Guest Post: Cake Decoration Tips

Archie cake fireworks

Top Tips To Cake Decoration

Putting together cake decorations can be a challenge, and particularly if you’re just starting out.  Good cake decoration takes practice, and the patience to have to put up with mistakes when they happen.  However, there are some ways in which you can improve on, or begin to put together good habits when decorating cakes, whether through getting icing right, working with coloring, or adding in special effects for parties.  Many of the following tips are recommended if you’ve already been working on your cake decoration, or if you want to practice some basic approaches.

Consistent Icing

Different levels of icing are necessary for creating the right effects on a cake.  Stiff icing is important for preventing flower petals and upright decorations from falling out.  By contrast, adding some corn syrup to icing will help with the elasticity of individual decorations like letters and figurines.

Practice Writing on Parchment

Writing on cakes is one of the hardest challenges you can face as a decorator, even if you do have good handwriting.  It’s worth practicing your writing on some baking parchment before adding it to the cake.  Stencils can make things easier, as can focusing on larger cursive fonts.

Smoothing Out a Base

When setting up a cake, it’s worth investing in platters and rotating stands.  A layer of buttercream at the base of a cake will help seal in crumbs, while buttercream on the sides of a cake will smooth out any imperfections, and will make it easy to rotate the cake.

Special Effects

Once you feel comfortable with the basics of cake decoration, you can experiment with simple special effects.  LED lights can be effective for lighting up cakes for parties.  Ice fountains, which represent cold burn sparklers, can also make an impact for different events.

Layering Icing

It’s worth using layers of icing between cakes to keep them stuck together if stacking up a number of smaller cakes, such as in a castle cake.  Doing so can prevent them from becoming stuck together.

Soften Butter and Icing

It’s best to take butter and icing out of the fridge about an hour before you start baking.  This time will allow both to reach room temperature and soften until you can use them easily, and with a good consistency.


In most cases, it’s better to use food coloring paste, rather than liquids.  Moreover, it’s worth remembering that small amounts of coloring can go a long way.

Add Fruit and Sweets

A good finishing touch for cake decoration is to add small fruits and sweets to the finished product.  Strawberries, meringues, and jelly beans represent some ideas for this approach.

Best Decorating Bags

Having a range of decorating bags can make it easier to put together different effects.  Featherweight bags are useful for experimenting with precision icing, while disposable bags are recommended if you’re getting through a lot of different decorations on the same day.

Practice on Ready Made Cakes

If you want to experiment with decoration, but don’t want to spend the time baking cake after cake, consider practicing with shop bought cakes, before using the same skills on your own recipes.


Rob James is a father of four girls and has had to learn many different skills over the years.  He uses Dynamic Fireworks online to add an extra sparkle to special occasions.  In his spare time (what’s that then?)  Rob can be found blogging about all aspects of family life.

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