Recreating those elaborate cakes you admire on Pinterest or in wedding magazines might seem out of reach, but with a few simple techniques, anyone can start making beautiful, embellished cakes that look as wonderful as they taste. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to make cake decorating easy and share our best cake decorating ideas. Whether you’re brand new to cake decorating or already know your way around a piping bag, you’ll learn something new.

What Basic Cake Decorating Tools Should I Have on Hand?

You don’t need to overhaul your kitchen supplies in order to bake beautiful cakes. You’ll likely already have some basic baking supplies on hand like food coloring, parchment paper, mixing bowls, and a rolling pin. 

But, there are a few other more specialized tools you might want to have within reach. Wondering where to buy cake decorating supplies? Large retailers or specialty cooking stores should have all of the below:

Cake Turntable 

A revolving cake turntable allows you to decorate your cake without changing your position. It’s a must-have so you can create consistent and stable designs.

Cardboard Cake Rounds

Once you pull your cake out of the oven, you need a way to transport it. Cardboard cake rounds give your cake a stable foundation as you move it or build tiers.

Icing Spatula

To achieve a smooth, even layer on your cake, you need an icing spatula that makes spreading frosting easy.

Cake Pans

This might seem like no-brainer, but you need to have the correct sized pans for your cake recipes. If you’re making tiered cakes, you’ll need a set of at least three pans.

Piping Tips and Bags

Different types of piping tips (ranging anywhere from round to star to petal-shaped) let you add texture and shape to your cake. You can save your pennies and the environment with a silicone piping bag.

Cake Decorating Kit

If you’re looking to buy basic cake decorating supplies all in one go, purchase a cake decorating kit that comes with a turntable, piping tips, and icing spatulas.

What Kind of Frosting Is Best for Cake Decorating?

The type of frosting you use will depend on the type of cake you’re making, but most bakers will turn to a buttercream frosting base. A basic vanilla recipe mixes well with food colorings and is easy to make.

If you’d rather learn how to make frosting for cake decorating rather than buying it, we recommend starting with Amy Kimmel’s buttercream recipes.

4 Cake Decorating Techniques

Your kitchen is stocked with the right tools and you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and make a beautiful cake. These Skillshare cake decorating classes will equip you with techniques you can use to create cakes that are as unique as you are.

1. Fresh Flowers

rasberry cake
Fresh flowers can be placed on top or around your cake to add a dramatic effect.

Not quite ready to try your hand at fancy piping techniques or other cake decorating styles? Fresh flowers can make your cake pop with little effort. Simply frost your entire cake with one layer of icing, and then embellish with some blooms. 

“Flowers on top of a cake look very romantic, feminine and they’re actually a very beautiful and effortless way to create a nice cake,” said Skillshare instructor Daniela Lambova.

It’s important not to use flowers from a flower shop, as they are treated with chemicals to preserve them. Additionally, always wash the flowers thoroughly and wrap stems in plastic before inserting them into your cake.

2. Piped Flowers

flower cake
A classic decorating technique is adding piped flowers.

An alternative to using natural flowers is creating your own piped flowers. Use a petal tip to pipe layered ruffles and create the look of petals on flowers, and make the center of the flower by dabbing the middle of your petals with a U-shaped or star-shaped tip.

3. Piped Silhouettes

bunny on cake
Pipe an animal or another shape onto your cake.

Textured shapes, like this bunny, are easy to create with any piping tip. Worried you don’t have the artistic skills to freehand it? Dip a cookie cutter in frosting before resting it on the cake to create an outline of the shape you want to make. Then use your piping bag to pipe frosting into the shape to fill it.

4. Mirror Glaze

chocolate with gold
A mirror glaze topped with gold leaf makes for a cake that’s as beautiful as it is delicious.

An easy and budget-friendly way to make your cake look extravagant is topping it with a mirror glaze. Made from sweetened condensed milk, chocolate, water, gelatin, and food coloring, a mirror glaze gives your cake a shiny and reflective look. The best part is that it’s easy to pour onto your cake.

3 Cakes You Can Learn to Make Yourself

Ready to put your cake decorating skills to good use? Here are three cakes you can get started with. 

1. Rainbow Layer Cake

rainbow cake
This bold rainbow cake is a great opportunity to practice piping. 

Everybody is familiar with a rainbow, making it a great image to use to practice your newfound piping techniques. This beautiful layer cake is covered with bright blue frosting so that the bold rainbow can pop. The best part? Skillshare instructor Emily says you can make this cake using her four-minute buttercream recipe—so you can spend less time preparing, and more time creating. 

2. Classic Carrot Cake

carrot cake
Carrot cakes are dressed with a simple cream cheese frosting and their iconic carrot embellishments

Carrot cakes only seem to get attention around Easter. But these delicious cakes with a cream cheese frosting and crumb coat deserve the spotlight all year round. Plus, they’re a great opportunity to practice your piping skills as you add those classic decorative carrots. 

3. Drip Layer Cake

pink cake
Using a drip technique is a simple way to give your cakes a really cool look. 

When it comes to decorating a layer cake, it’s hard to go wrong with a drip technique. There’s something that’s so aesthetically pleasing about those purposeful drips on top of that super-smooth buttercream layer. Skillshare instructor Maryam Khan will show you how to prepare decorative frosting that’s just the right consistency, as well as how to create artful drips. Just remember to test out a drip on the back of your cake first!

Decorate Your Own Cake!

Cake Decorating: 7 Beautiful Piping Techniques for Unique Cakes

Written by:

Kaitlyn Arford