “I personally like the design to flow from one tier to the next,” she notes. 


Photography by Christine Jordan Photography

Painting onto a fondant cake certainly presents many challenges. Laura suggests applying the fondant a day in advance; giving the fondant time to harden creates a firm surface ready for painting. She adds, “The fondant needs to be firm, otherwise you run the risk of accidentally making dents – to speed up the drying time you can add a few teaspoons of CMC powder (tilose powder) before rolling it out.” Creating a perfect canvas is a vital step to perfecting the flawless painted finish of Dodimead’s design.

One of Laura’s top tips is to use a fine tipped food color pen to create your outline, these easy to use pens offer more stability than a paintbrush, especially for a novice decorator.

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Photography by Christine Jordan Photography

We asked Laura if creating a hand-painted cake meant her clients were restricted by their filling and frosting options. She responded, “I use buttercream as my filling and always allow it to firm up over night, and work in a cool room. I wouldn’t use fresh creams as it wouldn’t withstand not being refrigerated long enough for me to finish my design.” 

Laura’s favorite tools for painting are the Squires Kitchen brushes numbers 00 to 10.  She recommends buying new brushes when starting a new cake project to avoid extra paint getting onto the cake if the brush splits. 

Her final tips for hand-painting, “it is a long winded project when painting- so comfort is essential.  I place the cake on a tilted turntable to allow the cake to be facing upwards so it’s easier to see, and I work on a good level (my dinning room table) so I’m not slumped over, avoiding back ache.” Laura recommends using both hands when painting, one to paint and one to steady the hand holding the brush, “It allows you to get a nice straight, neat line,” she notes.

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Photography by Christine Jordan Photography

When asked what advice she would offer to “budding” hand-painters, Laura suggests, “start with a small design and maybe even use an embosser to give you a guide to work from. When you become more confident then you can start to be more elaborate, and paint the design on in white first so you can trace over it to prevent mistakes.”

Many thanks to Laura for sharing her inspired design. We look forwards to putting her advice to good use on our next painted project. To see more painted cakes, pick up a copy of our issue!

About Laura

Laura Dodimead is owner of Cakey Bakes Cakes; a custom cake business she started from her little flat in Farnham. After many compliments and encouragement from family and friends, she decided to test the water and applied for a local stall and approached local bakeries to stock her goodies. Today Laura runs her bespoke cake decorating business, Cakey Bakes Cakes. Her designs are instantly recognizable, with the gorgeously hand-crafted models and playful designs. She is also a professional sugarcraft teacher, with classes available for download from the Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School


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