There’s a magic ingredient in cake preparation; a secret ingredient that is at once so obvious and unobtrusive that it is often overlooked: colour!
Colour is often seen as an add-on, a bit of extra spice that can easily be done without; when actually, colour affects you physically just as surely as that deliciously sweet bite of chocolate cake. The forerunner in the race between your senses – you see colour before you see or taste anything else – it has the power to change your mood and outlook, completely altering the way you evaluate something.
Keeping this in mind, colour is a crucial element to cake decorating. It sets the mood of the cake and a slight change can drastically alter the entire feel of the design transforming a soft elegant design to a playful, exciting creation or even reminiscent of a fancy ballroom. Colour is more than just a clever decorating technique, it is an important part of the design process.
It can represent soft vintage tones, bright colours of spring or a rustic woodland.
Colour is like a language, each one interacting with the other just as words and letters in any language do to create new meanings either side by side or merged together:
Red is the colour of passion and desire, and a pure red will come to the forefront in any design.
Blue is the colour of calm serenity, but also of communication and intelligence. It tends to recede into the background, just as blue mountains stand away in the far distance.
Yellow means optimism, friendliness, and the warmth of sunshine; and orange can mean warmth, fun, and perhaps sensuality.
Green speaks a language of harmony, balance, and refreshment.
How much colour is too much colour? We’ve all had experiences with mixes of colours that leave us overwhelmed and confused; the varied messages clash. When we think “too much colour” we often really mean clumsily chosen colour, put together in ways that just don’t fit.
Using colour artistically to create masterpieces that are a feast for the eyes (as well as on the tongue!) is fine art. It is important to ensure the colour is not only balanced, but alludes to the desired feel and tone.
When it comes to cake decorating, three colours are not a crowd; in fact, that third player harmonizes the two outliers and brings them together into a cohesive whole. Colour schemes that utilize three colours can offer fine nuances in meaning or mood, and provide a more exact and perhaps gentler form of expression than just one or two colours might.
Colours that go together in nature often go together beautifully in design: the brown of tree trunks with the delicate pink, blues, or yellows of woodland flowers; the golden yellow of sun in a deep blue sky; or the riotous glory of pinks, yellows, and oranges framed by grey blue in a sunset. Some of the most beautiful cakes are cakes that borrow inspiration from the natural world, often using those same colour combinations in unexpected but highly successful ways.
Enjoy browsing through our galleries of cake images to see more examples of colour usage and the way a new palette can completely transform a design. The way a stately, dignified three layer transforms into a dashing, playful centrepiece and from there to a beautiful cake exuding rustic woodland loveliness.
It’s all about the colour scheme.
Written by: Hannah Mosher
Edited by: Caitlin Mitchell