Cake Decorating Tips for Beginners

A classic buttercream cake is perfect for any party or occasion. Use our decorating tips and you will be a star baker in no time!

Many great pre-made products do the decorating for you when you need a special-occasion cake. Mini meringues, sparkly sprinkles and other toppings add to your joyous celebration!

Cake Toppers & Decorations

Sugar Flowers: Delicate gum-paste flowers dress up any simple cake. Making these beauties is an acquired skill, so turn to online sources or bakeries that supply them.

Sprinkles: The last few years sprinkles have stepped up their game. Bakeries and online sources now do custom mixes or fancy pre-made sprinkle medleys.

Candles: Go beyond regular birthday candles by using sparkler candles, extra-tall metallic candles or glittery candles. Your cake will truly stand out!

Edible Treats: Use purchased bakery sweets to dress up your cake. Macarons, donuts or candies provide the perfect sweet addition.

Fresh Flowers: Decorating a cake with fresh flowers provides a beautiful, feminine look. Choose edible organic (pesticide-free) flowers.

Acrylic Toppers: Mix and match sparkly letters, numbers and characters to create a name, a fun phrase or a special theme. These can be stored and reused over and over.

Fruit: Just before serving your cake, add fresh thoroughly washed and dried berries, sliced stone fruits or citrus wedges.

Cake Decorating Tools to Try

Cake Combs: Make textured patterns in your cake frosting.

Serrated Knife: Cuts cleanly through delicate cake layers without crushing or tearing.

Cake Dowels: Insert interior cake pillars to support tiered cakes. Cut with shears to fit your cake height.

Angled Spatula: The offset blade provides great control for icing cakes.

Smooth Scraper: Perfect for smoothing buttercream on taller cakes.

Frosting Spatula: The flexible tool is perfect for adding frosting to layered cakes and spreading on a crumb coat.

Piping Bag: A reusable silicone bag with plastic couplers lets you change decorating tips at any time.

Turntable: Rotates smoothly for ease when creating beautifully frosted cakes.

Cake Boards: Transport and support baked goods with sturdy grease-resistant cardboard.

How to Get a Smooth Buttercream Finish

Step 1: Layering To prevent sliding, dab frosting on a cake board before placing the first cake layer. Set the cake layer right side up on the frosting. Spread about 1 cup frosting on top of the layer to just beyond the edges. Repeat three more times for a four-layer cake.

Step 2: Crumb Coat Use an angled spatula to spread about 2 cups buttercream around the cake, to seal in crumbs. Refrigerate the cake for 20 minutes.

Step 3: Final Coat Pipe about 1½ cups frosting around the entire cake to start your smooth finish.

Steps 1-3

Step 4: Smooth-Scraping Hold the smooth scraper perpendicular to the cake. Lightly rest it on the turntable and slowly rotate the turntable to achieve a smooth finish, using long gentle strokes.

Step 5: Top-leveling Hold the angled spatula at a 45-degree angle against the cake, as shown. Slowly rotate the turntable. If the buttercream has minor flaws, dip the spatula into hot water, wipe it dry and continue to smooth the frosting.

Steps 4-5
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