My First Color Flow Project

April 8th, 2010 by Shawn Broda

For my nephew’s 12th birthday, he asked for a Beatles cake – as in, The Beatles! When I took a good look at the band’s logo, I consulted my expert cake decorator (thanks, Cora!), and we decided that Color Flow would be the best option. Color Flow is used to make detailed icing decorations you let dry and harden before positioning on your cake, pie or cookies. I’ve done Color Flow in classes and seminars, but this was my first real cake with Color Flow pieces. I’m happy to report that, by following the directions to the letter, it was a complete success!

Beatles Color FlowA few days before I was to decorate the cake, I prepared my Color Flow decorations. I started by taping my patterns to cake boards and covering them with wax paper. I also prepared two parchment bags, one with a Tip #2, another without a tip. I then followed the recipe included with the Color Flow container and made one batch of full strength Color Flow. I added a full 1 oz. jar of Black Icing Color to get a nice dark color for my logo.

First, I used full strength Color Flow and the bag with the #2 Tip to outline the logo. While that was drying, I continued with the full strength icing and made mini music note decorations. By the time I finished, my outline was set. To thin the icing for the flow in, I added a little bit of water at a time until it took a full 10-count for a dollop of Color Flow to sink back into the bowl. Using the tipless bag, I filled in the outline, then let everything dry for two days.

Shawn and JacobTime to put the cake together! The cake itself was a 9×13 sheet with an 8″ round on top, where I planned to create the logo. I iced everything in white using Wilton Decorator Icing (it’s all I use!), then used a Black Icing Tube to create the drum border. To keep the letters in the logo together, I used a sharp blade to cut out the wax paper around the logo – this allowed me to place the wax paper right onto the icing with the letters in exactly the right place. I finished up the cake with some writing, a few red embellishments, a border and the little music notes, and Jacob’s birthday cake was ready! I had enough cake batter to make a dozen cupcakes as well, so I used the extra music notes as icing decorations and sprinkled on some Rainbow Sparkling Sugars to jazz them up.

I can’t believe I’ve never experimented with Color Flow before. It was easy to make, easy to use, and helped me create exactly what I needed for this special project. Jacob loved his cake, and I am once again Auntie of the Year – at least until next year!

Shawn Broda Shawn is a Senior Class Marketing Manager for the Wilton Educational Marketing Department. She joined Wilton 15 years ago as a Product Development Coordinator, and learning how to decorate the Wilton Way was the best part of her training! In addition to working with customers in North America, Shawn also works with the International Sales team to expand Wilton Method classes around the world. Celebrations provide a common thread between cultures, and she is amazed and inspired by the excitement people have for Wilton products and programs, no matter where they live. Shawn loves cooking, baking and decorating, especially when she can share her creations with others.

14 Replies

  1. Cat says:

    Will the color flow eventually break down after being placed on the cake?

    • Shawn Broda says:

      Just like a royal icing decoration, the part of the Color Flow piece that touches the buttercream will soften a bit, but it won’t break down. I left the wax paper on the back of my piece because it was a black decoration going on white icing. I was worried about the icing color bleeding a bit, so I just played it safe. It really is a terrific medium to work with, give it a try!

  2. Doreen says:

    Nice job Shawn, I love color flow. It’s a technique that isn’t used enough.

  3. Roelof says:

    I am final, I am sorry, it not a right answer. Who else, what can prompt?

  4. Leslie says:

    VERY cute cake! Great job! 🙂

    I have made color flow letters for a cake I’m decorating this evening (I made the letters about a week ago, so they should be good and dry!)…. I’ve just learned to use Color Flow recently and have never actually placed it on a cake before. I plan to pour chocolate ganache over the cake, then attach the letters to the side of the cake with buttercream or royal icing. Which would you recommend, and do you think the letters should stay in place and not break down? If this isn’t a good option, I will probably need to make and use fondant letters instead! The cake will not be eaten/presented until tomorrow night, so the letters would need to hold up on the side of the cake for at least 24 hours if not longer!! 😉

    Thanks for the advice!

    • Shawn Broda says:

      Leslie, thanks for your comments! Here is some advice for your cake from the Wilton Decorating Room:

      If the cake is covered in ganache it probably should be refrigerated so the color flow pieces should not go on until just before she presents it. Even if not refrigerating on Ganache the pieces should not be put on until just before serving as they could start to get soft and break down. They can be attached with a little bit of piping gel brushed onto the back of them.

      Good luck with your cake!

  5. Carmelo says:

    I just started playing with color flow. Great article!

  6. christina says:

    The cake looks great! I just started decorating cakes and just tried color flow last night. The recipe says ” 1/4 cup and 1 tsp of water “…. I tried to mix it and it was very hard and not smooth… can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong? I added more water to it but I think it was too much… It was runny and didnt draw very well!

  7. Shawn Broda says:

    Thanks Christina! It does take a little trial and error to get used to Color Flow consistency. Beating it a low speed will help keep it smooth and prevent too much air from getting in. Full strength icing for outlines should be stiff like royal icing so that it holds its shape for your design. Color Flow crusts rapidly, so work quickly and keep your bowl covered with a wet cloth.

    When thinning it, I literally add water one drop at a time until it’s just right. An easy test as you add water is to spoon out a small amount and drop it back in the bowl – when it takes a full 10 count for it to disappear completely, it’s ready for flowing in your design. Humidity and temperature can affect all icing consistencies, so the results may vary between the seasons.

    For more Color Flow information, check out the below link. I’m sure you’ll do great with your next project!


  8. Meghan says:

    Love the cake!

    I cannot seem to get the color flow icing right? I made it exactly as directed but when I placed it in the bag it would NOT squeeze out the tip. I busted 2 bags then re-read directions & see that it says only parchment bags…I am using the regular disposable ones and wondering if this has something to do with it? I’m feeling a bit dumb here, I’ve frosted many cakes and cookies and for the life of me I cannot figure out what the problem is….

  9. Mike Dachuk says:

    I’ve never had much luck with colour flow in the past. I’m glad I found this though. It makes me want to try it again. I have an idea from my next cake that might work too!

  10. Jeff Denton says:

    I have been asked to make cake pops for a bridal shower. They want me to use sprinkles in the brides colors which are: burnt orange, plum and burgundy. Any ideas on if I can dye white ones or special order the colors?

  11. Rolyn says:

    You could try to dye sugar, the regular ine not the icing nor the caster type, with tiny drops of wilton icing colors then let it dry.

  12. Rolyn says:

    Sorry i meant the regular one not ine

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