Ask Me Anything – Post 3

Ask me anything is a weekly post where I answer any questions you may have about me. Cake decorating related or not 🙂

When you are pricing a cake do you give each individual flower a dollar value or do you charge an hourly rate?

Personally I charge all my decorations at an hourly rate because that is the best way for me to work out the true cost of the cake. With that said, I also don’t sell them separately.

I would like to know how you make your chocolate ganache. Tips & Tricks!

Dark chocolate ganache is a 1:2 ratio – 1 part cream to 2 parts dark couverture chocolate.

White chocolate ganache is a 1:3 ratio – 1 part cream to 3 parts white couverture chocolate.

If it’s a smaller batch (less than 1.5kg of chocolate), I find it’s easiest to place the cream and chocolate in a container and microwave it all together.

If it’s a bigger batch, I find it’s easier to heat the cream over the stove and then pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit and melt the chocolate and then stir with a whisk to combine.

Then I also use a hand mixer to go through the ganache one last time before letting it set for a day.

I especially love your lustre-finished cakes. It looks to me as though they are not airbrushed and I assumed you paint your lustre on. If this is the case, would you be willing to share what kind of brush you use and the technique for applying the lustre? Also, how do you create your lustre solution?

I don’t use a particular special brush or anything for lustring as long as it’s wide, flat and soft it will work well (in my opinion). You will also need a relatively good quality puffy brush to blend in the lustre. Mine is the puffiest make up brush I could find. Try not to get the really cheap ones as I find that the hairs tend to fall out when you use it.

I mix the lustre with cake decorating alcohol and then brush it on to the cake. I tend to brush in one direction and wait until the area is just damp, then I use the puffy brush to buff over the area. I use a circular motion with medium pressure – just imagine you are brushing your face 🙂

The lustre mixture should not be too runny. It should be a thicker mixture but not so thick until it becomes a paste. The runnier it is, the more coats you might have to apply on the cake.

Is ok to use something like gin or vodka to mix the lustre dust for painting cake like the silver and gold ones you have made and have you tried the new already mixed gold or silver glaze that is now on the market, if so does it work well?

I have only tried using vodka once with the lustre and I find that is doesn’t dry as fast as the cake decorating alcohol. Although it works, I have found it does not work with the same technique I use above (the buffing) because the alcohol does not evaporate as quickly.

Unfortunately, I have not tired the new gold and silver glazes so I can’t really say if they work better than the technique I currently use.

How can I achieve a true silver cake?

You will need to use a silver lustre and the technique above or airbrush the cake. There are many different types/shades of silver so the final silver on the cake depends on which brand you use.

If you’d like to ask a question feel free to email me ( or send me a message through Facebook.

18 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything – Post 3

  1. I always need a border where the tiers meet to hide the gaps…how do you get your’s so perfect..the tiers seem to flow into the next with no border…please help…ps your work is amazing thanks

  2. Sharon, I am so excited to see my post and your answer! I shall be lustering every cake that comes through my kitchen from now on! Thank you SO very much for sharing this fabulous technique with us.

    Lesley x

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your talents. I used your suggestions for painting on the luster dust and it was so pretty. I would have been pulling my hair out trying to get rid of the brush strokes without that make-up brush tip. Thank you so much!

  4. Absolutely beautiful cake! Which brand and colour of lustre dust did you use for the gold? Is it champagne gold? Thanks!! 🙂 x

      1. Thanks for your reply! The only one I can find is a non-edible one with that brand name? I’m looking to recreate that colour but can’t find it!.

  5. Thank you for sharing your expertise!… That’s wonderful that you would take the time to help out others. My question is.. Is Luster Dust editable. If not then how would you serve the cake.

    1. Hi Toni, yes it usually should be just ensure you check the packaging so that it says it is edible. If it just says non-toxic then it is probably safe but best to avoid eating much if possible. If you are not sure you can remove the fondant before serving.

  6. Obrigado por partilhar as suas experiências….
    Adorei tenho um bolo de casamento e tenho de o pintar de dourado (gold)
    Espero conseguir. 🙂

    1. Hi Lisa, I use gum paste for all my flowers and I have a few tutorials on my store with a lot more details at 🙂 Every flower is different so it’s such a broad question and impossible to answer in such a short space.

  7. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful tips.Being a novice baker,can I ask why does my cakes always have an uneven colour like round patches around the bottom and sides and it’s oilier or soggy at the bottom of the cake?I do use an oven thermometer to monitor the temperature.Thanks Sharon

    1. Hi Teresa, I don’t usually use a thermometer. It sounds like maybe it is not fully mixed so that some parts are drier than others when it goes into the oven. I also bang the pan on the bench to ensure that everything has settled properly. Try also rotating the cake half way through cooking because some ovens have cold spots. Also if it’s just one recipe you could try another.

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