How to Make a Cake Candle


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.

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How to make a Cake Candle:

You will need–
“cake” candle base
matching wax for “frosting”
wire whisk
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!)

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on June 8, 2010  

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19 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 6-8

    :shimmy: Love Love Love!! great job!! I want one too!!
    Hugs Granny Trace
    P.s I want a puppy too..I am not

  2. 6-8

    Wow! I love those candles ~ never thought of making one!

  3. 6-8

    Now that’s a lovely idea… a new one to me. Someone has roses! :happyflower:

  4. 6-8

    Beautiful!!! How easy does that look, but never would have thought of doing it that way…I’ve seen using ice to get an effect, but never “frosting”. And to give them a cake name….you’re brilliant!

    That last pic is just totally beautiful!

  5. 6-8

    If I have an addiction (other than food of course) it would be candles! Thanks Suzanne for sharing this great idea that will save me big $$$ :snoopy:

  6. 6-8

    I love that, Suzanne! I’m going to try it!

  7. 6-8

    You are just too full of ideas! There’s so many I want to try, I can’t keep up! Love this idea!

  8. 6-8

    I had no idea it was so easy. Time to dig out my old candles. Thanks Suzanne!!

  9. 6-8

    You made that look so easy! What a great idea! I’m gonna have to try it.

  10. 6-8

    My grandfather used the same technique with white wax. He’d whip it to a frothy mess and put it on top of red and green pillars, allowing some to “drip” down the sides – snow on Christmas candles!

  11. 6-8

    Tammy, that is such a cool idea! I’ll have to try that.

  12. 6-8

    :sheepjump: Suzanne, your candle looks great, but beware of using a cheap candle as your base candle. Cheap parafin wax will burn quickly and they use such little amounts of scents in them. I know well from what I speak as I used to own a country gift shop here in West Virginia and sold many candles through the years. A more expensive cake candle would be worth your while, especially one known for long lasting scents to apply your whipped wax to the exterior. PH

  13. 6-9

    Is it possible to do this with soy wax?

  14. 6-9

    Linda, I don’t know! I just got some soy wax and am planning to make some soy candles soon, but I’ve never used soy wax at all, so I can’t say anything about it yet! But I would think so. That’s JUST a guess, though!

  15. 6-15

    Wow, looks awesome! Thanks for sharing how to make these :D

  16. 6-15

    Such an improvement over the plain candle. Very cute! Who knew it was that easy to do? I am going to try it.

  17. 6-21

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!!! I want to make one now! Thanks for the instructions!

  18. 6-29

    That’s awesome – you’re so talented! :)

  19. 2-9

    :wave: My grandmother use to make Christmas candles by melting wax and pouring into “waxed” milk cartons (you don’t see these much anymore) that she wicked and colored crayons for different colors (more for deepening the color or less but not too pastel as you want the colors to glow through the icing but you also don’t want them too dark or they will not be transparent enough to reflect the light through the candle). After they set up, the carton was peeled away (one time use). No color wax was then melted in a small sauce pan and then cooled enough to begin to whip with an electric beater till it looks like whipped cream. At this stage she had to act quickly to ice the candle sides. She usually had other things laid out for garnishing them, while the wax was still soft, as she iced …small glass (1/2” – 1”) ornament balls, glitter, sequins, beads etc. Some were added after waxing by dipping in the pot of melted whipped wax and pasting it on. If the wax became too hard to apply before she was finished, she reheated and rewhipped the wax (using a small amounts in a small sauce pan makes this step go quicker but the pan was large enough to accommodate two beaters). She made several candles like this but used different heights quart containers were cut to size or pint and half pint cartons were used. A 1” rectangle of Styrofoam was used as a base and once the candles were finished and set, they were carefully seated to the base by carefully adding a small amount of warm wax. Angel Hair was added and curled around them (for those of you who don’t know what this is, it is spun glass; very beautiful but not good for your skin and I don’t think you can buy it anymore) then finished decorating the scene with more balls, glitter, etc. and the edge was wrapped with a 1” satin decorative ribbon. The different colors of each candle show through the white whipped wax icing when the candles are lit. I thought this process was worth mentioning as I know there are plenty of creative minds out there that can make substitutions for some of the process with materials we have at our disposal now days. It is a fun family project and beautiful in the end. Clean up is easy if you have a dishwasher.

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