How Do I Achieve This Gold?

Decorating By CarlaG Updated 23 Mar 2013 , 5:16pm by -K8memphis

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CarlaG Posted 2 Feb 2013 , 4:18pm
post #1 of 35




Can anyone tell me if this gold was painted on buttercream? It looks like I can see brush strokes but I'm not sure. Would this be possible with a smbc or would I have to use a crusting buttercream?

34 replies
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SaltCakeCity Posted 2 Feb 2013 , 8:41pm
post #2 of 35

My guess would be airbrushed gold rather than painting it on there. I don't have an airbrush so I use canned edible gold spray (PME or Chefmaster). It took several cans to get this cake as gold as it is and I only did it on fondant so I'm not sure how much different it is on buttercream. For the 3rd tier, I did several coats. I noticed that if you do the coats when it's wet, there tends to be streaks so spray, let it dry completely, then spray again. I hope that helps!

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CarlaG Posted 2 Feb 2013 , 8:54pm
post #3 of 35

Thank you, thank you Jennifer for answering!! I was beginning to feel like the last one picked for dodgeball. Ha. My questions(2) never seem to get replies. I like your cake, beautiful! That's the gold color I need to achieve but on buttercream. I've seen pictures of it done...just don't know what it takes to do it. I'll look into the products you suggested. Thanks again.

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ashleabrowncake Posted 2 Feb 2013 , 10:22pm
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Athe cake in the picture looks like it might be covered in edible gold leaf. would probably be a very expensive way to do I though

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Kiddiekakes Posted 2 Feb 2013 , 10:36pm
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Unfortunately you are never going to get a good coverage of any metallic color on Buttercream.It just isn't possible.I have tried painting and airbrush and it doesn't work at all...the gold becomes very muted and so does the silver...never found a good way to paint buttercreamm..wish I knew..HTH

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-K8memphis Posted 2 Feb 2013 , 10:54pm
post #6 of 35

for what it's worth--i was checking out duff's spray metalics at the store just now--it's made with mica


and it did not say non toxic or anything like that that i found on the label


i'm not saying it doesn't specify i'm saying i didn't find it on there


so that's out for edible (for me anyway)


i think ashleabrown's got it right--gold leaf would do it but yeah on the right smart pricey side


but mostly i think we need to dial down the expectations one client at a time


i think we have all gotten far afield of edible on our work huh


i mean i love the real metallics but it ain't food/ain't safe either


but i mean we could get around it by doing that cake as dummy cake


and make sure all the metallic pieces on other tiers get discarded


but that kinda gets old quick too--who wants to police the party


it's a difficult question-- where i think one should come down on the side of food safety


but it's an individual decision to make

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CarlaG Posted 2 Feb 2013 , 11:06pm
post #7 of 35

So true! I've been all over this site and anywhere else I can think of to find the 'edible' answer. Sigh. These gold cakes keep popping up. I think my bride found what she wants on Pintrest. I really don't want to start experimenting with gold on buttercream until I have a clear idea of whether it's safe and can even be done. I get the feeling that the whole idea will end up being completely out of her price range anyway.

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-K8memphis Posted 2 Feb 2013 , 11:19pm
post #8 of 35

that's why i never tackled the answer--


i haven't kept up with the 'crystal colors' out now too that are edible but i think they are just luster dusts but i haven't tried them yet


but yeah it's kind of a 'new' wave of thinking kinda sorta


not that we all haven't been safety conscious we have for the most part but


we're kinda pulling back and away from the previous years of cake deco


where we collectively maybe were getting a little out of control with trying to get it too real/blingy/flashy


even way back when--i wanted to put the crystals/rhinestones on the cakes with the lace point pieces but naw--just one rhinestone lost or eaten would be a very bad day


it would undoubtedly be some little kid with a big dramatic mouth 'oh i'm dying oh my stomach'


and his mom would find the thing next day in the washer where it fell out of his pocket


little (imaginery) brat icon_biggrin.gif


and i looked up your labrador post and since it was about 6 months ago--you probably got your answer by now--sorry!!

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sixbittersweets Posted 2 Feb 2013 , 11:57pm
post #9 of 35

I'd love to know the answer to this too.  Fortunately what I want to paint gold is just a plaque on the outside that I can remove so I'm going to use highlighter dust which is NOT edible.  However, if going straight on the outside of the cake, especially buttercream, it would need to be edible and DEFINITELY non-toxic.  I've been hearing that AmeriColor's gold airbrush color works really well and there are cakes showing up on Pinterest that are definitely buttercream (with rustic wavy non-smooth sides) that are very gold looking.  I don't think gold leaf could be used for those so I'd assume airbrush.  Would like to confirm that Americolor is food-safe though.  I asked Jennifer Dontz about this recently and she said it doesn't indicate one way or the other on the bottle, oddly enough.

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CakesByJen2 Posted 2 Feb 2013 , 11:58pm
post #10 of 35

I am pretty sure it is gold leaf, which was applied and smoothed with a brush, hence the brush stroke markings.  As someone else said, the metallics just don't look the same when painted on   It could be airbrushed, but I really think gold leaf would be the only way to end up with the true metallic shine that you see in that pic. 

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-K8memphis Posted 3 Feb 2013 , 12:17am
post #11 of 35

non-edible highlighter would do that in a nanosecond

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CarlaG Posted 3 Feb 2013 , 12:31am
post #12 of 35

So, I just might give up on the gold buttercream thing and tell my bride that I'm just not comfortable feeding that to her guests. Hopefully she will go for the fondant idea which can be peeled off. In the words of Pooh Bear..."Oh bother".


K8memphis...that's awesome you checked on my old  lab question. Now I'm kinda embarassed for whining. I got the cake done. I used to do faux finishes, plasters and murals ( in a previous life). A decorator I worked with would walk me through rooms and tell me what finish she wanted and where. Once I made the mistake of explaining the process to her. She cut me off and said 'I don't care how you get there. Just get there.' So that's how I did my Labrador cake. Just dove in and winged it. He's in my gallery.


btw- used to live in Memphis...Bartlett.

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-K8memphis Posted 3 Feb 2013 , 12:51am
post #13 of 35

wow--you did not need any help with that lab!!


i love your style--you do 'action' cakes--like the flames on the basketball --


bubba's in trouble--love that kinda cake--and wow are you good


it's gotta be the tennessee thing icon_lol.gif jk jk ;)


hooray for memphis!!! yay bartlett!!

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sixbittersweets Posted 3 Feb 2013 , 1:27am
post #14 of 35

So to follow-up, I have contacted Americolor directly to ask for confirmation that their gold airbrush color is EDIBLE (not just non-toxic).  I'll let everyone know when/if they respond.  However, I was able to find an ingredients list for it.  The only listed item that seemed questionable was mica-based pearlescent pigments, but looking on the FDA site it appears that these mica pigments are approved for confections as long as they make up 1.5% or less of the food.  


Looking at old forum threads about whether these products are foodsafe, I've seen people throw around the argument that even if FDA-approved, mica is not safe for consumption because workers who mine mica from the earth wear masks to prevent inhalation.  I'm not saying I always trust FDA approvals, but from what I've read these mica-based pigments are coated with another substance and are not in the raw form that miners encounter.  Thus, that argument against the safety of mica pigments is not really valid.  Here is the page from indicating mica pigements are approved for use in confections:  If others interpret this differently than I have expressed above, I'd love to discuss it to get to the bottom of this.  





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Annabakescakes Posted 3 Feb 2013 , 1:53am
post #15 of 35

AAnd I want to throw in there that the miners are being protected from inhalation, not consumption of mica. I'm not saying it is the same toxicity level, but I will say that we regularly drink water, but we need to protect ourselves from inhaling it ;-)

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-K8memphis Posted 3 Feb 2013 , 2:29am
post #16 of 35

there was a big deal currently about bvo in gatorade and such drinks as that


which is bromated vegetable oil which is not only a flame retardant


it also keeps the flavor suspended through out the product--keeps it from separating


and this vegan young lady got a petition going


and ultimately pepsico caved and is stopping it's use even though it is approved by the fda


so fda approval is nice but it ain't no guarantee either


me myself and i do not want to feed my peeps mica


like i said it's my individual decision


i can use gum arabic glitteration if i want


and my own rule of thumb is, 'would i want this on my steak, near my supper?'

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CarlaG Posted 3 Feb 2013 , 3:08am
post #17 of 35

I can't wait to hear the response from the manufacturer! The more I dig for answers, the more confused I get due to conflicting opinions. I had heard the bit about Gatorade and bvo. Kudos to PepsiCo for doing the right thing.

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-K8memphis Posted 3 Feb 2013 , 3:21am
post #18 of 35

yes and mostly kudos to the young lady!!!


pepsico got too much publicity--they had declined to change at first


where I'm confused about the mica type glitter though is why was it ever produced and sold to our industry so prolifically

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sixbittersweets Posted 3 Feb 2013 , 5:54pm
post #19 of 35

Wow good for her!  Definitely PepsiCo doesn't deserve any kudos.  They had responsibility for making sure the products they were feeding people were safe in the first place.  If they caught their mistake and changed the product before someone else forced their hand, they'd deserve some credit.  But here the lady deserves all of it.  


@K8memphis I definitely agree that FDA approval doesn't mean it's safe, which I said in my post as well.  A lot of people have wanted to know what was legally approved as "food-safe" or not, so that's what I was trying to clarify.  I'm proud of cake bakers professional and hobbyist (like myself) for asking these questions and digging deeper for the real answer.  I feel like Food Network and other major influencers of public perception of cake decorators should be confirming that decorators are using correct safety practice and NOT putting "just for decoration" ingredients on portions of cakes that will be ingested (or at least put up a note about it on the show).  MORE IMPORTANTLY, I feel there needs to be more regulation requiring labeling of ingredients as well as FDA approval/edibleness/toxicity for these dusts and other decorating products so that we can make our own judgement.  It's ridiculous to me that major sellers such as G-S-A don't even list the weight of many dusts they sell (so I can decide if the price is worth it) much less ingredients or edibleness.  Also ridiculous that gold luster dusts are allowed to be called "24K" when they're not 24K and it's just a marketing gimmick.  Even for the professionals paid for their cakes, I feel like the profit margin in this industry is not large enough that bakers should have to spend hours/days of their own time researching whether or not ingredients specifically marketed to cake makers are actually suitable for cakes... *Rant over I promise* lol...icon_biggrin.gif

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sixbittersweets Posted 3 Feb 2013 , 11:42pm
post #20 of 35

FYI -- I am finally watching this video from GSA and it's a good explanation of the different types of dusts.

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CarlaG Posted 3 Feb 2013 , 11:47pm
post #21 of 35

Thanks sixbittersweets! I have it pulled up right now!

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sixbittersweets Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 6:25pm
post #22 of 35

A representative for AmeriColor responded to me with the following regarding their gold airbrush color.  The gold cake she references is the photo attached below. 


"All of our colors are FDA approved and Kosher certified. . . . Our gold airbrush color would achieve the look of the gold cake.  Thank you."



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CarlaG Posted 8 Feb 2013 , 6:41pm
post #23 of 35

Awesome!!! That's exactly what I needed to know. Can't thank you enough for researching! 

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sixbittersweets Posted 9 Feb 2013 , 6:40pm
post #24 of 35

My pleasure!  Please let us know how your cake goes (photos would great)!  I'm sure it'll be awesome and hope the client appreciates that you had the integrity to make sure you were giving them something foodsafe and FDA-approved =D.

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Chellescakes Posted 10 Feb 2013 , 6:02am
post #25 of 35

The cake in the O P , is done with gold leaf and quite possible is done on fondant. I have never tried doing it on buttercream, but I suppose if you had a very stiff crusted buttercream you could if you were really careful but as you have to add moisture to the outside so the surface is tacky so the gold leaf will adhere, I think technically using buttercream under it would be a nightmare. 

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Relznik Posted 10 Feb 2013 , 8:34am
post #26 of 35

Having just had a 'play' with a tiny sheet of gold leaf last week, I am 99.9999999% sure that the cake the OP is enquiring about is edible gold leaf. 


Whilst on the one hand, I'd love to have a cake with a tier entirely covered in edible gold leaf, it's so expensive and I found it not as easy to work with as I'd thought I'd might.!  BUT, if I was just covering a while tier, it might be easier, actually?  But, I digress....  icon_biggrin.gif




Suzanne x

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Chellescakes Posted 10 Feb 2013 , 11:14am
post #27 of 35

If anyone wants instructions on using gold or silver leaf , please PM me .  I am happy to share

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CarlaG Posted 10 Feb 2013 , 1:08pm
post #28 of 35

Thank you everyone for all the great advice! My bride is a young one who I believe has been inspired by cakes she has seen on Pinterest. I know her budget isn't going to allow for a gold leaf cake even though those are the ones that caught her eye. I was just trying to figure out if a gold cake is even doable for her and safe for her guests since she definitely wants buttercream instead of fondant. I will most likely order the Americolor or PME spray and give it a try. The wedding isn't until September so there is plenty of wiggle room.

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Smckinney07 Posted 18 Mar 2013 , 6:27pm
post #29 of 35

AI found some Gold (and Silver) Glaze from **********. The label says Food-grade edible color glaze, recommended for use on fondant. However, the ingredients listed:Water, maltodextrin, denatured alcohol, mica-based pearlescent pigments...

So is this not food safe?

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Smckinney07 Posted 21 Mar 2013 , 7:12pm
post #30 of 35

AShanter sent me a pm yesterday when I posted my response about the Glaze and apparently it is food safe. I haven't used them yet but the colors look very rich! They sell them in Gold, Silver, & Pearl Glaze at four dollars a 20 oz bottle. I purchased mine from Global Sugar Art. I will post some pictures as soon as I use it

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