Cake Geek Premium: Creating Antiqued Effects

Antiqued effects are one of the most luxurious cake trends of the moment.

Achieve new depths of sophistication in your cake designs with these simple tips for creating elegant antiqued effects, and be inspired by over 50 of the best antiqued cakes designs specially selected for the first edition the Cake Geek Premium series.

To create these beautiful aged effects, the products used are:

  • edible gold leaf or silver leaf (purchase your sheafs of gold leaf on backing sheets, which will make it much easier to apply to your cake)
  • edible gold or silver lustre dust (can be used dry or mixed with clear alcohol such as vodka or lemon juice to make a paint mixture).

1. Gold & Silver Embroidery

The first of our favourite antiquing methods is gold or silver embroidery. The effect can be created using:

  • royal icing and traditional brush embroidery techniques, then painting over the piped design with gold or silver lustre once dry.
  • or using a cake stencil to create a lace effect, then overpiping the edges of the design to create an embroidered effect, again painting over the piped design with gold or silver lustre once it has dried. (The lace effect can be enhanced further by placing tulle fabric/mesh over the stencil before applying the royal icing in the style of cake designers, Gateau Inc).

(Beginners will find more on how to create brush embroidery effects in our previous feature on Lace Wedding Cakes Part 2, Lace Piping).

Cotton & Crumbs UK have created the supremely beautiful gold lace/embroidery cake below – simply exquisite against blush icing – using the Alencon Lace Border Stencil from the Evil Cake Genius brand.

1 gold lace embroidery cake by Cotton & Crumbs

New York’s Elegantly Iced have also selected a blush pink and gold palette for their beautifully antiqued trio of wedding cakes below, with the centre cake featuring a gold lace/embroidery side design (image by Charlie Juliet Photography via Style Me Pretty).

2 metallic gold lace wedding cake by Elegantly Iced via Style Me Pretty, photo by Charlie Juliet

Blush and gold is again the palette of choice for La Cupella Cake Design & Nana e Nana, Italy in their exquisite old world antique style cakes below, left and right respectively.


Stencilled lace is enhanced and antiqued with delicate gold-edged piping in the pretty floral cake design below by Custom Cakes Atelier, beautifully set against a gold lustred icing backdrop for a luxe finish.

gold lace piping Custom Cakes Atelier.jpg1

The Sugar Penguin Cakery have used gold and silver mixed metallics to wonderful effect in their embroidered design below, enhanced with silver dragees.

5 Sugar Penguin Cakery

Gold edged piping again creates a beautiful textured, antique design below in on-trend gold and white (image by Jose Villa via Style Me Pretty).

6 via Swooned Magazine

A second gold lace design from La Cupella features below against a backdrop of mint icing with a subtle rubbed gold effect and draped with vintage style robing.

7 La Cupella

Feathered gold icing embroidery creates an exquisite backdrop for a luxe gold sugar flower topper in the lavish wedding cupcake below by Yanira Anglada of Cake Therapy.

Cake Therapy, Yanira Anglada, a swirl of petals

Stencilled gold lace against a stylish white backdrop creates a beautiful gold flake effect in the design below by Melissa’s Fine Pastries (image by Marissa Lambert Photography via Elizabeth Anne Designs).

8 gold flaked wedding cake via Elizabeth Anne Designs

2. Antiqued Finishes

(a) Distressed Metallic Finish

A distressed gold or silver finish gives a wonderfully luxurious, aged effect to a cake design. To create the effect use a wide brush with stiffened bristles to apply gold of silver lustre paint (lustre dust mixed with clear alcohol or lemon juice) in either vertical or horizontal brush strokes (but not both).

Pavani Kaur of Firefly India has perfected the technique in her distinctive antique style cake designs (below left), with a beautifully horizontally distressed cake in silver by Shawna McGreevy of McGreevy Cakes, below right.

1 Firefly India left, antiqued silver leaf finish McGreevy Cakes

Two more examples of Pavani Kaur’s exquisite metallic/antiqued cake designs, below.

2 Firefly India highlighter dust mixed with vodka painted on with stiff brush

Beautifully antiqued sweets feature below left by Minnie’s Sweet Creations, with antiqued gold cookies by The Little Boutique Bakery on the right.

3 Minnie's Sweet Creations left, Little Boutique Bakery right

Suzanne Esper has created two splendid vintage gold wedding cake designs below, illustrating two different techniques for applying gold leaf – smooth gold leaf on the right, and flaking gold leaf on the left.

Gold leaf is normally applied by slightly dampening the surface of your fondant cake with a paintbrush, before applying the sheet of gold leaf and gently peeling off the backing sheet.

To achieve the distressed/flaking look, only apply water in streaks to the cake surface before apply the gold leaf. When you pull away the backing sheet, the gold leaf will have adhered to the cake in a patchy fashion creating an aged/distressed finish.

4 Suzanne Esper Cakes

Melissa Woodland Cakes have also created a similar effect in their wedding cake design below, which can be achieved also by painting lustre powder (mixed with alcohol or lemon juice) on to the surface of the cake, leaving spots and patches un-painted to create distressed finish.

5 melissa woodland cakes

(b) Gold Wash Effect

A very striking effect can be achieved in antique cake styling using a gold wash/gold bleed technique. Using a thin paintbrush and metallic lustre dust mixed with clear alcohol or lemon juice, apply the metallic paint in light downward brush strokes to create a watercolour or bleed effect. The Cocoa Cakery has created the splendid example below of this antiqued effect.

1 The Cocoa Cakery

Mint and gold is a fabulous antique colour palette with two beautiful examples of wedding cake designs incorporating a gold wash finish from Stevi Auble of Hey There, Cupcake (left) and Rachel Skvaril of The Fondant Flinger (right), in lighter and darker shades of gold.


Below right, a gold wash effect looks fantastic in a beautiful shade of old gold in a design by Kathy’s Little Cakery. On the left, a slightly different effect is created with heavier application of metallic gold lustre in a design by Ann Marie’s Cakes.

1 Ann Marie's Cakes left, Kathy's Little Cakery right

Horizontal brush strokes create another variation on the gold bleed technique below in cakes by Baked (Cheryl Ford Photography via Style Unveiled left) and by Sweet on Cake (below right), as well as the application of the metallic finish from the bottom up or the top down.

1 Cheryl Ford Photography via Style Unveiled left, Sweet On Cake right

A stippled effect can be created by applying a metallic paint with a sponge, with a pretty soft pink and gold wedding cake below by Cake Envy, Melbourne.

1 Cake Envy, Melbourne

A gold wash finish adds vintage gold splendour to these extravagant bridal cupcake toppers by Cakes by Angela Morrison.

gold wash cupcake toppers by Cakes by Angela Morrisson

(c) Rubbed Gold Finish

To achieve a rubbed gold finish, metallic gold lustre powder should be applied dry with a round brush in a circular motion in patches here and there on the cake surface.

The two glamorous cakes below by Let Them Eat Cakes, Canada (left) and Erica O’Brien (right, image by Katie Slater Photography via Glamour & Grace blog), have been antiqued with a rubbed gold/silver finish for an authentic vintage look.

1 Let Them Eat Cakes, CA left, Erica O'Brien right Katie Slater Photography, Glamour & Grace blog

The Flour Girl, Australia has created a terrific mixed metallics effect in gold and silver below – this finish can be achieved by layering colours: firstly painting small patches of gold lustre paint in spots onto the cake. Then before it dries, smear silver lustre paint over these patches and around the cake horizontally to create the mixed rubbed gold and silver effect.

The Flour Girl AU.jpg4

(d) Antiqued Buttercream Finishes

As with fondant, buttercream can also be given an antiqued finish with various techniques. In the cake design below, gold leaf has been applied to beautiful sea green buttercream.

While it is more difficult to apply gold or silver leaf to a buttercream surface, before you start make sure the buttercream has crusted over first. Gold or silver leaf works better with a textured buttercream finish instead of a smooth finish in that it’s difficult to apply gold or silver leaf to a smooth buttercream surface without leaving little indentations behind when you remove the backing sheet (image below by Awake Photography via Green Wedding Shoes).


Either Gold leaf or edible gold paint can be applied to buttercream to achieve the distressed gold effect similar to the the two masterpieces below by the Cake Whisperer (image by AMB Photo via Wed Luxe magazine).

mint wedding cakes

Jenna Rae Cakes create a beautiful rubbed gold effect on the textured bottom tier of the wedding cake design below with patches of gold lustre dust artfully applied creating a timeless vintage feel.

Jenna Rae Cakes

All Things Sweet by Carissa have created a striking design element with a circle of gold leaf dotted around the edge of the luxuriant celebration cake below.

All Things Sweet by Carissa

Buttercream cakes can also be sprayed with gold lustre to create an all-over vintage metallic effect, as in the wonderful cake design below, with floral details hand-painted over the dried lustre spray for further ornamentation (image by Joel Bedford Photography via Grey Likes Weddings).

Joel Bedford Photography via Grey Likes Weddings

3. Gold & Silver Edged Flowers

Delicate sugar flowers edged with gold or silver lustre/edible paint create a delicately feminine and eye-catching vintage cake embellishment. Cakes in Art have created the two fabulous examples below.

1 gold edged sugar flowers wedding cake by Cakes in Art

Karen Seay of Cakes in Art’s second example below.

2 gold tipped sugar flowers wedding cake by Cakes in Ar

Subtle gold lustre highlights the textured petals of the pretty sugar blossom cupcake toppers below.

3 All Things Shabby & Beautiful on Tumblr via Reverie Magazine

Maggie Austin’s elaborate antique wedding cake design below makes use of lots of gold dusting to add an elegant aged effect to the sugar blossoms. Gold-painted piped scrollwork adds to the magnificence of this old world cake design.

4 vintage wedding cake design by Maggie Austin

Mint and gold makes a perfect antique colour palette with a luxurious cupcake design below by Carina’s Cupcakes, including the rest of the accompanying candy-coloured vintage collection.

5 antique gold and mint cupcake by Carina's Cupcakes

Beautiful and timeless gold and white makes a glamorous antique style wedding cake below by The Cake That Ate Paris, accented with gold tipped floral decor.

6 gold tipped flowers by The Cake That Ate Paris

4. Antiqued Wafer Paper Accents

Wafer paper can be antiqued just as easily as fondant or gumpaste with a light dusting of gold lustre powder. Sift by Kara’s beautiful and striking cake creation below is a perfect example.

wafer paper flowers by Sift by Kara

The Whipped Bake Shop have also added a touch of vintage glamour to their wafer paper flowers with a hint of gold lustre powder.

Whipped Bakeshop wafer paper flowers (You’ll find a selection of wafer paper flower tutorials in our feature here: Wafer Paper Flowers).

Wafer paper is used to create a splendid sculptural addition to the fabulous vintage cake design below Sweet Lake Cakes, created by brushing gold lustre powder on an (artfully) torn sheaf of wafer paper.


5. Gold-Tipped Fondant Frills & Ruffles

Add a touch of vintage glamour to your fondant frill cakes by painting the upper edge of each frill with gold lustre, instantly adding a touch of old world charm to your cake. Steel Penny Cakes and CAKE have done just that with their exquisite cakes below, left and right respectively (image below right by Orange Turtle Photography via Project Wedding).

gold tipped frill wedding cake by Steel Penny Cakes maybe left, by CAKE, Orange Turtle Photography via Project Wedding right

Wendy Woo’s gold lace wedding cake (below left) is complemented with a gold tipped frilled tier, with The Cake Baketress also adding vintage wow to her cake design below right with gold tipped frills (image right by Rachel Solomon Photography via Wedding Chicks).


Subtle gold edging and gold tipped blossoms finish the elegant mint design below by Eileen Fry Cakes perfectly for an outstanding vintage celebration cake.

gold tipped fondant frills cake by Eileen Fry Cakes