This Sprayable Decoration Took My Cupcakes from Homemade to Professional in 30 Seconds

Pastry chefs have kept this secret close.

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April 15, 2021
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Delicious chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing and sprinkled gold sparkles on white porcelain plate on isolated white background. Mockup for your design. Close-up. Place for text.

Photo by: Svetlana Ustinova/Getty Images

Svetlana Ustinova/Getty Images

Sprinkles are an iconic cake topping, and with good reason: they’re effortlessly chic. Shake them on, and any sort of cake or cupcake is instantly ready to serve. However, they do evoke a very specific sort of nostalgia for kid’s birthday parties and ice cream cones dripping in the summer. Sometimes — probably after watching hours of mesmerizing buttercream on Instagram/TikTok — I want to decorate my creations in a way that’ll make people say ooh and ahh. At these times, I need to remind myself that even though I’ve memorized the way other people pipe buttercream rosettes, I am not, in fact, a professional pastry chef and mine will neither look as pretty nor completely cover my cake in a matter of 90 seconds. What is needed is a finishing flourish that’s as effortless as sprinkles but as impressive as something you’d see on a professional bakery’s Instagram account. And that, my friends, is where edible luster dust comes in.

I discovered luster dust at a magical baking store near my apartment in New York City called NY Cake. They have just about everything in that store, including an entire aisle filled with different tiny vials of colored, glistening powders — quite like something out of potions class in Harry Potter. After some research, I learned that luster dust is an easy way to add sheen to cake frosting. You can paint it on the outside of your cake with a tiny paintbrush or mix some into the frosting. Both of these techniques sound labor intensive to me, but I discovered sprayable edible luster dust online and bought some.

And a year or so later, I’m happy to report that sprayable luster dust is the cake decorating solution I had been looking for all along. Gently spray it onto of a cupcake or cake and the shimmery decoration will emerge in a gentle puff, settling evenly over whatever surface you’re decorating to create a light sheen. Spray it several times and you’ll achieve a more intense metallic look. Pull the trigger quickly, and you can concentrate the luster in a small area to create a pop of shimmer. And before you ask: the results do not look like a unicorn cake. They’re subtle, elegant and timeless, like attaching a piece of gold leaf to your creation (but without all the hassle and money). At this point, I own several different colors and love playing around with them, perhaps overlapping gold, orange and red to create a cake with sunset vibes. You get the picture. But are you ready to take your decorating game to the next level?

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