How to create a watercolor effect on fondant – watercolor roses and silver leaf cake

How to create a watercolor effect on fondant – watercolor roses and silver leaf cake

I am Ashlee Marie and today I am make this hand painted watercolor double barrel silver leaf cake. Let’s get started. My cakes are all baked and then frozen and now out of the freezer and now we are going to level them all. And I just leave them in the plastic to do this part, because the knife just cuts right through the plastic, so that is not a problem. So, hold your knife in place and let the turntable do the work for you. Once you get around once, and it has met up, you should have a nice straight line. Now if you are using a box cake mix, I would leave the plastic on top because box mixes tend to get really tacky and sticky, especially when they are frozen and then thawed, so that will keep your hand clean. And then just keep going around, letting the turntable and the knife just do the work for you, nice and level. There we go. I like to level both sides so that when you cut into the cake, you are not seeing that darker edge on the inside. And repeat. Now it’s time to frost and stake our cakes. So, I am using white chocolate ganache. I am going to put a little bit right on the base of the cake plate and then we are going to start stacking our cake. Make sure it is centered, because you are not going to want to try to center it later. Put some of this white chocolate ganache on your cake. Now white chocolate ganache is a little bit trickier than regular chocolate ganache in that most white chocolate isn’t really chocolate, so you want to one: make sure that you use really high quality chocolate and two: instead of the normal 2:1 ratio that I recommend for ganache for frosting, I use a 3:1 ratio. Now, I am making a double barrel cake today, meaning this is one full cake and we are going to put another full cake right on top of it that is the exact same size. It will be double the height, double barrel. Now if I just stack the next three layers right on top of this, it would actually collapse under all that weight. So, we need to build an internal structure. So, I have some dowel rods, you can also use straws. And not going into the center because we are going to have a dowel that does that later, but over here on the outside, we are going to put one of these dowels all the way through. Mark where it is at the top of the cake, pull it back out and then taking some cutters that I only use for cake, we are going to find that line that we just made and we are going to cut it. I tend to cut away from the cake so it doesn’t accidentally get in there. Make a couple more that are the same height as that first one. So, line them up, use it as a guide. So, after they are cut, you should have four dowel rods all the same size. We are going to put the first one back in, second one across the way, and then on the other ends. And then that way we know that it is perfectly level even if my frosting is not perfectly level. Now, take you cake plate and put it right in the middle. Now I used a cake plate that is slightly smaller than the cake itself, that gives me some room, but now I have this little lip right here, and so I am actually going to add some frosting to make up the difference there and put that next cake layer on top and then just keep going. And thus, our double barrel cake. Now we are going to cover the sides. Now it’s time to cover our cakes with fondant or fondant however you want to say that. So, this is my top tier that I have covered with some chocolate ganache and I have rolled out some fondant already as you can see, it is just under 1/4 of an inch thick. I prefer to roll out my fondant on the thicker side. I feel like it is easier to put it into place and get it nice and smooth, when it is thicker to begin with. Just keep turning and working and turning and working and turning and working. Now because our fondant is on the thicker side, it actually becomes easier to push it back into itself and that helps get rid of ripples and wrinkles. And once you have it more or less in place, we take our fondant smoothers and work that around. I always have two, because one you can hold the top of the cake with without getting handprints while you work the other one. So, we are going to take out knife and put it right under our cake board and cut around. Now, this first time, we just kind of cut fairly loosely, we are not trying to make it perfect this time. Just trying to get all that extra fondant off. Alright now if you want really sharp corners, what you want to do is flip your cake upside down actually and then you can work your fondant smoothers along the side and help push that fondant with gravity and push it down into the top and that will give you nice sharp corners. Once you are happy with that, when it is upside down like this, this is a great time to even and smooth that fondant. For this top tier, we are going to add some silver leafing. Now I have an entire video all on how I do the gold and silver leafing, with a ton of tips and tricks, so, I am not going to do that right now. I am just going to go ahead and move forward and get to the watercoloring. Watercoloring on fondant is similar to regular watercoloring, except that fondant isn’t porous like paper is so while paper soaks up that water and helps create the effect, fondant doesn’t and so in order to make fondant porous, we are going to use clear alcohol instead of water. Water just gets slimy on fondant and slips of and it is not going to give you the same effect as if you are using that alcohol that will help eat away the fondant and help it soak in giving it a smore similar effect to watercolor. But personal preference, you can use clear vanilla, that has a high alcohol content. You can use almond extract, that has a high alcohol content. Obviously, regular vanilla also has a high alcohol content, but because it has the color in it, it is not going to work as well and of course vodka is a great option as well. They all have about the same alcohol content in them, so they are all great ways to go. Remember, the alcohol is going to evaporate off and what you are left with will just be the pigment from the color after it evaporates. You can just do brush strokes, right. If you add more alcohol to it, it will get lighter or eat away the color. If you go with more gel, you will get a stronger shade. And if you get too much on and you are not happy with it, just take your paper towel and you can either dab up a whole bunch, like that or you can just wipe away a little bit. Alright, so what you want to do is roll out some fondant and we are going to use this a practice. Now I prefer to let the fondant dry a little bit when I am watercoloring on. Fresh fondant doesn’t take to the watercoloring quite as well as slightly dried fondant. So, first I covered my cake with fondant and now I am letting it rest on the side and when I was done with that, I rolled out some extra fondant and then I am using that as my practice, so I in no way profess to be an amazing watercolor artist, if anything, I am just kind of winging it. It is really more about the look that you want. So, the more alcohol that you add, the thinner and lighter it will be. The more you get closer to the gel, the stronger your pigment will be. I like to add a little bit of that stronger color on the outside of each of my petals to give it a little bit more definition, but this is really when it just comes down to you. You don’t even have to make flowers. You can just watercolor blurs all over your fondant. I have done that in many cakes as well. So, but make sure that you practice to know what look that you are trying to achieve before you start on your final cake. So, once you feel confident in your practicing it is time to start putting it on the real cake. Wish me luck. So, the difference between working on your practice sheet and working on the real cake, other than the fact that one is a final product and one can be redone over and over again; is that you are working on the side of the cake usually and here, if I added too much liquid to my brush, I would actually cause a lot of drips on my cake and there is not a lot you can do about it. So, make sure when you are doing your practice run, that you remember not to go too wet or that will cause problems when you then try to do that same technique on the side of the cake. Little by little by little is pretty much everything that I do in cake decorating. Add a little bit, see if you like it, add a little bit more, see if you like it and then keep going from there. Don’t try to do all of it at once. Don’t try to rush it. Start on the back of the cake because if you mess up your first flower or two, it won’t be quite as big of a deal, and work your way towards the front, so that you feel super confident, by the time you get to the part of the cake that everyone is going to see the most of. The great part about this watercoloring techniques is that you just keep layering. If you get it too dark, get some more vodka or alcohol on your brush and wipe some off, or right here I am using a dry brush and I am wiping some off. If it is too light, get a little bit more color and add a little bit more. You can really create layers with this. I will recommend not going too much though. It is really easy to get caught up in trying to make it perfect and when you try to make it perfect, for me personally, at least, I find that I end up causing more problems than just stopping when I hit a really good point. And then make sure to add your leaves. I layer a couple different shades of green onto mine and then make your next flower and keep going around until you are happy. You can go with a lot more flowers, a lot less flowers and of course, you don’t have to flowers at all. Again, you can just use this watercoloring technique to make a mish mash of colors, which I have done on cakes before and I really enjoy the effect of. So, now this is finished. And we are ready to add our top tier. So, just like we did on the lower tier, we want to make sure that we give this some strength so it will hold the next tier up. So, again, avoiding the center because we are going to use that in just a second, we are going to go off to the side, push this until we hit that cardboard, mark it, pull it out, and cut it. Now, we are going to take one really long one. It is going to go all the way through this cake and we will go through the next one, put it straight down the center. When you hit that cardboard circle, you have to push a little bit harder and it should go just right through it. You can just kind of knock it a little bit. There we go. I will often precut that hole, so that I don’t have to do that, but sometimes I forget. Alright. So, there we go. Obviously, this cake definitely has back. Double barrels are a little bit hard so I actually wrapped the fondant around it so we are just going to pretend that that is not there. Leave that right there like that. It is all finished. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and try some of the techniques, the double barreling, the watercoloring, the silver leafing. All together it just makes a beautiful cake and it is really not that hard. In the comments, down below, don’t forget to let me know if there is a special cake or technique that you want to learn and you want to see. Don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss anything and thank you so much for watching.


  1. When you want ti freeze cake before decorating, when would use the simple syrup on it. Before you freeze or when you decorate?

  2. I loathe covering cakes in fondant. Lol. But I found adding crisco to the fondant stops the tearing and elephant skin. Your cake is so pretty. Love the watercolour painting. Wish I had the nerve to do it 😊 I would love to see different ways to do a bark/tree effect on fondant. Have a. Great day. Xx

  3. I've just seen a coupple of your vídeos and i have learn a lot!!!! thank you el much for sharing!!!! (by the way, you got a new subscriber) 😉

  4. Cake is very pretty. However, when you're charging a customer, they do not care if covering a double barrel cake is hard. I would not deliver a cake with a massive flaw like that. Instead, take some fondant and mix it with water to make a paste. Then you glue the seams together as much as you can, and rub the paste in until it creates a seamless cake. I can't imagine a customer being okay with that massive seam, regardless of whether it is on the back of the cake. People pay great money for 2 tiers, I would be upset if my cake arrived that way.

    I have started over before to ensure a paying customer recieves a cake that is worth their money.

  5. Have you ever frozen a cake that you've done this technique on? I'm wanting to use it for a cake, but the client is taking it to another state, so I need to freeze it. I'm worried the design will be a mess with condensation.

  6. What happens with the dowel Rods when you cut the cake? Do you hit them? Or give Someone a piece with a wooden rod in it?

  7. I enjoyed your tutorial.  Would it be possible to hand paint on a cake iced in buttercream?  If so, do you offer tutorials on this?  Thx

  8. OMG the cake is so beautiful!! Just like you 😄 The tips and tricks you mentioned are a big help. Thank you so much for that! Keep up the good work. God bless you 😚

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