There are many ways to add sparkle to your icing. Some products must be sprinkled onto wet icing, while others need to be brushed on. Knowing which type to use will depend on the look that you are going for. Powders that are brushed on will give the icing a shimmery appearance. Larger, courser glitters will help to catch the light. Some of these glitters, but not all, are FDA approved. Be sure to check each individual product before using for decoration.
These products must both be sprinkled onto wet icing. They look very similar but glitter flakes have a cornstarch base so the color appears less opaque than edible glitters. Both of these types of glitters come in a variety of colors including gold and silver and even some shapes. With both of these, using a color on white icing will add a nice ‘pop’ of color. Try sprinkling white glitter onto white icing to make a beautiful snowy effect. These products are safe for consumption.
Glitter dust contains the same ingredients as edible glitter but is much, much finer. It will add a hint of sparkle to your icing. This product can be brushed on or sprinkled onto wet icing. Edible glitter dust comes in an assortment of colors including metallic gold and silver. Like the glitter flakes and edible glitter, edible glitter dust is also edible.
Disco dust, also known as fairy dust or mystical dust, gives an extreme glittery look to icing. It comes in a wide variety of colors, from iridescents to bright metallic colors. These dusts must be applied by sprinkling onto wet icing. Although they are non-toxic, they are not FDA approved, and should not be used as food product. Disco dusts can be applied to icing decorations that are to be removed before eating the cake.
These powders come in an assortment of finishes. There are petal dusts which have no shimmer, just matte color. Luster and pearl dusts combine color with a soft shimmer. Sparkle dusts have larger specks of glitter. Platinum dusts are shimmery with just a hint of color. There are also highlighters which are very metallic. These dusts are meant to be brushed on dry, or mixed with clear alcohol to be painted on. They are too fine to be sprinkled over wet icing. Some of these dusts have been FDA approved and others are meant for decorative use only. Check with each color first before applying to icing.
When dusting with these powders, be sure to use a soft bristled brush. There are also brushes that allow you to put dust into the brush and then pump to dispense even amounts of dusting powder. When applying to buttercream flowers, place flowers in freezer to completely set up. Take one out at a time and quickly dust with powder. Allow royal icing flowers to air dry at least 8 hours before dusting.
Sanding sugars and crystals are another great way to add sparkle to your icing. Sanding sugar is a little bit larger than regular granulated sugar and smaller than sugar crystals or course sugar. The larger the grain, the more sparkle the sugar will have. Sanding and course sugars come in a variety of shades and colors as well as metallics. To apply to buttercream, evenly sprinkle over uncrusted icing. If icing has crusted, or if using fondant, brush a thin layer of piping gel onto icing first. These colored sugars are safe to use as edible decoration.