Cake Decorating 101

There’s just something so fun about decorating a cake. Perhaps it’s because it really just feels like a middle school art class. But here’s the thing, people don’t actually love cake as much as they do other desserts. So I now try to hold off on making them unless it’s for a special occasion. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t go over the top with decorations every chance I get. There’s really no rules to cake decorating besides having fun with it. Simple is great, and so is over the top. So below I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite techniques I’ve done. Note: for the pictures of my creations, a lot of them are from my pre-blog days, so I apologize for the quality of the photos!

1. Straws – I got this idea originally from Pinterest and I’ve done it in two different ways in the last year. For the first, I used two straws to create a mini bunting strand that said happy birthday. Very easy, but very effective. For the frosting itself, I just did a messy layer. To get this messy layer, use a knife with a rounded edge and sort of move it in swooping motions. The less perfect, the better.

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For the second cake, I just used a straw with a ribbon tied around it. This cake had two kinds of frosting, so I used them to create an inner circle on the top, and then outlined it with mini butterscotch chips. You can see the recipe here, but you could also use this technique with a different cake recipe.

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2. Washi Tape Flags – I just got a fun set of washi tape and have been itching to use it, so I decided to throw on some extra decorations to a cake I made for a joint birthday party I threw. You can see the recipe here. All I did was wrap a piece of washi tape around a toothpick and then cut the edge into the shape of a triangle. Easy and yet a very fun decoration!

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3. Chocolate Toppings – I found the idea here, and these are so easy. The only problem is that they melt quickly (especially if you’re somewhere hot). So if you want to do these, be sure to keep them in the freezer until you’re ready to serve, and then serve immediately!

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4. Multicolored Frosting – This cake is slightly psychedelic. But I had just found a fun set of food coloring, so I went a little overboard and used every color. I used my set of frosting pipers to apply the frosting as little dots on top of the cake.

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5. Chocolate Chips – This was one of the first things I baked after returning from my time in Europe traveling, and I hadn’t really planned to do anything fun with the cake, so at the last minute I covered it with upside chocolate chips to create a fun pattern. Very easy!!

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6. Good Old Fruit – I’ve shown some of these in previous posts (see here and here). Especially in summer, there is something so appealing about a cake covered in fruit! You can really do whatever fruit you like, and create a letter or number, or just put the fruit in a pretty pile.

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Note: I did not actually make the above cake, Dave did for my birthday last year!
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7. Sprinkles- This is possibly the easiest design, but you can’t go wrong with sprinkles. Especially if you get a fun color or design of sprinkles. I actually didn’t make this cake either – my friend Kelsey did. It was for our Valentine’s Day card decorating session, so you can see she used festive pink and red sprinkles.

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8. Frosting Patterns – When I first got into baking, my mom gave me a frosting set so that I could apply frosting in different shapes. It just so happened that I got this set around the time of a friend’s birthday, so I got a little creative and turned her cake into a heart to give me a fun base. I then did a layer of white frosting. I used food coloring to turn the rest of the frosting into blue and yellow and then piped on several different designs.

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