cakes, diy desserts, diy projects

DIY: Cake Painting

Painted Cake

If the saying was “You can’t have your art, and eat it too,” this DIY would be the perfect contradiction. Using cake as the canvas for your next painting is easier than it sounds, the process is actually quite similar to painting on a cotton canvas. And believe me, this edible art is as sweet as it gets…as long as you are okay with the fact that you’ll be eating your painted masterpiece once you finish.  I’ve put together a DIY that illustrates two different cake painting techniques I use. Follow along below for the full how-to.

Painted Cake Details


Materials Needed:

  • Buttercream-frosted cake
  • 2-3 Paintbrushes
  • Gel food color
  • 2-3 Tbsp of vodka
  • Triangular cosmetic sponges
  • Black frosting (preferably buttercream)


Before you start painting you’ll need to make sure your cake has been frosted and is fairly smooth (so you have an even surface for your art!). The buttercream needs to be very stiff, so make sure to leave the frosted cake in the fridge until right before you’re ready to begin painting. If at any point your buttercream gets warm while you’re working with it, place the cake back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. When you press your finger on the buttercream, you shouldn’t be able to see your fingerprint and it shouldn’t indent at all. If it does, additional refrigeration is necessary.

While your cake is setting, prep the gel colors you will use to paint. Dilute each gel color, mixing a few drops of gel color with 1/2 – 1 Tbsp of vodka (depending on how saturated you want the color to be). [Note: If you need more help with this step, check out my Agate Slice Cookie DIYAt this point, you’ll also want to have a bit of black frosting set aside, as well as a few paintbrushes.

Cake Painting Materials

Once your materials are set and your buttercream is firm, dip your paintbrush into your preferred color of choice and gently paint onto your cake (exactly as if you were painting with watercolors). Make sure to use light strokes to avoid moving around the buttercream. Once you’ve added your first color, add your next color, and so on, until you’ve finished coloring your subject of choice. For my painted cake, I felt like painting slightly abstract springtime flowers. I added the main flower color of each flower first, followed by a second color for the flower’s center, and then added darker highlights throughout each flower.

At this point, you’ll either notice that the painted buttercream has a bit of a streaky watered-down look or that the brush marks are very noticeable. To get rid of this, gently blot the area you just painted with the back of a cosmetic sponge. Make sure to use separate sponges for the lighter and darker painted parts of the cake. Once you’ve painted your cake using this watercolor technique, place the cake back in the fridge to re-set for 10 – 15 minutes. And if you’re loving the look of your watercolor cake as is, go ahead and stop here!

Painting Cake DIY

Watercolor Cake 2

While this next process can be used entirely on a cake to give the look and “feel” of an oil painting, it also looks awesome when combined with the watercolor technique (in my personal opinion). To begin, take a clean paintbrush and coat the tip of the brush in black frosting. Using short rough strokes, paint on an outline, as well as any other details you wish to accentuate in your painting. This feels like you’re painting with acrylics or oil directly onto a canvas, only the canvas is a cake and the paint is edible…and delicious! Once you’re finished, place the cake back into the fridge to set before serving. And don’t forget to take a photo of your painted masterpiece before you eat it!


Cake Painting Tips

  1. hilldalehouse

    May 3, 2016 at 3:23 am

    Thanks for the great info! This is a beautiful cake and can’t wait to dry painting on buttercream soon!!

  2. Sa

    November 15, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Any other alternative to vodka ? Clisn’t doesn’t want any alcohol on or in the cake. Really appreciate a reply and any help. Thank youn

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