Sketch to Cake: Anna van Grunsven's Butterflies and Pearls Cake

We talked to Anna van Grunsven of AnnaTaart in The Netherlands about her beautiful hand painted cake. See what inspired her to create this lovely cake and how she approached her creative process.


Cake Central: Where did your inspiration come from? 
Anna van Grunsven: I wanted to do something with butterflies, because they’re so much fun to draw. I couldn’t think of anything specific, though. Until a friend showed me a picture of a wedding dress she loved. It all came together!

CC: What medium did you use for your illustration? 
AVG: This is all drawn in pencil. Plain grey mechanical pencil for most of it, with some small details done in colored pencil. I love drawing with pencil, you can do so much with shades of grey.

CC: What was your design process like? How did you create your cake concept? 
AVG: The cake concept formed in my head while I was drawing. I took the parts of the drawing that are the most important to me: the lace, the pearls and the butterflies.

CC: How did you begin making the cake from your illustration? What were your first steps? 
AVG: I covered the top two tiers in white fondant, to make a nice blank canvas to work on. The bottom tier I covered with white fondant in which I worked a golden lace pattern. From here, I just felt my way through. I started with the pleats on the bottom tier, and then started adding pearls. Finally I painted on the butterflies and added the bow. I’m never quite sure when I’ll be done with a cake. I’ll know it’s done when I see it’s done, and it’s the same with drawings. It has to feel right.

CC: How closely did you work from your illustration?
I just used it as a source of inspiration. I took the parts of the drawing that are the most significant to me, and made those into a cake. To make the exact same thing from cake isn’t something I want. Or something I’m able to, really!

CC: Were there any complications in making your cake? 
AVG: Not really! It went smoothly, and I enjoyed it a lot. I kept it simple, that might have helped!

CC: Did you use any special techniques on this cake? 
AVG: The lace-look on the bottom tier is something I discovered by accident a few years ago. Since then, I’ve used it quite often.
The painting is done in cocoa butter. I make my own edible paint from it, and it’s a technique I’m quite fond of. I do almost all my painting on cakes with cocoa butter.

CC: Did you have to make changes to your original plan when it came to execution? If so, what did you have to compromise? 
AVG: I wanted the pearls to be loose from the cake, to dangle over the edge of the tiers. The only reason I didn’t do that, is because I felt it would have been too much. I like the cake as it is, it’s elegant.

Comments (13)


Of course! It's no secret. You take a piece of lace, and spray it with a lustre spray of your choice. I used gold here, obviously. Then place it sprayed side down on some rolled-out fondant, and roll over it with your rolling pin. It's that easy!


Thank YOU! I have an airbrush now, just waiting for nice weather to practice with it outside We had a pretty healthy snow last night here in Delaware, but certainly not as bad a up north! I also love the wandering effect of your jewels/stones! Such an attractive display of coloring. Thanks again.


wow...wonderful cake. I feel not to cut but see and enjoy. Really very nice. I am wondering about your painting. Is that freehand or you did with stencil cut? and what is cocoa butter edible painting could you please share with us ..if you don't mind. Thanks in Advance Maryfergin


Thank you for your kindness❤️ I am new to cake decorating and I really love to learn new things & modern ideas which are not very common at all. You're one of the cake designers I look up to, keep it up and continue inspiring people like me❤️❤️❤️


Cocoa butter paint is made by simply melting cocoa butter and mixing it with oil based food colours or dusts. The painting here is freehand, I do most of my painting that way.