Be an Ace of Cakes: Cake Decorating Techniques

Fancy cakes used to be reserved for special occasions, like weddings. And usually, you had to special order a beautifully decorated cake from a bakery. Not anymore. Thanks to easy to use cake decorating equipment and new techniques, you can be a cake decorating pro. We’ll take a look at some of the best cake decorating techniques along with some essential decorating equipment to help you be the ace of cakes at your next special occasion. With these tips and techniques, your cakes can go from boring and basic to simple and stunning.

Tricks of the Trade: Decorating Techniques and Tips

With just a few tricks from cake decorating pros, you can create cakes that are fun and creative or elegant and special. And the great news? Most cake decorating can be done easily with just a few simple tools and a bit of practice. You can choose simple or complex designs. But, no matter what kind of design you choose, you can be assured that your cake will be anything but basic. Here are some technique essentials to get you on your way to having your cake and eating it too.

Play with Piping

One simple way to improve a cake’s look is to try different designs with frosting. Piping frosting is fairly easy and simple to do. You’ll need cake decorating bags and tips, which help you create the designs. Add a bit of your frosting to a decorating bag, add a tip with your design choice and pipe away. With this technique, you can create simple swirls or try more advanced options like making roses, shells, and other designs. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have cake decorating bags or tips, you can put your frosting in a plastic bag, cut off the tip, and pipe for an easy do-it-yourself piping bag.  

Cake Piping

Whip up Some Buttercream

Buttercream is a simple and easy to work with frosting. It tastes great and works well for piping and smoothing. To make your cake have that smooth bakery frosting look, use a basic buttercream and an icing spatula. The icing spatula helps add icing to your cake and easily smooth out any rough frosting edges. And, if you want to use fondant, buttercream will likely be the base frosting for your cake. So, getting to know how to smooth it out is a great technique for buttercream frosted cakes or those with fondant added to them.

Buttercream Frosted Cake

Perfect Royal Icing

When you think of royal icing, you probably think of sugar cookies. But, royal icing can be fantastic for cakes too. It’s perfect for detailed work on a cake, like writing names or phrases. Plus, you can use it to make intricate designs too. Royal icing can be applied using a cake decorating bag and tips. You’ll want to use the smallest cake decorating tips you have to create easy to read text and create detailed design work. Once you’ve mastered royal icing, you will be a pro at writing on cakes.

Have Fun with Fondant

Fondant is an icing that is used to decorate and sculpt cakes. It’s almost like clay. While it doesn’t taste like buttercream or other types of frosting, it’s perfect for creating impressive looking designs. Fondant can seem like an intimidating cake decorating technique to work with. And, most of us probably think that only professional bakers can work with fondant. Sure, it can take a lot of practice to perfect. But, with a little time and patience, you can learn how to use this technique to design really unique and creative cakes. 

Cake with Fondant

Be Creative

Let your cake be your creative palette! No matter what kind of equipment you use, let your creativity run wild. Play around with designs. Try new techniques. Use a different kind of frosting. Being creative lets you learn new techniques and practice all at the same time. Even better, you’ll be a pro at using the essential cake decorating equipment you have on hand too.

Practice Makes Perfect

The saying is definitely true for cake decorating. You may not be able to master cake decorating the first time. But, with some practice and patience, you’ll be creating impressive looking cakes in no time.

Tools You can Use: Essential Cake Decorating Equipment

When it comes to cake decorating, you can rely on simple kitchen basics like some of the ones mentioned in our Kitchen Essentials: 10 Tools Every Kitchen Should Have article. But, you may also want to invest in some general cake decorating equipment. Having good cake decorating equipment on hand helps with most any cake design work you want to do. Though we’ve mentioned some of these, here are a few of our favorite must-haves.

  • Boards: A cardboard base to help support your cake.
  • Decorating Bags: Plastic bag that holds frosting for the piping technique
  • Decorating Tips: Creates different designs with frosting for a unique piped look
  • Cake Pans: Foundation for baking your cake; they come in different shapes and sizes
  • Icing Spatula: Helps to smooth and flatten frosting on your cake
  • Parchment Paper: Versatile tool that can be used to create piping cones or even be placed in your cake pan to avoid sticking
  • Turntable or Lazy Susan: A base that will rotate; perfect for being able to apply frosting evenly and smoothly

Though there are a lot of other types of cake decorating equipment, you’ll find that if you have these essential pieces on hand, you’ll be able to decorate your cake with ease.

A Piece of Cake: Cake Decorating Techniques Made Easy

Learning how to decorate a cake can be a piece of cake with these handy techniques. With just a few techniques and some good cake decorating equipment, you’ll be designing and decorating cakes for any special occasion with ease. Want to learn more about cakes? Check out our 10 Cake Baking Tips for the Perfect Cake to help you get that perfect cake you can decorate.