What do Van Gogh and cake decorators have in common? Clever use of palette knives to create beautiful art, of course!
Interestingly enough, acrylic and oil paints have a texture that is not completely unlike buttercream. So, if it can be done with paint on canvas, it can probably be done on a cake, too. What that means to cake decorators is basically this — you can totally ice a cake with a palette knife.
Painted cake via Craftsy instructors Valeri Valeriano and Christina Ong
You can learn to create pretty palette knife creations with Craftsy course Innovative Buttercream Cakes. Instructors Valeri Valeriano and Christina Ong will lead you through a series of methods for cake decorating with buttercream that are as stunning as they are innovative, including a tutorial for the spectacular sunflower cake pictured at the top of this post.
This collection of painterly cakes decorated using palette knives is a wonderful introduction to some of the creative ways in which you can transcend mere icing and create works of exquisite edible art!
Palette knife cakes with statement flowers
Palette knife painted cake via Craftsy member Avelina Kennedy
You can practically feel the breeze rustling the buttercream flowers and greenery on this cake. That sense of movement is the result of thickly applied buttercream in deliberately non-linear directions with a palette knife. The flowers festooned on the cake gently lead the eye up to a gorgeous statement flower, which acts as a lovely contrast to the more painterly forms on the cake layers themselves.
Palette knife painted square cake via Craftsy member Avelina Kennedy
Created by the same designer as the cake above, this lovely specimen of cake decorating features a more subtle sense of movement attained through gentle flicks of colored buttercream using a palette knife to cover three square tiers. It’s complemented with an arrangement of realistic sugar flowers with a bright peony statement flower topper.
Fine art cakes created with palette knives
Van Gogh-inspired cake via Craftsy member Avelina Kennedy
Remember how we mentioned that Van Gogh’s method was appropriate for cake decorators, too? This cake serves as vivid, colorful proof, with expertly applied buttercream to form a painterly interpretation of a Van Gogh image. An unusual arrangement of square and round layers adds to the appeal, making for a masterpiece that you can feast on visually and literally.
Tree cake via Craftsy member Lisa Duran
This cake may look like an impressionist rendering of a tree, but it’s completely rendered in edible elements. A palette knife is used in two primary ways: to create sweeping strokes of buttercream for a background, and in more tightly applied flicks to form the leaves and body of a tree. The overall effect is stunning.
Rustic buttercream with palette knives
Romantic cake via Craftsy member ladomingo1130906
A palette knife can be used to apply buttercream in a romantically rustic way. The purposefully irregular application along the layers of a two tiered cake can be attained using a palette knife; paired with rows of ruffly piping along the edges, it has a romantic, rustic look.
Ride the wave of whimsy with a palette knife
Wave cake via Craftsy member April Moffatt
Palette knives can also be used to attain a whimsical effect in your cake decorating. Generously applied blue and white buttercream swirls this way and that like wavy water thanks to a few flicks of a palette knife. Sprinkles add a sense of fun and whimsy, making the cake perfect for a child’s birthday party. A piped border using a basket weave tip along the bottom edge gives the cake a pretty and polished finish.