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This article was taken from our December 2020 Issue Buy this issue now

Ask the Expert: Sophia Fox

Sophia Fox

Sophia Fox is an award-winning cake designer with a talent for painting incredible designs on her tiered cake creations.

To find out more about Sophia and her work, visit here!

Q: What are your top three tools for painting on cakes?

A: Cerart brushes (choose brushes with good quality bristles like makeup brushes), Magic Colours edible dusts and Wipeouts.

Sophia Fox

Q: Should I let sugarpaste dry before painting? If so, for how long?

A: This depends on which painting technique you are using. If using my signature painting style, with only dusts, yes, let sugarpaste dry overnight after covering the cake (8-12 hours) to let the moisture dry and disappear. But if painting with watercolour style or cocoa butter, paint after covering the cake.

Q: How can I ensure I get depth and tone when painting?

A: Use good edible dusts. I use Magic Colours for painting – they are the best. Then you need to really understand the painting you are going to do. Use the correct colours and always paint shadows. Doing this, you add the saturation needed. Shadows should always be done with a darker colour of the one you are using or using deep brown or black.

Sophia Fox

Q: How can I make painted eyes look realistic and lifelike?

A: The eyes are always the most important part of a face painting. They should be ‘alive’. For that, I like to use Magic Colours Edible Metallic Paints. First, do the general painting of the eyes using dusts and a little vodka so you can paint all lines in a liquid form. Then, with only dusts, paint the main colours of the eyes. After, with metallic paints, add details like lines, shadows and the white spot reflected spot. For that, I like to use the Pearl colour. Because the colours are metallic, they capture the light and wet texture of the eyes.

Q: What are your tips for painting on chocolate?

A: I always use cocoa butter for painting on chocolate. I mixed melted cocoa butter with dusts so I can achieve good cover on chocolate. It´s like an acrylic painting style that gives time to play with the drawing and correct any parts, staying wet for the perfect time to paint.  Cocoa butter is the perfect ‘tool’ for painting on chocolate. With it, you can transform any edible colour to be applied directly on chocolate.

Sophia Fox

Q: When can I use white paint to highlight?

A: White paint should be applied on all the parts of the painting that reflect light. I add vodka or any colourless alcohol to white dust. If you want a really white part, add 2-3 coats of white paint. For subtle light, it´s perfect with just one coat. After one coat, the white will fade out and this is perfect for little details. A good painting is done by the composition of a lot of subtle details.

Q: How should I clean my brushes?

A: I always clean brushes with two methods. If I’m painting and want to use another colour on the same brush, I clean the brush with cornflour. I put it in the bristle and gently rub on paper towel until the colour disappears. After I finish a cake, I clean brushes like makeup brushes. I use a glove tool with rubber spikes and a brush cleaning solution. I gently rub the brushes in the glove with the solution until perfectly clean and then I pass them through water. Let dry completely before using again.

Sophia Fox

Q: What is the best way to paint on buttercream?

A: Paint with a palette knife technique using buttercream mixed with gels (I love this one). Or using ready to use paints colours some brands have, like Sweet Sticks Edible Art Decorative Paint or Colour Mill. These have a product composition perfect for painting directly on buttercream. Just make sure the cake is really cool and hard before painting.