With just one simple trick, you can add glitz and glam to any buttercream-topped treat. The secret: luster dust. You may have already used it with fondant, but it’s just as fast and fun to play with when you have buttercream on hand — so long as you do it right. Here are some things to keep in mind when bedazzling your buttercream.
Do: Use Luster Spray
Luster dust comes in a few different forms, but luster spray is the easiest and most pain-free way to make your buttercream shine. If you try to brush luster dust onto your buttercream (like you would with fondant), your brush would get covered in buttercream and mess up your design. The spray allows you to airbrush on the sheen and keep your piping perfect.
To use the luster spray, place your cupcake onto a piece of parchment paper. Hold your spray bottle 7″ to 10″ away from the buttercream and spray using a sweeping motion.
Pro Tip: If you’re adding luster spray to something larger than a cupcake (like a whole cake), we highly recommend using a turntable.
Don’t: Sprinkle Luster Dust
Instead of hunting down luster spray, you may be tempted to just sprinkle on the luster dust you already have. But that doesn’t work as well as you’d think. If you look closely at the image above, you’ll find the shimmer is concentrated in certain areas and rather splotchy. Sprinkling the dust makes it hard to control, and you won’t get the full coverage you want.
Do: Use the Right Luster Dust Brush
If you decide to go the brush route, you must make sure it’s the right one. You want your brush to be large and fluffy, so it covers a larger area and the chance of uneven application is lower. Also, let your frosting set a bit before bringing the sparkle — while it’ll still be tricky to not make a mess, doing so will up your odds of success.
Once your frosting is ready, pour a small amount of dust into a bowl, swirl it around with your brush and gently tap it over your buttercream. Make sure you tap — if you brush in sweeping motions it’ll distort your buttercream.
Pro Tip: Just like with most supplies, always opt for good quality brushes. You don’t want the bristles to come loose and stick to your buttercream. Feel free to use makeup brushes, so long as they’ve never been used and are food-safe.
Don’t: Mix Luster Dust Directly Into Buttercream
If you try to mix the luster dust into your buttercream, the sparkle will get lost in the frosting. Sparkle only works as a coating or sheen; it needs to sit on top so the light can hit it in all sorts of glorious ways.