This tutorial shows you how to get the hand-painted leopard print look as seen here and in my cake photos. I’m sure I’m not the first or the only one to do it this way, but after being asked by several people for tips I decided to put my method in writing. Feel free to credit or link to any other tutorials on this subject.

List of Materials

  • fondant-covered cake
  • turntable
  • vodka
  • black gel color
  • chocolate brown gel color
  • Super Gold Luster Dust
  • Copper Pearl Dust
  • small, flexible brush
  • wide, flat brush – a fan brush works best
  • two ramekins for mixing paint


This technique begins with a fondant covered cake. I first brush the cake with vodka to get rid of any excess cornstarch and to ensure a smooth and flawless surface. Let the vodka dry completely before moving on to the next step. This should take about five minutes.


Mix your gold “paint.” I used some Super Gold Luster dust, a tiny drop of chocolate brown gel color and some Wilton copper dust thinned with a small amount of vodka to get it to a thin, easily paintable consistency. The brown and copper tones down the color and gives it an antiqued quality. You can eliminate the chocolate brown and/or copper if you prefer.


Using a flexible brush, apply the gold to the cake in a random pattern similar to the photo. Just smudge it on and don’t worry about making the shape perfect. In fact, all the shapes should be slightly different. Don’t over-think it!


Next, mix up some black or chocolate brown gel color and add a little vodka to thin it.


Paint the black color over the gold spots in a random manner like so. Again, don’t over-think it. Wiggle your brush a little to give it a more natural look. You don’t want it to be perfect.

Next, paint more black spots on the cake in the bare areas.


When you finish painting on the gold and the dark spots, dip a wide, flat brush in your remaining gold paint that has been thinned with more vodka. A fan brush is better for this but any wide, flat brush will work. Just make sure to fan the bristles out and ensure that the brush isn’t too wet. Using a back and forth motion, lightly swipe the damp brush across the cake while turning the turntable in one direction to blur and smear the spots. This gives the cake a more natural look.

I hope you enjoyed my first ever tutorial! You can find my newly launched Facebook page here: facebook.com/customcakesbykendra



Sara1029 Says... 2012-08-20 14:57:27

Love this! Thank you so much for the easy how too! :)

lulu07 Says... 2012-08-22 15:47:37

Thank you. Very nice

llana72 Says... 2012-08-26 12:22:57

Thank you very much! Your are so kind for sharing your technique :)

eatmycakebaby Says... 2012-08-26 23:33:48

lord thanks I have a leopard print cake coming up in 2weeks and I was worried but I have done this before but my Leopard look more like a Giraffe LOL. I think it was becaue I was over thinking it.

Dblo7xx Says... 2012-08-27 22:12:24

Very nicely explained, thank you :)

carmijok Says... 2012-09-03 11:03:09

You can also do it on a buttercream cake too as long as it is solid. I did a leopard print on one and made sure the BC was very cold first. Also just painted the Franciscan Apple design on a BC cake recently. It's quite fun to do!

mbranko24 Says... 2012-09-09 11:43:40

Beautiful cake! I am making a leopard print cake next week for my birthday. Can you tell me what base color of fondant that you started with? Is it ivory? The cake with the roses looks ivory as a base, but the other with the ivory flower looks like it might have been darker? Thanks!

kendra_83 Says... 2012-09-11 10:18:16

It really depends on the look you're going for. I just used chocolate brown and a little yellow gel color to tint my white fondant to match the party decor for each cake. Just start with a small amount and add more as needed. Thanks!

CottageGirlSkills Says... 2012-09-14 10:25:34

I am doing a leopard print for the first time next month...I will most definitely be revisiting this...THANKS!!! :D

Nayna1 Says... 2012-09-14 11:42:22

Thanks for sharing your easy method of the leopard print. This will be added to my favorites!!!

softgreenside Says... 2012-09-20 14:26:38

that is an awesome tutorial. thanks for sharing :)

res3boys Says... 2012-09-24 06:27:31

Thanks for sharing! Can I ask how you got the nice ivory for the ivory rose?? thanks!

verosuperstar Says... 2012-09-29 17:03:14

This is a great tutorial. I am going to make a pink cake with leopard print ribbon n bow and had no idea how to make it. I guess i have to make a smaller pattern. Is there any special tip for doing this technique one smaller areas like bows? Thanks,

kendra_83 Says... 2012-10-03 07:04:40

@res3boys: If I'm starting with white fondant, I usually add just a little dab of chocolate brown and yellow to get ivory. Use a toothpick and just dot it on so you don't get it too dark.

@verosuperstar: You may have to use a smaller brush but the same technique would apply to smaller areas.

Hurricane7 Says... 2012-10-07 11:50:24

Thank you so very much. I am new to rolled fondant work but have baked specialty cakes for over 1/2 a century. I have asked many for suggestions on acheiving their results but you are the first that has revealed their techniques. May god ever bless you with success for your consideration.

kendra_83 Says... 2012-10-07 14:27:32

@Hurricane7: You're so welcome! Fondant is definitely tricky but it does get easier. Just keep practicing! God bless!

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