How To Decorate A Cake For Beginners | Easy Cake Decoration Methods

A cake can be decorated in many ways. Some of it is easier than others. In this post, we will be sharing some cake decorating ideas and you can choose which one suits you and apply it onto your cake!

1. Buttercream

One of the most common cake decorating methods is using buttercream! To make buttercream, sieve the icing sugar into slightly softened butter and whisk together. The mixture should be fairly firm to hold its shape well but not rock hard or you won’t be able to achieve a smooth finish.

To apply the buttercream onto the cake, spoon a large dollop of softened  buttercream onto the centre of the cake. Use a spatula or palette knife to paddle the icing to the edges of the cake.

For the sides, use the spatula or palette knife to smear smaller amounts of icing in sections, turn the cake and repeat.

For a smooth finish you can use a long palette knife or ruler. Hold the ruler flat at the edge of the cake furthest from you and drag it towards you. Repeat if necessary.

For the edge take your palette knife/ or a plastic side scraper in one hand at 90 degrees to the cake. Use the other hand to spin the cake. This is easiest on a turntable as you can do it in one movement.

To get a feathered ‘frosty’ effect, simply press the flat side of a palette knife or spatula onto the cake and lift. Repeat over the entire cake.

2. Piping

You can pipe on cream cheese, buttercream or whipped cream.

Drop the nozzle into a piping bag and fill to no more than two thirds full with icing, twist and hold the end with one hand (usually your writing hand) and rest the tip of the bag in your other hand. Squeeze the icing at the top of the bag to eliminate air bubbles.

For cupcakes, hold the bag vertically and pipe a ring of icing around the edge of the cupcake. Pipe a small spiral overlapping the ring, stop pressure when the bag is in the centre of the swirl, then push the bag down and draw up sharply to finish.

For rosettes, hold the bag in the same way, pipe a little dollop in one place, push the bag down and draw up sharply to finish.
If the peak is too high or wispy, you can dab your finger in water and press it down a little.

For writing icing, sieve icing sugar into a bowl and gradually beat or whisk in a few drops of water until you have a thick, smooth paste.
To write or draw lines, hold the bag at a 45 degree angle, a little away from the surface, squeeze the icing out with a constant pressure, and let the line of icing fall naturally into place as you guide it. Try not to pull the piping bag before the icing has met the surface, as you’ll get an uneven thickness.

To make dots, hold the bag vertically with the nozzle close to the surface, squeeze a little icing out to make a dot the desired size, then to finish, stop squeezing, push down and then draw up sharply.


3.  Fresh/ Crystallised flowers

Choose your favourite edible flowers or leaves (eg. lavender, mint leaves, pansies, primroses, rose petals, violas, violets).

To crystallise, lightly whisk an egg white. Use a paintbrush to gently apply the egg white to the flower, leaf or petal. Sprinkle over caster sugar and shake off the excess. Put on a tray lined with baking parchment. Leave overnight in a warm, dry place. Store in a sealed container with layers of parchment.

4. Fondant

Using fondant on your cake is really like playing with playdoh. Shape the fondant into your desired shape and let it dry for a few hours or a few days before using it onto your cake.

5. Chocolates and Sweets

With the abundance of different kinds of chocolates and sweets available off the shelf, it is quite convenient to just use a few of them to create beautiful patterns or shapes on your cake!

If you are looking at decorated cupcakes, click here!