Cakeb0t Cake Tech: How to Use Lights in Your Cakes

NathensCake 199x300 Cakeb0t Cake Tech: How to Use Lights in Your CakesHe blinded me with science!

When I make cakes, I almost always enlist the help of my husband, Anthony. He’s especially good at helping me with the technical aspects of my cake designs. In the Superhero Cake, we incorporated LED lights. I’ve asked Anthony to join in on writing Cakeb0t posts. He’s starting out on this post for the first in a new series of posts we’re calling Cakeb0t Cake Tech.  Go BHITW! -Binky

———–

Hi! Let me start this post off by introducing myself as Mr. Cakeb0t ^_^

I do a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff for Cakeb0t and help with the structure and supports for the 3D/Sculpted cakes.

Over time I’ll be introducing some (slightly technical) ways to enhance your cake designs and the best methods for supporting a cake.

As always if there’s something you don’t understand, feel free to ask in the comments.

ATAT cake w Lights Cakepower e1318002720611 Cakeb0t Cake Tech: How to Use Lights in Your Cakes

Awesome Star Wars AT-AT Cake with LED lights by Kate Sullivan at Cakepower!

Lights!

Lights are the perfect element to start working with when you want to add a little (or a lot) extra flare to your cakes. They are way easier to use than I thought – especially with the methods I’ll talk about in this post.

Where can you put the lights?

When you’re planning your cake, think about where you can work in some lights.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Point a spot light directly at a part of your cake to draw attention to an element. This makes for a nice effect with tall cakes, like “building” cakes or billboard-style cakes.
  • Use a light inside of the cake, behind a gumpaste or pastillage window, if it is a model of a car, house, building, or anything that would have an interior light. Interior lights can add a nice dose of realism and bring life to your design.
  • Make something glow with an internal light!  You can have more fun with this technique because there aren’t any real rules to follow. Try making a hollow object out of thin gumpaste and place the light inside. The light will illuminate the object making it glow. Very cool!

We used a light in the recent superhero cake for Nathen. The Batman lantern on top of the building is a simple gumpaste cylinder with an LED Floralyte (read on to learn about these) placed inside to make it glow.

What are the best lights to use?

You could use pretty much any light in a cake, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. How big are the lights? Are they small enough to fit inside something if you need them to – while still being powerful enough?
  2. How will you power the lights? Where will you put the batteries, and how will you connect the lights to the batteries?
  3. Does the type of light you’re planning to use get hot?
tiny LED bulb 300x225 Cakeb0t Cake Tech: How to Use Lights in Your Cakes

Closeup of an individual LED bulb

LEDs!

You’re probably familiar with incandescent and fluorescent lights – these are the two popular types of bulbs that you most likely use in your home. Neither of these would work well in a cake because they are bulky and they get hot.

A third type of bulb, called an LED, is the best to use with a cake. They are tiny, bright, and they stay cool!

The easiest way to start working with lights is to buy small self contained, battery-powered LEDs. There is no wiring to do, and they are disposable.

You just stick them where you need them, and you’re done!

Floralyte e1318003711998 200x85 Cakeb0t Cake Tech: How to Use Lights in Your CakesFloralytes

My favorite LEDs to work with are Floralytes. (Thanks Patti at Baked Ideas for turning us on to these!) I love these because they are super bright and last for 24 – 48 hours.

Balloon Lights

balloon light Cakeb0t Cake Tech: How to Use Lights in Your CakesFloralytes are a tiny bit bulky for some applications though, so you may want to use balloon lights (aka mini party lights) if you’re don’t have much room to work with.

Balloon lights are smaller – not much larger than the bulb itself – but aren’t quite as bright and only last about 8 hours.

LED spotlight Cakeb0t Cake Tech: How to Use Lights in Your CakesLED Spot Lights

These spot lights (and these) are also very easy to use. They have internal batteries and you just place them where you want them.

I think they have a cool industrial look, but they’re a little large, and the design may not work for every cake. Covering them in fondant, gumpaste, or modeling chocolate is a good way to change the look of these spot lights to match the theme of your cake.

LED String Lights Cakeb0t Cake Tech: How to Use Lights in Your CakesLED String Lights

If you’re the adventurous cake decorator and don’t mind running a few wires, you can get a great effect from LED string lights. You’ll need to do a little planning to figure out where you can run the wires along your cake.

Like the other types of lights, they are battery powered, but there is a separate battery box that you’ll have to hide somewhere in your cake.

The lights on the string are tiny, and there is no battery attached to the individual bulbs, so they can be used in even tighter spaces. They would look great as “outdoor” holiday lights on a gingerbread house ^_^

Have Fun!

Hopefully this post has introduced you to some new possibilities! Have fun experimenting and share your designs in the comments.

Be careful not to overuse them as they can look tacky. But used subtly they can take your cake design to a whole new level!

12 responses to “Cakeb0t Cake Tech: How to Use Lights in Your Cakes”

  1. I am learning a lot with your videos and your posts. Thank you very much!

  2. lighting would really enhance the cake.thanks for the info.you and binky are both gooood.

    best regards and maybe more videos, as they say, to see how you do it.

  3. I’m so glad you posted this. My son’s 18th birthday will be coming up in January and I’ll be making him a VW bus cake (I think he was born in the wrong era cuz he’s into 60′s & 70′s way more than the 00′s). So I’m going to use this tutorial and try to make the headlights actually light up. I’m new to cake designing, so I’m grateful for tutorials!!! Wish me luck :)

  4. where can i buy small self contained, battery-powered LEDs. please i am desperate

  5. I need your opinion about something. In March of next year I have to make my sons wedding cake and grooms cake. The bride wants to surprise him with the flux capacitor in cake … we want lights…but they have to be tubes…any suggestions?

    https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&sugexp=les%3B&tok=eBVxn1gZ3sLkfMmOUzcx5w&pq=flux+pavillion&cp=6&gs_id=t&xhr=t&q=flux+capacitor&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&biw=910&bih=444&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=UjZRUM_sK5Oi8gSSlYHYCA

    some photos in case you don’t know what it is.

  6. Hello,

    I have to make a fire engine cake very soon, what would be the best lights to use? ideally need flashing red lights for sirens and headlights also where could I get them from please?

    Many Thanks

    Sophie.

  7. This is very useful and helpful information! Thank you for sharing! :)

  8. Hey there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a tough time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

Leave a Reply