Make a country cake candle! Cake candles are one of those projects that look as if they might be difficult, but are actually quite simple–and so much less expensive to make at home. You can easily spend $15 or $20 (or more) to buy a cake candle while you can make one for half the price or less, depending on the cost of your wax, dye, and scent. Sometimes the best deal is to actually buy pre-made discount candles as a base and start from there.
Cake candles are created from a pillar base, typically a 4- to 5-inch tall fat pillar, and then coated with matching wax to make a textured “frosting” effect. You can often find pillar sets on sale, sometimes even as low as $5 a set–especially around the holidays, for cheaper than you could buy the wax, dye, and scent separately. (Check out what you can find in your area to determine whether it’s less expensive to start with plain wax, dye, and scent to make your own cake base, or to get a store-bought cake base.)
Whether you start off with a store-bought pillar as a base or make your own pillar from scratch, once you’ve got your base, you’re ready to make a cake candle. This is an easy project, and doesn’t take more than an hour or two from start to finish–most of the time spent making the cake candle is in melting and cooling the frosting wax.
I’m using store-bought candles here for my base and my frosting. The pillar is a 5-inch tall fat candle. I took the taller pillar in the set and melted it down for the frosting.
Be sure to melt wax safely. If you’ve never worked with wax before, please read my post on getting started in candlemaking. And you can see all my candlemaking posts here. Never leave wax unattended while melting.
How to make a Cake Candle:
You will need–
“cake” candle base
matching wax for “frosting”
knife, fork, spatula, etc for frosting the cake
Melt the frosting wax in a double-boiler (or facsimile–I put my pot inside another pot on top of a trivet to create a makeshift double-boiler).
If using a pre-made candle, eventually the wick will melt free. Don’t throw that wick out! Save it to use for another candle.
If you’re using plain wax for your frosting, you’ll need to add the dye and scent to match your cake base.
Once the wax is melted, remove the pot from the heat and let cool. Keep an eye on it. When the wax reaches the right stage, you’ll have to work quickly. Prepare your work surface–make sure everything is covered with wax paper.
When you see a “skin” starting to form on the top of the melted wax, it’s ready!
The wax beneath the skin will still look clear and melted, but when you whip it, it will thicken up–just like real cake frosting!
Begin whipping the wax with the wire whisk.
Once the wax reaches a workable consistency (similar to frosting) use a spatula or other tool to scoop it out of the pot and start spreading it on the top and sides of the cake base. Here’s where you have to work fast–the wax will harden quickly once you take it out of the pot.
After you spread the wax onto the candle (I used a pie server), use a knife or spoon or fork, whatever you like, to do the final frosting. Work in small areas at a time. (Be sparing on the top–you don’t want to bury the wicks.)
If your frosting hardens up past a workable consistency because you are such an artiste and took too long, just melt, cool, and whip it up again to finish.
Look at that! It’s a cake candle!!!
And I made it myself. (So can you!)
By the way, wax scrapes off utensils fairly easily, and to remove wax from the whisk, I simply put the whisk in the melting pot and heat it up again–the wax melts right off the whisk. Then wash the whisk immediately in hot water and you’re done.
P.S. This candle has a caramel scent, so I’m calling it a Burnt Sugar Cake candle.
P.P.S. You can apply this same technique to create a textured effect on anything from votives to tapers, of course. It’s not just for cake candles! (Mmm, cupcake candles!)