A guide to hand painted wedding cakes

A guide to hand painted wedding cakes

Hand painting is proving to be one of the newest trends in the wedding industry in recent years with a rise in watercolour and illustrated stationery and even hand painted ombre wedding dresses.  So of course, hand painted wedding cakes are becoming increasingly popular too.

Why choose a hand painted wedding cake?

There are countless reasons why you might choose a hand painted wedding cake.  You can add a splash of colour to an otherwise plain white design.  When coupled with sugar flowers, it can give a beautiful depth to a design.  Or you can use it to completely personalise with a portrait of the couple, their favourite place to go or even their proposal.  The possibilities are endless.

As with normal painting, there are plenty of techniques, styles and materials to choose from depending on the type of look you are going for.   My particular favourite is watercolour – mixing edible petal dusts with clear alcohol. It is best applied to a white or light cream sugarpaste base and can be used to create a large colourwash effect or for more detailed work.



By mixing the edible dusts with melted cocoa butter, you can create a similar effect to using acrylic paints. This is perfect for applying paints onto a darker background or to just increase the strength of the colour.




Lastly, the edible paint can be applied via an airbrush.  This can be a perfect way of covering a large area and eliminates brush marks.  It is perfect for creating a subtle ombre effect and is also for layering colours.




Hand painting can also be used to create depth to a textured surface.  My birch effect wedding cakes are created by first texturing the sugarpaste with a cheese grater and knife to create the knots and cracks.  By then applying a light edible watercolour wash in varying colours, the texture of the sugarpaste is highlighted to produce a wood-grain effect. Dry dusts can also then be added to further enhance knots.


Things to consider when choosing a hand painted wedding cake

Can your supplier actually do what you want?  As creatives, we are always up for a challenge but can your supplier realistically achieve the look you are asking for.  For instance, I have recently been if I could paint the Birth of Venus onto a wedding cake. Now, I am no Botticelli and whilst I am quite a good artist, there may even be some limitations to what I can achieve (although I would love to give it a go).  It may be that you need to find a different supplier who can achieve the result.  Or perhaps, your design is just a little too ambitious and needs tweaking slightly.

Think about the type of cake that you want.  If you don’t like sugarpaste, you may be considering a different covering such as ganache or buttercream.  This may affect the type of painting effect that can be achieved.  For example, you cannot achieve fine details on buttercream as the surface is too soft.  However, you could have an airbrushed effect.  Again, discuss your requirements with your chosen wedding cake designer and they will put you right.

Are they expensive?

As with all wedding cakes, the majority of cost is incurred in the decoration and the time taken to do it.  So a cake with lots of intricate sugar flowers will obviously cost more than one without. The same can be said for hand painted wedding cakes – obviously the more detailed and difficult the design, the higher the cost will be.  Don’t be afraid to discuss your budget with your supplier and get their advice on how to achieve the look you want at a price you can afford.  For more information on the factors affecting wedding cake prices, check out this useful blog 

As you can tell, hand painted wedding cakes are my passion and the possibilities are endless.  There will be a design that will  match any colour scheme, theme and they are perfect way to add personality and individuality to your wedding cake.

And when I haven’t got the opportunity to paint on cakes, I love to just paint in general and who knows, my two latest creations may appear as prints in my Etsy shop soon.  I’ll leave you with Wilbur and Boris, who are now smiling down from my lounge wall and will greet anyone who comes for a consultation.