He 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.
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:
- How big are the lights? Are they small enough to fit inside something if you need them to – while still being powerful enough?
- How will you power the lights? Where will you put the batteries, and how will you connect the lights to the batteries?
- Does the type of light you’re planning to use get hot?
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!
Floralytes 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 Spot Lights
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
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 ^_^
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!