Artful Chocolate: How to Paint Flowers on Cakes

Ready for a cake that will really impress? Then learn how to use use powder food coloring as paint and chocolate as the canvas! I made use of a one-stroke painting technique — which even a beginner cake decorator could master!

Painted chocolate cake

Photos via Katrien’s Cakes

How to paint flowers on cakes


  • One round cake decorated with a chocolate collar
  • Clear alcohol such as gin or vodka
  • Flat-tipped square brush
  • Paint palette or the lids of plastic containers
  • Edible powder food coloring such as pink, white and green
  • A flower template of your choice, hand drawn or if copied from the internet make sure you’re not infringing on copyright laws
Chocolate painting tools

Tip: If you do not want to use alcohol on chocolate, experiment with mixing the powder coloring with oil or softened vegetable fat. To paint on fondant without alcohol mix powder or gel food coloring with piping gel.

Painting on chocolate step1

Step 1:

Cut out your flower template and hold it against your cake.

Painting on chocolate step2

Step 2:

Trace the outside of the template on the cake by scratching into the chocolate surface with a pin. Trace the inside lines by pushing the pin through the paper into the chocolate to leave pinholes (When using this technique on fondant, lightly indent the fondant with a pin rather than scratching through the surface).

Painting on chocolate step3

Step 3:

Repeat the tracing all around the cake, marking flowers into the chocolate wherever it suits you. Try to create a random pattern.

Double dipped paintbrush step4

Step 4:

To make your paint mixture, pour a small amount of powder food coloring into a paint palette or the lid of a plastic container, and mix each separate color with a few drops of clear alcohol until it has a thin paint consistency.

Dip each side of the brush into a different color, preferably dip one side into a dark color and the other side into a lighter color or white. Press the brush on your paint palette or the lid of a plastic container to force the paint into the brush. Dip each side of the brush into more food coloring every time you start a new stroke. With this method, you do not have to worry about highlighting certain areas or placing shadows as the paint mixture will create automatic light and dark areas.

Painting a flower petal step5

Step 5:

Hold the brush with the darker color such as pink paint towards the center of the flower and the lighter color or white paint towards the outside of the flower.

To paint a petal, hold the brush slightly diagonally, place the tip (the chisel edge) of the brush on the inside edge of the petal and then, while pivoting the brush from left to right, flatten the brush on the cake following a curved path. Paint with an up-and-down wiggling movement to form each petal and end upright on the tip of the brush. Fill in with more paint as necessary.

Blending colors while the paint is still wet works especially well on chocolate.

Dipping back-end in paint step6

Step 6:

Dip the back-end of your paintbrush into green paint and stipple small dots in the center of the flower to resemble stamens.

Painting dots step7

Tip: When using many different colors, the more brushes you have, the quicker you will be able to paint since you will not have to wash and dry the brushes between paint stages.

Painting leaf step7

Step 7:

Dip one side of your brush into green and the other side into white paint. Paint long diagonal strokes towards the center of the leaf, letting the colors blend and mix.

Painted stem step8

Step 8:

Also, paint a long green stem with one long curved stroke underneath the flower head.

Painted flowers step9

Step 9:

Repeat the steps to paint all the flowers, adding dark pink or red into the center of some of the flowers to create more depth, if you prefer.

How to fix a mistake:

Dip an ear bud into clear alcohol or water and wipe away the paint. You could also wait for the paint to dry and then paint new strokes over the previous ones.

Note: You do not have to limit yourself to painting on firm chocolate as this technique also works on modeling chocolate, plain ganache or fondant.

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