Edible gold leaf has a long and decadent history – it’s not known which was the earliest culture to indulge in eating gold, but as soon as any society learned to beat gold thinly enough to make gold leaf, you can probably bet that it ate food coated with a layer of gold.
The ancient Egyptians definitely gilded everything else so they probably had gold coated food, but it’s a fact that both the English Tudor dynasty and the Renaissance Medici family had a taste for puddings and heated wines that contained flakes of gold.
You need to pick a cool, dry and still environment in which to work. Heat, moisture and breeziness can all make it difficult to work with a leaf of gold as it will be inclined to fold, wrinkle or break. Some patissiers do their gold work in a chill room, just to avoid damaging the gold. Make sure your hands are dry and cool and that your equipment is dry too.
Decide what food you are going to coat – it can be easiest to start with something cool, dry and regular in shape such as an almond.
Put the food item on the greaseproof paper and put on a pair of thin cotton gloves. Using the pointed brush, gently apply some sugar water to every surface to be coated.
With the knife, cut a piece of gold leaf large enough to cover the item to be gilded. If your leaf has an adhesive backing, peel it up before cutting, if it is simply layered between rough paper, cut before lifting. Lift the cut gold leaf using the tip of the sharp knife to lay it on the blade of the butter knife.
Moving slowly, so that it does not blow off the knife, lower the gold leaf onto the nut. Tap very lightly with the flat topped brush to get the gold leaf to adhere to the top surface of the nut and then turn the food item over, using the sharp knife, and with the blunt knife and the brush, press the loose gold leaf down over the underside of the nut. Tap gently with the brush to ensure the gilding sticks to the sugar water.
Once you are sure the gold leaf has fully adhered to the food, you can burnish it, using the brush to polish the gold to a high lustre.
There are many ways to use edible gold leaf in cake decoration – one of the most striking is to gild certain items, such as violets, grapes, rose petals, and to intermingle them with ungilded ones to obtain a contrast.
Alternatively, gold leaf can be applied crusting icing types, but it’s not really suitable for fondant work, as the residual moisture in fondant icing can cause beads of moisture to swell up under the gilding like blisters.
Gold leaf works particularly well with white icing or black, but can fail to have much of an impact with yellow toned cake icing.
Dampen area on sugarpaste using cooled, boiled water. Apply Gold Leaf with a brush - adding a touch of sparkle to your work. .
24 Carat Gold Leaf Transfer Per Sheet
Luxury, shiny gold
Can be cut to required shape
A fancy gold leaf transfer for adding gold decoration to your cake designs.
The ultimate luxury cake decoration, this transfer is 24 carat gold for adding shimmer and sparkle to your cake decorating. Simply cut out the required shape and stick to icing surface with edible glue or confectioner's glaze.
Comes in a square sheet measuring approx. 8 x 8cm