How to: Calligraphy on macarons!

Yes, you read that right!


The jobs that come out of the blue are always the most creative and inspirational. I was contacted by a really beautiful bride, about a week before her wedding, asking me if I could write guests’ names in calligraphy on salted caramel macarons. Wow!

I had never done such a thing before, and had no idea if it was even possible … so I immediately emailed the best bakers I know (Kadri of cakeophilia – check out her blog for some seriously impressive baking – and Suzanne of no-blog-but-who-really-should-make-one) – to ask a few important questions. Like: is there such thing as edible ink? Does it come in gold? And, even more importantly, with five days to go, where do I get it in Melbourne?

IMG_3333.JPGThe answers were yes, yes, and West’s Cake Decoration in Burwood.

We trialed a few things and found that the pens they sell are useless for this purpose, but  they have tubs of edible paint that’s only a little too thick to use a brush with – and that dilutes nicely with just a touch of water.


So, here’s the rundown:


  • gold paint and deep brown paint from West’s Cake Decorations in Burwood, mixed (and with a little distilled water added to create the perfect consistency for painting;
  • a taklon watercolour brush in a size 1, brand new and washed thoroughly first;
  • food-grade silicone gloves and a face mask for handling;
  • macarons!

The process:

  • don’t be afraid to mix edible inks! I was, at first, but the combination of deep brown and gold ended up looking fantastic, where just deep brown would have been too stark and just gold would barely have shown at all.
  • don’t work in the studio! I ended up doing these on my kitchen table. There’s just too much in the studio – I was working on a piece at the time that I was using lapis lazuli pigment to decorate, and trust me, you do not want that stuff in your food. But even if I wasn’t using mildly toxic pigments, I didn’t want to risk exposing food to anything I wouldn’t eat at all. The kitchen table was a much safer bet.
  • EAT FIRST. I wore a face mask and a headscarf to keep my hair out of the way and my breath off the food (because ew) – but I still spent hours bent over delicious, delicious salted caramel macarons … I didn’t want to eat the mistakes, either, because it was the day before the wedding – you know who’s a lot more in need of a sugar hit than a calligrapher? A bridal party, that is who! – so my tummy definitely made some noises.

Care and handling:

  • keep the macarons in the fridge as much as possible! I ended up just taking out one box at a time, working as quickly as I could, and putting the box straight back in. The filling will melt at room temperature and make the top half slide around – and that ends badly for calligraphy.
  • don’t touch them! just don’t. macarons are so light and delicate that I did not want to risk one single crushing, or slip, or even fingerprint. I wore food-grade silicone gloves and the only thing that touched the macarons was the paintbrush – which I bought new for the job, and washed in dishwashing detergent first (and rinsed thoroughly) just to make sure.

And finally:

HAVE FUN. I love doing things as unusual as this – and the lovely bride was so thrilled with the result. Working with someone who’s as excited as you are about what you’re creating is such a joy. This one has to go down as one of my favourite jobs for 2016 – I know it’s a little early to make that call, but I’m making it anyway!


7 thoughts on “How to: Calligraphy on macarons!

  1. Moya… words cannot describe how beautiful your work is. All of our guests, and I really mean everyone, were super impressed with the macarons!!! They were a massive hit!! A lot of our guests didn’t want to eat theirs because it’s too pretty and everyone posted it to their Instagram or Facebook.. (will send more photos to you later)
    Thank you again for your hard work and agreeing to our last minute request! You are AMAZING!!!!!
    P.S. You should have eaten some of the macarons, I wouldn’t have been upset with you.. :)


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