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Sunday, June 02, 2013

Paint Splatter Cake


After seeing a number of paint splatter cakes on Pinterest and other cake decorating sites, I knew I just had to make one.

After reading various instructions and tutorials, all I was able to gather was that you just "fling" the "paint" at the cake and that you have a big mess to clean up afterward. One video tutorial was particularly dramatic with the decorator flinging a fork full of icing from about five feet away! I knew there had to be a better way and so I started to investigate the options.

There are two mediums you can use for the "paint" - melting chocolate (candy melts) and royal icing. Actually there is a third - one person suggested just throwing food colouring or colour gel at the cake. Umm ... yuck!

Chocolate candy melts come in a variety of colours, so there is no need to mess around with food colouring or colour pastes/gels. But, on the other hand, the colours are somewhat limited. Also on the con side, if the least bit of moisture gets into your chocolate, it will seize up and hence not become "flingable".

The royal icing colours are limited only by what colours you can find and/or mix together. Both Americolor and Duff have a line of neon colours called Electric Blue, Electric Purple etc. that would just "pop" on a black fondant-covered cake. With royal icing, you have to get just the right consistency - too runny and the icing would drip off and pool on the base; too firm and you would end up with big blobs and no splatter.

I decided on the chocolate/candy melt process and to just drizzle rather than fling - it just seemed like it would be easier and less messy. Here is a step-by-step little tutorial:

Start with a chilled black fondant-covered cake. Don't even worry about getting every little wrinkle or air bubble out of the fondant because a little paint drizzle will cover any imperfections. That's what makes this cake a great choice if you are short on time or if you are new to cake decorating.

Next, cover your counter with a large piece of plastic and place the cake on a turntable on top of the plastic. If you don't have a turntable, you may want to tape your plastic sheet down so you don't have to keep rearranging it as you move the cake around.

Then, melt your chocolate candy melts in small bowls in the microwave. Start with 30 seconds, then check and stir, then another 10 - 15 seconds depending on how many melts you are using and the wattage of your microwave. As a rough guide, this 8" round, 4 high cake took about 10 or 12 melts of each colour .

Using a small spoon, stir the candy until thoroughly melted and smooth. If any of your colours seize, simply add a little bit of vegetable oil and stir until smooth. The more liquid the chocolate the finer your paint splatter will be.

Drizzle the first colour of chocolate from the spoon to the top of the cake. Because the cake is cold, the chocolate will set quickly.

Then, holding the cake up on a bit of an angle, drizzle a little bit down the sides (turning the cake at intervals to get the entire cake drizzled).

Continue with the rest of the coloured chocolate, making sure that it is still liquid enough to drizzle. If not, return to microwave for a few seconds. (I learned this the hard way. There are more "blobs" on my cake than I cared to have and that is because my chocolate was cooling off.)



As you can see, in the end there really wasn't much mess. I just folded up the plastic and threw it away! I  intend to try the royal icing method next and will update this post after I do.