While browsing cake photos in the vast world of the Internet, I kept coming across these glow in the dark cakes. Vividly glowing cakes in neon colors! A crazy awesome party with the cake acting as a beacon of birthday light in the center! Giving off light so bright you could read a book by it!
Well, of course I had to try this out. I did a little poking around and found a few ways that bakers are making their cakes glow. We’ll try and go about this in a somewhat scientific manner, as in, gather supplies and try and light it up!
The first thing I was seeing was people putting a layer of disco dust on their cakes. No thanks. Not me. Disco dust isn’t actually food, it’s just really finely ground up glitter. I know it’s not going to cause me serious harm in small doses, but I really want to stick to food magic that is 100% edible.
The next wonder ingredient I came across was tonic water! Holy Phosphorescence Batman! This stuff you can pick up in the soda aisle glowing amazing well, bright blue! I saw lots of people dunking their iced cupcakes in a mixture of piping gel and tonic water. We’ll give it a try.
I also know from my trips to the roller rink that neon colors and whites love to glow. So I made myself up some pretty colors of frosting and got ready to light up the bakery.
Now, to really give the full picture, let me say this, I’ve tried this project 3 times. The first time I got out the gels and the tonic water and the colored icings and plugged in my lamp with a blacklight bulb. Completely underwhelming. First of all, you can’t use a cheap bulb. It was just a regular bulb dipped in purple. It did nothing to the frosting. Ok, correction. It made the white frosting look purple, just like a red bulb would have made it look pink. All and all it was very disheartening. Where is my laser frosting show?!
After all this and being pumped to eat glow food I wasn’t ready to hang up my apron yet. Time for a new bulb! I picked up a 6” blacklight tube bulb, loaded me and my frostings into a dark room and hit the switch… success! Mostly. The tonic water took on a blue glow and the white frosting had a strange, faint, pinky glow on the edges. And of course my shoe laces and shirt lit up and there was a dance party. However even with the progress, it wasn’t much to write home about. It wasn’t enough! I need more power, Captain!
I began to be concerned this was a totally flawed plan and the internet wasn’t being truthful about this glow business. These spookily glowing green cupcakes were not looking possible at all. Then came time. Time for go big or go home! Time to get me a 24” blacklight tube bulb. After waving it around my kitchen like a jedi I turned my attention to the desserts. It glows! Mostly!
The tonic water, awesome! So blue! The white frosting, it was trying its best. Wherever there were peaks and valleys there were pink and purple highlights. Was it really glowing or just reflecting? I don’t know. But it looked pretty cool. I also had a bowl of piping gel. No. No glowy. And a bowl of runny frosting made of milk and powdered sugar… surprisingly glowy! I decided to add a little tonic water to the 3 types of frosting, thinking it would enhance the glowing power. It didn’t really do any noticeable difference, other than make them all too runny.
I was excited about the colored frostings, but they did nothing, even with super bulb. They didn’t even reflect light. I will admit I ran out of patience and just shoved those to the side.
In an effort to make a glowing treat I iced a cupcake with white frosting and a star tip to get good grooves and texture for the best glow. It looked nice. I think a whole cupcake stand would look cool. Next I grabbed the tonic water and flicked it all over the cupcake with a pastry brush. It gave it little speckles, along with my table. I tried a dipped one in gel/tonic water solution but all it got me was a wet cupcake, there was no super awesome green glow.
What is the moral of the story here? Yes, you can do it! You can have a glow party! Will it look like the ones online? Eh, maybe not. Depends on how far you want to modify your food for science. I still like to retain tastiness in my treats. I do think, over all, it would a fun trick to use for a glow party. Get yourself a tower of white cupcakes and splash some tonic water. And extra bonus: Add some tonic water to your beverage of choice, I just added a splash to my pink lemonade and ended up with a delightful concoction, I think I’ll make some for Halloween for the kids. Maybe it’s magic potion. Maybe it’s a strange scientific solution from a mad scientist’s lab!
For my little party set up I found a colorful fabric that loved the black light, added some pink umbrellas that took on a matching glow to the cupcakes. If it was my birthday, I think it would be a totally fun set up, and unexpected too. Also, I would get more blacklights for my party. From what I can tell the more bulbs the better, if you can up the wattage you’ll up the glow. Even without the desserts being beacons of light it was still a lot of fun eating and drinking shiny foods. I’m thinking with Halloween coming up I may need to stock up on some light bulbs.
Would I do a glow party? Yes! Would I rely on a 3 tiered birthday cake to glow? Maybe not. Not without more weird ingredients. Maybe the 4th time is the charm? There are a few more things I suppose I could try…
Coborn’s Cake Decorator
Sartell, MN – Pine Cone Road
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