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How To Decorate A Cake: A Guide For Beginners

Any wedding, birthday party, or other celebration cannot be imagined without a cake that not only tastes good, but also looks splendid. Cake decorating is an art on its own, but it’s not as difficult as it may seem to intimidated beginners. Find out how to decorate cake at home right now!


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1. How to decorate a cake with fondant

Fondant is understandably one of the most popular cake decorating ingredients in the world. Fondant is easy to work with and makes it possible to create any cake decorating ideas you can imagine. Here is how to make cake designs with fondant:

  1. Prepare buttercream and cover your cake with a thin layer of buttercream.
  2. Put the cake into the fridge for 30 minutes for the buttercream to harden.
  3. In the meantime, prepare your workstation for the fondant by dusting it with powdered sugar.
  4. Take out your fondant that is at room temperature and form it into a circle or rectangle, depending on the shape of your cake, with your hands.
  5. Roll the fondant evenly to reach the desired thickness and size and loosely roll it onto your rolling pin dusted with powdered sugar.
  6. Unroll the fondant onto the cake by moving the rolling pin from one side of the cake to another.
  7. Cut off the excess fondant, smooth out the creases and edges. Finish decorating the cake with other decorative elements or leave it as it is. That’s it – now you know how to decorate a cake with fondant.

But what if you don’t have any buttercream left? How to decorate cake at home without cream when using fondant? Putting fondant on a bare cake will not work since it won’t stick, but you can substitute buttercream for dark or white chocolate ganache or use a thin layer of fruit jam, preferably apricot.

2. How to decorate a cake with icing

There are as many butter icing cake decorating ideas as there are with fondant – butter icing has a milder taste and texture, although it’s not as stable as fondant. Before you learn how to decorate a cake for beginners with icing, here is how to make icing for cake decorating:

  1. Combine 1/3 cup of softened butter with 3 cups of icing sugar in a bowl. Whisk with an electric mixer or wooden spatula until the mixture is fluffy and light.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of milk and a few drops of vanilla extract. Continue whisking, adding more milk to reach the desired consistency of the icing. Harder icing is better for decorating a cake.

Now that you know how to make cake icing, let’s find out how to design a cake using buttercream icing. There are many cake decorating tools that can make the job easier, but the two  tools that you can’t do without is an icing smoother and a piping bag.

It’s best to decorate the cake in two layers. With the first layer of butter icing you will fill in the creases and cracks in the cake, and with the second layer you will achieve a smooth finish. Once your cake is completely covered with icing, you can move on to decorating.

Simple cake decorations for beginners include icing flowers and leaves out of a piping bag, fondant patterns and letters, and using stencils. Icing is easy to colour with gel or powder food colouring. You can also check cake decorating tutorials for some of the latest cake trends: for example, ombre icing.

Read also: Nigerian traditional wedding cakes

3. Ideas for decorating a cake

Now that you know how to bake and decorate a cake in general, it’s time to get more specific and check out some ideas for decorating different types of cakes. Are you wondering how to decorate a birthday cake? Here are some simple cake decorating ideas for birthdays that you’re guaranteed to love:

And here is how to decorate chocolate cake at home:

Here is how to decorate the timeless classic – red velvet cake:

Master the art of cake baking with these posts:

Red Velvet Cake

How to Bake a Cake Without an Oven

How to Make Fondant


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