Airbrush Cake Decorating: Can You Airbrush Buttercream?

Last Updated on January 2, 2023

Airbrushing is a popular technique used to decorate cakes. It uses food coloring to create beautiful designs with an airbrushed cake decorating gun. It can be done using stencils or freehand. airbrush cake decorating

Airbrushing allows you to create designs and color patterns that would be difficult to make with just fondant or frosting. With a bit of practice, airbrushing can be an efficient and simple way to decorate cakes. It allows you to easily make ombre designs, fill in stencils, and create your own designs. However, one may wonder: can you airbrush buttercream?

Airbrush Cake Decorating: Are You Able To Airbrush Buttercream?

Buttercream is one of the most popular choices of frosting used to decorate cakes. Luckily, you can airbrush buttercream, opening up the possibility to create many different designs. This gives you the ability to airbrush and not have to use fondant, as not everyone is a fan of the taste of fondant.

Airbrush Cake Decorating: Are You Able To Airbrush Buttercream?

Airbrush Cake Decorating: How?

Since buttercream is more delicate than fondant, you must be careful when airbrushing it. Ideally, you want to hold the airbrush six to eight inches away from the cake, so you do not blow a hole in the buttercream. You also want to make sure that your air pressure isn’t too high since buttercream is delicate.

If you want broad, soft lines, hold the airbrush at a 45-degree angle. For sharper, more defined lines, hold the airbrush at a 90-degree angle. Some areas you may need to go over a couple of times to achieve a darker color.

Make sure to follow the instructions on your specific airbrush, so you are using it properly. This helpful tutorial will give you some tips to help you get started on airbrushing. This video also shows helpful tricks for airbrushing your cake.

U.S. Cake Supply – Complete Cake Decorating Airbrush Kit

Tips and Tricks

Before airbrushing your cake, you want to practice first to get your technique down. You can practice on parchment paper or even use coloring books. This will allow you to practice shading, lines, shapes, and using the pen.

When going to decorate your cake, you want to make sure you cover the surfaces around you. Airbrushes can splatter sometimes, so you should cover your counters and if you are concerned, cover your cabinets. Using old newspapers, paper towels or cardboard will do the trick.

Airbrush Cake Decorating: How?

Make sure to use your airbrush for only decorating food. You don’t want to use the same airbrush for crafts, as the paints used for that are not safe for consumption and you don’t want to risk any cross-contamination. You want to ensure that the colors you are using are food-grade and safe for consumption, such as food colors.

It is important to keep your airbrush clean. Cleaning your brushes after every use will help prevent splatters, and colors from mixing, and keep your airbrush working well.

You should also clean out your airbrush every time you switch colors while decorating. Simply pour some warm water into the airbrush and spray until the water comes out clear.

Most airbrushes have different speeds and pressure settings in them. It’s best to start on low pressure and speed and then work your way up from there.

Make sure to test out your colors before using them on your buttercream-decorated cakes. Some colors may spray out a different shade than it appears in the bottle. Spraying the colors on the white paper will show how the color will actually look.

Airbrush Cake Decorating: How? tips and tricks


Oftentimes, when airbrushing a cake, there will be a ring at the bottom where the coloring has settled. A simple way to cover this discoloration is to pipe a decorative border around the bottom of the cake.

To get the best look from using an airbrush, you want to make sure that your cake is frosted smooth. A simple way to do that is to use a spatula and a turntable. Carefully turn the table while running the spatula along with the cake.

Storing an Airbrushed Cake with Buttercream Frosting

If you are going to decorate a cake frosted with buttercream using an airbrush, it is best to do it as soon as possible before serving. A cake with buttercream can be stored covered at room temperature for two to three days and in the fridge for up to a week. However, the airbrush decoration might start to fade after a couple of days and it is best to not store it in the fridge.

Airbrush-decorated cakes do not hold up well in the heat. The heat can cause the food coloring to drip and run. This creates a messy cake and will mess up your airbrushed design. A cake that has been refrigerated and is then placed out in humid and hot weather will start to drip and run the fastest.

Airbrush Cake Decorating: Decorating Different Desserts

Buttercream frosting is a versatile frosting. It goes great with many different desserts including cakes, brownies, and cookies. In addition to cakes, you can also use your airbrush to decorate brownies, cookies, and cupcakes.

Stencils work great for decorating frosted cookies and brownies. Using stencils is an easy way to decorate and create beautiful designs. Airbrushing is also a great way to color cupcakes in several different shades.

Storing an Airbrushed Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Make sure that no matter what you are decorating, to cover the area with old newspapers or paper towels around you to avoid getting food coloring on your counters and cabinets. Food coloring can be very messy, so be prepared to clean up any spills and splatters that may happen, especially when you are first getting used to using the airbrush.

Can You Paint on Whipped Cream Frosting?

You absolutely can paint directly onto the whipped cream frosting. However, as it’s never usually as flat as other frosting types, such as fondant, I wouldn’t recommend this for beginners. If you do try this, it’s best to buy some artist-grade paint brushes before you begin, in a range of styles; including, thin, round, flat, etc.

Once you have a blank canvas of whipped cream frosting set onto your cake, you can begin. Take a small amount of frosting (two tablespoons should be enough) and mix with paste food colorings of your choice. Then all you need to do is dip whichever brush you’re using into the color of your choice and begin painting. This will be very time-consuming, and every hour or so you should place your cake into the fridge and leave it for around 15 minutes to rest and harden.

How to Get an Airbrush Effect on a Cake Without an Airbrush?

It’s impossible to achieve a completely airbrushed look without using an airbrush. The closest you’ll be able to get is by painting by hand. However, unless you’re exceptionally good at this, it may be best to invest in an airbrush for the best results.

How to Spray Glitter on a Cake?

Spraying glitter on a cake sounds way more difficult than it has to be! Let’s take a look at a step-by-step guide.

  1. Before you begin, it’s best to frost your cake how you want it to be frosted and then chill it in the fridge for around 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the fridge and fill your manual airbrush with your edible glitter (this can be an individual color or a mixture of colors).
  3. Then you can begin spraying. That’s right, all you need to add to your airbrush is edible glitter; no other ingredients are required.
  4. Now with a pushing and pulling motion, keep spraying your glitter and keep turning the turntable of the cake as you go.
  5. Repeat until you’ve sprayed the parts of the cake you need to.
  6. If at any point the glitter appears to be stuck in the airbrush, just give it a gentle tap on the counter and it should fix that problem instantly.

Can You Use a Regular Airbrush For Cake Decorating?

You absolutely can! However, the airbrush must never be used before. This is because regular paints that would have been used in the airbrush should not be consumed and are not safe to eat. So as long as your airbrush is new, it’s completely fit for use for cake decorating. You should also make sure that the compressor of the airbrush is suitable for your cake decorating needs.

How to Dry an Airbrushed Cake?

Unfortunately, when it comes to drying an airbrushed cake, you should leave it on the counter to dry at room temperature. If you place it in the fridge before it’s fully dried, condensation may occur and the fondant on the cake will become moist. If you want to try saving a little time, you can try pointing a small fan at the cake; this should help the drying along. However, the best thing to do is just be patient!

How to Airbrush a Sunset on a Cake?

  1. Before you begin, stick your cake to the cake board with a small amount of buttercream and then completely cover your cake with fondant; if this hasn’t already been done.
  2. Using your airbrush, do a thin layer of orange paint on both the cake and cake board. It should be slightly darker at the top of the cake.
  3. Now make some mountain-like curves out of paper and stick them to your cake using a small amount of sugar paste.
  4. Now on the edges of the mountains, airbrush a purple color following the lines; the color fading the higher it goes.
  5. Once done, remove the paper.
  6. Using the paper, roll out black fondant to a similar size and stick it onto the cake and airbrush your board black.
  7. Now you can freehand by painting either trees or birds (a thin brush with edible black paint should work perfectly).

Just remember that when it comes to cake decorating, practice makes perfect.

Can You Refrigerate an Airbrush Cake?

Once the airbrushing on a cake has completely dried at room temperature, it’s completely safe to store in the refrigerator. Airbrushed cakes will last around a week in the fridge. However, be sure to look out for any signs of condensation that may be occurring on your cake.

A Creative and Fun Way to Decorate

Using an airbrush to decorate a cake frosted with buttercream gives you the ability to be creative with your decorating. Once you get the hang of it, using an airbrush can be fun and simple. It gives you the ability to create designs and patterns you wouldn’t be able to make with frosting.

A buttercream-frosted cake can look great when decorated with an airbrush. Whether you are going for an ombre look, using stencils, or frees styling it, airbrushes can help you achieve your desired design.

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