Faye Cahill of Faye Cahill Cake Design is an award-winning cake designer known for her beautiful and elegant cake designs as well as her great products that help cake decorators emulate her designs easily. Here she answers your wedding cake questions.
Q: What is the best way of getting black when colouring fondant?
A: I would recommend buying pre-coloured black fondant. It takes a lot of paste colour to make black from white fondant and the result will be very sticky. An alternative is to buy chocolate fondant and add the black paste as less colour will be needed. After covering in black, I like to give a spray with black airbrush colour to get rid of any cornflour marks and give a deep velvety finish.
Q: What is the best way to clean an airbrush?
A: I’m not an airbrush expert. I clean mine by filling with water and spraying with full force until the water is gone. Repeat until the water runs through clear. If the gun is blocked, it may need to be disassembled and cleaned, paying particular attention to the needle. Wipe it clean and remove any build up of colour.
Q: I struggle to apply gold leaf, do you have any tips?
A: The main tricks are to use transfer sheets rather than loose leaf and to get a feel for the right amount of tackiness on the fondant before applying. I brush on water then blot with a tissue to make the surface sticky but not wet and slippery.
Q: How can I keep sugar embellishments such as pearls attached to fondant? They keep falling off!
A: It’s better to apply these when the fondant is soft. Dot piping gel on the cake with a fine brush and press the bead into the surface to adhere it. If the fondant is already dry, you will need to use royal icing. It’s harder to get a nice clean look where the royal icing is not visible after attaching. Keep the royal icing as minimal as possible and a little stiffer rather than softer so it holds more weight.
Q: What is the best way to keep a colour bright when colouring fondant? My fondant keeps looking faded.
A: Some colours do fade after colouring particularly pinks, blues and purples. If this is happening, the fondant needs to be kept covered after applying to the cake. Box up your finished cakes after decorating and instruct customers to leave in the box until just before the party. It may help to do a light airbrush or painted alcohol wash over colours that might fade. The colour will stay fresher looking for longer.
Q: What is the best way to remove food colouring off hands after colouring fondant?
A: I tend to just wear my coloured hands out and find that the colour fades fairly quickly. If needed, I use a scourer to scrub them and this usually removes most of the colour.
Q: Should I be worried about ingredients in bright colours?
A: Food regulations are very strict, so if a colour is approved for food then there is no need to worry. In an average piece of cake, there would be no more colour than you would find in a few lollies or other food products.
Q: What is the best way to colour chocolate?
A: To mix into chocolate, use a powder or oil based edible colour. A really cool option is to colour the outer surface only with edible lustre or edible metallic leaf. To use lustres, they can be dry brushed on for a more subtle shimmering look or mixed with alcohol and painted on then polished with a dry brush for a strong metallic effect.
Q: Should I use glitter on my cakes?
A: Mostly no. Almost none of the glitter products sold for cake decorating are actually edible. Most are labeled ‘food touch approved’ which means that any used on cakes need to be removed before serving. I feel there is too much risk of them being ingested. While non-toxic, they are micro plastics that are not suitable for eating and are also bad for the environment.