Dina Cimarusti: Planet of the Cake?
September 06, 2016

Dina Cimarusti: Planet of the Cake?

Dina Cimarusti is a Special Effects Artist and Cake Decorator located in Chicago, IL.

Dina specializes in realistic sculpted cakes, cake toppers and hand painted cakes, and cookies. She has created custom cakes in Chicago for celebrities such as Jennifer Hudson, Katy Perry and Derrick Rose. She also travels to conventions with Paasche Airbrush doing cake airbrushing demos at both food and horror conventions. 

With her cake decorating experience on her side, Dina went on to win season 7 of Syfy's Face Off in 2014. After years of experience sculpting and airbrushing cakes, she was able to apply those same skills to creating unique makeup designs. Dina specializes in fantasy and Sci-fi makeups, busts and masks. Her love for color and texture draws her to creating beautiful and stylized creatures.  

Today, Dina is demonstrating how she used Sugar Shapers to sculpt this amazing Space Ape!



Step 1:

Cut cake into desired head shape and ice in ganache. Smooth out using Sugar Smoothers.

Step 2:

Cover cake in modeling chocolate and build up the features with additional modeling chocolate.  It doesn't have to look perfect! We will be laying the "skin" over this "skeletal" layer. 

Step 3:

Cover cake in fondant and push the fondant into any smaller crevices using your Bone Chisel Sugar Shaper. 

Step 4:

Use your Pointed Chisel to add wrinkles throughout the face.

A good technique for creating wrinkles is by drawing X's into the fondant. This is a great way to get realistic wrinkles and skin texture. 


Step 5:

Roll out small fondant "sausages" for eyelids, place them over the eye and shape with your Square Tip Chisel (that's the yellow one.) 

Step 6:

Add pores around nose, mouth and eyes with the Pointed Chisel. 

Step 7:

Roll out fondant and trace desired ear shape. Cut out shape and smooth edges.

Step 8:

Use the Bone Chisel and Lip Chisel to shape the ear and round out the edges. 


Step 9:

Using a chip brush, spatter very thinned down ivory, brown, red and blue food coloring over the entire sculpture. I use vodka to thin out my colors.

Step 10:

Airbrush red food coloring into all the wrinkles and folds. I use a Paasche M Series Airbrush for this work.

Step 11:

Next, airbrush into the same areas with blue and then go over the same areas again with brown. 

Step 12:

Outline your skin pattern in desired color. 

Step 13:

Add splashes of color throughout the face to bring the design together. For this sculpt, I am adding color to all of the high points of the face. 


Step 14:

Mix green, yellow and white food coloring to create an opaque paint for the eyes. 

Step 15:

Paint darker green food coloring around the edges of the eye and brush up into the lighter areas. Add pupil with black food coloring. 


Step 16:

You can add more depth by airbrushing brown into all the recessed areas of the face. 


Step 17:


We hope you enjoyed this step-by-step tutorial by Dina Cimarusti. You can see more of Dina's work on her website, or by following her on Facebook and Instagram.

Dina will also be appearing at Mask Fest in Indianapolis from Sept 9-11. She'll be selling her incredible creature masks, as well as edible treats- realistic monster cake pops, tongue and heart jellies, horror character cookies, and monster cupcake stands! If you're around the Indianapolis area, you definitely want to check this out!