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Since cake pops “popped” on to the baking scene, they have taken on several forms.  There’s the basic pop, dipped in one color of chocolate and you’re done.  But for the more adventurous bakers, cake pops are getting fancy… sprinkled, drizzled, marbled, sculpted.  More and more, I’m seeing bakers turn their pops into an art form, literally, by painting on the detail!

One cake popper leading the painting pack is Lou Lou P’s Delights. Every time I see a new post of theirs, I’m absolutely blown away!  In fact, it was their latest pop (below) that inspired this post today… a cake pop rendition of The Scream by Edvard Munch.

Painting cake pops can take them to the next level by adding such intricate details as eyelashes, facial features, and more.  Look how Cake Pop Princess turned a marbled cake pop into the Cheshire Cat from Alice and Wonderland by painting on it’s facial features…

Kiss And Bake Up is yet another talented cake pop painter.  The amount of detail in these Dia de los Muertos cake pops is amazing!  I can’t imagine how much time it took, but I do know that I could never bring myself to eat something so beautiful (even though that defeats the purpose of edible treats, lol).

So… how can you start painting your pops?  Two words: luster dust.

One luster dust technique is called dry brushing.  Simply put, you use a dry, food-safe paint brush, dip it in the luster dust, and start painting.  Dry brushing is kind of like eye shadow… you can use a little to enhance features, perhaps adding rosy cheeks to people cake pops, or you can use more to make dramatic statements, like these gold hearts.  Be sure that there is no moisture on your pop or brush, or it will ruin the soft look to it, and it will dry in clumps.

The other technique is called wet brushing. As the name implies, this method involves adding liquid to the luster dust to give you more of a paint-like medium to work with.  Here, April C. from Rhubarb and Rose uses a fine tipped brush to add detailed facial features to their Rhinna cake pop.

For best results, use a liquid with high alcohol content.  The idea here is that the alcohol evaporates and the luster dust dries to the pop.

Regular, unflavored vodka is favored by most bakers.  Flavored alcohols tend to leave a sticky residue behind.  Lemon extract is also effective, however, this may add a hint of flavor depending how much you use.  If you’re in the UK, Rhubarb & Rose recommends using rejuvenator spirit, a food grade iso-propyl alcohol.

To mix your “luster paint”:

  • Use a small bowl with a small surface… the larger the surface, the mixture will spread out and evaporate before you get to painting. A small painter’s palette works great.
  • Use an eye-dropper to add alcohol to the luster dust – you really don’t need all that much.  You can always add a few drops more to get the consistency you desire, however, it’s very hard to go backwards from over-saturated luster dust.
  • Mix the alcohol and luster dust together. You’ll want it to have a smooth, blended consistency.  If you’re getting lumps, add a drop of alcohol and keep mixing.
  • Once applied, the “luster paint” will dry in just a few minutes.  
  • Try not to handle the painted areas to heavily, as it can smudge when touched. 

Happy painting!