Secret Caker Voodoo for Fabulous Holiday Entertaining

Remember back in October, when my husband made a Cake Wreck ?
Well, it wasn’t just his ADD that had him “like a kid in a candy store” at the cake decorating supply shop.

You see, lay people tend to have NO idea just how many cool things available to cake decorators, to really finish off a cake. Aside from all of the wrecky goodness we could find (Naked plastic babies, creepy Barbie torsos, etc), cake supply shops are also well stocked with what I like to refer to as “secret caker voodoo”.

From super concentrated food coloring in every shade you can think of, to various tools, molds, trimmings, and … well, everything… yeah. The sky’s the limit. It was always fun to work with clients who’d really let me play. You know the feeling you had when you were young, and someone gave you a BIG art kit filled with all sorts of pastels, markers, crayons, and paint – all new, pristine, and in a variety of colors? THAT… only grown up, and slightly more refined.

Anyway, more to the point… some of this “secret caker voodoo” can be used in non-cake ways, with spectacular results. Your secret arsenal to make everything just a little more fabulous when entertaining. Let me tell you about my favorite stuff ….

Glitter! Not your everyday sugar cake sprinkles, but actual, honest-to-goodness edible* glitter! Actually, there are 3 main types of edible powder that I’d like to tell you about.

Petal Dust: A very fine, matte powder. It’s usually used to add dimension to sugar flowers.

Luster Dust: A very fine, shimmery powder. It’s used to add metallic or pearlized details.

Disco Dust: Pictured to the left. Very metallic, fine glitter powder. Comes in many colors, with many “colors” being “hologram” – say, gold as the main color, with small amounts of other metallic colors in.

These dusts are readily available at most cake supply shops, but your best bet for variety of colors is to look online. I like Global Sugar Art**, as their selection is just… insane.

Before I give you some ideas on how you can use these dusts at home, a word to the wise: two of these powder types is also known as something else:

Disco Dust can also be found as “Twinkle Dust” and “Pixy Dust”.
Luster Dust is also known as “Shimmer Dust” and “Pearl Dust”.

Luster Dust is best used on a smooth surface, to give it a beautiful metallic or pearlized sheen.

To achieve the look pictured, pour a small amount of Luster Dust onto a small plate. Using a fluffy, dry brush (such as a never-used-before blush brush), dust a bit of the powder over truffles.

Smaller detail can be achieved by applying Luster Dust with a smaller, fine brush.

Alternatively, Luster Dust can be easily turned into a metallic / pearl / shimmery paint (pictured towards the end of this post, in the cake photos).

While Luster Dust is not water soluble, it mixes beautifully into alcohol. Use a neutral spirit, such as vodka. In a small vessel, add a little bit of alcohol to some Luster Dust, mixing well. Add as much liquid as you need, for your purpose. You’ll want it fairly thick to paint onto something, and fairly thin if you plain to use it in an airbrush.

Using edible flowers in your holiday entertaining? Try brushing or dusting a little silver or gold Luster Dust on them for a gorgeous effect.

Luster Dust can also be used along with stencils to adorn cookies, pies, cakes, or… anything, really… with pretty patterns. Consider stenciling shimmery mistletoe onto your holiday cookies. For a wedding or shower: metallic monograms!

Disco Dust is great to just sprinkle on almost ANYTHING. Above, I sprinkled a little on super cheap, store bought chocolate covered cherries. Seriously. I paid $1.70 / 10, and this is what they look like with just a little sprinkle! You can also use them on nicer truffles, whether store bought or homemade truffles.

While luster Dust is best used on a smooth surface, Disco Dust can really be used on any texture. Here, it adds – edible! – interest to very plain looking chocolate cookies! I love the super fine texture of the disco dust… it just looks much more elegant than the typical sugar “glitter” / sprinkles.

Also, a little Disco Dust can be sprinkled on / blown over serving plates before the food is arranged, for a little extra “something”.

Unfortunately, photography doesn’t do this next suggestion any justice at all… no matter how awesome my photographer/husband is!

Disco Dust is *awesome* to make cocktails extra special.

Try rimming a glass in Disco Dust. Wet the edge of a glass, then invert it into a plate with Disco Dust scattered on it. Swirl a few times to cover the entire rim. This cane be done either entirely with Disco Dust, or a mix of disco dust and super fine granulated sugar.

Try swirling a small amount into your favorite cocktails. Choose a color to either match or contrast the color of the drink, and serve with a stir stick – when the glitter settles, it’s fun to agitate it. Think of it as an adult, boozy “snow globe”!

Think of the possibilities! A little gold or silver in your New Years Eve Champagne! (Or to celebrate anniversaries!). Complement your wedding colors or party scheme. Pink glitter for the girliest of Bachelorette parties.

Who needs cocktail charms, when drinks can be identified by glitter color? (Make mine Emerald green, please!)

Luster Dust can also be used in cocktails. Depending on the color(s) chosen, it can create a lovely “northern lights” effect!

These are far from the only non-caker uses of these awesome dusts, so I hope I’ve given you a springboard for really running wild with your own creativity. Because, really… everything is better with a little shimmer!

Petal, Luster, and Disco Dusts cost between $3-6 for a little pot of dust – a little goes a long way!

In closing, let me show you a few traditional applications for these powders:

Gold Luster Dust was mixed with vodka to form a thick paste, and hand painted on this fondant “Oriental Dragon”.

White “Pearl” Luster Dust was mixed with vodka to form a thin paint and airbrushed all over this cake for a shimmery finish. It mimicked the satin sheen of the wedding gown that this cake was based on.

Sugar leaves were first airbrushed with thinned food coloring gel, and dried. Gold and Bronze Luster Dust was then thinned with vodka and airbrushed over the leaves – and the cake itself.

The following photos are all courtesy of my evil cake twin, Jeanne Kalman of The Well Dressed Cake, in Epping, NH.

Dry Petal Dust is lightly brushed on to add depth and realism to Jeanne’s “pie” cake, and “wood” fondant covered base.

Jeanne uses Petal Dust to add serious realism and beauty to her amazing sugar flowers. Insanely talented, that one.

Luster Dust was wet-painted onto the cake on the right for an elegant effect.

One last one:

Again with the Petal Dust. Gorgeous. If you’re out on the east coast, New England area.. give her a call for your cake needs. She’s pretty damned awesome.

* A quick clarification on “Edible” – the FDA has declared these items “non toxic”, and most Luster Dust and Petal Dust is FDA “edible” (varies between brands) – in the USA. In Europe, it’s all considered “edible” – so use at your own discretion. Those tiny silver dragees (little spheres) used a lot in holiday cookie baking? Same thing – FDA “non-toxic, not considered edible” – they’re considered edible everywhere else… and you KNOW you eat them!

** No FTC disclosure needed – I’m not being compensated for this blog entry in any way. This is just a product I love, and would love to share with you!

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